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Pikmin 3 Preview

The quirky action/strategy/ant sim is back to harvest the benefits of glorious HD.

I don't know about you, but I'm more than ready to terrorize yet another ecosystem with the ferocious ant/plant-like species that, on command, can attack enemies 10x their own size, break down gates, throw bombs, and other constructive activities. Pikmin 3 literally doubles your fun with several layers of depth and scope that could only be done on Wii U.

The biggest changes are the inclusion of four Pikmin commanders and two brand new Pikmin. We don't know much about the new space-suited leaders other than Olimar will not be among them, but from the E3 trailer we know the four Pikmin commanders can toss each other to higher areas or, say, onto a farther log on a pond. At least one of them has a roll move which would be useful for rolling out of the path of danger, and they all seem to run faster than Olimar did in the past.

The new Pikmin are Rock Pikmin and a yet-unannounced pink type that appeared to be flying around at the end of the trailer. The Rock Pikmin are a deformed rock-shaped type that break down glass or ice walls and gates. Pink and Rock Pikmin join the returning types (red, yellow, blue, purple, white) which will surely make Pikmin an even more involved and challenging game than before. At this point it appears that only 100 can be on the field at one time, but maybe that's for the better.

The environments have retained the same look and graphical style, and a few places look borrowed from the Forest of Hope area from the original. Dirt trails mark the path through what seems to be the same dense green forest seen previously, but with even more detailed grass and ferns dotting the edges. There are long leaf slides that the Pikmin roll down with their treasure, and they can now carry tiles or other materials to lay down a small bridge. The extra detail and slightly more dynamic camera angle makes the smallness of the Pikmin even more apparent, at least to me. You get a much better sense of the scale of the forest thanks to the Wii U's power.

Red and Dwarf Bulborb enemies return, while another new enemy looked liked a mostly harmless floating jelly fish; yet another resembled an anteater with a long tongue--instant death for close combat (maybe they would best be defeated with Rock Pikmin?). One of the few boss fights shown was with a crawdad/silverfish-looking creature that had a hard outer shell that the Rock Pikmin neeeded to break. Because of the mix of old and new it's hard to guess at this point whether it all takes place on the same planet as before, but it most definitely does not look like a retread.

At the very least, these environments will surely be much bigger than the little pockets of the forest that previous Pikmin games were set in. The GamePad's touchscreen can be swiped to quickly scroll the camera to another section, which will no doubt come in handy with four different battallions of Pikmin ravishing the landscape. One part of the trailer showed that you could float down a stream on a leaf like in The Legend Zelda: Minish Cap. Do different landing sites connect with waterways? With twice the number of commanders, could levels also be twice as big? It's certainly possible, but we don't know for sure since the E3 demo only showed off the challenge mode.

There is potential for a large and beautiful game full of epic battles, triumphs, and ghastly losses. Pikmin 3 still has no release date and a lot of details are still a mystery, but when the information surfaces, Pixlbit will most assuredly let you know.


 

Comments

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

06/11/2012 at 09:15 PM

I love these new rock pikmin. I am still kind of hoping that at one point in the game I will be able to command 1000 pikmin in some major battle. Also I wonder if they will add the option to be able to call up the pikmin by colour on the gamepad.

Matt R Staff Alumnus

06/12/2012 at 03:09 PM

Me too, I like how the Rock Pikmin bounce back after getting thrown. I'm wondering if you can draw a 'flight path' on the touch screen for the pink ones to fly to, that'd be neat. 

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

06/12/2012 at 03:46 PM

The rock pikmin look very Angry Birdlike to me for some reason.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

06/12/2012 at 04:52 PM

It must be their sharp edges, Angelo.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

06/12/2012 at 03:40 PM

Oh, I never thought of that. I'm thinking that because they can fly these pikmin will be the weakest/lightest, so hopefully there's some element of strategy to them with the use of a flight path.

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