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Casual Review: Pikmin 3 Deluxe

I have heard a lot about the Pikmin series and was interested in trying them out whenever I got the chance. When Pikmin 3 Deluxe was announced for the switch, I was very excited because I knew I could buy a copy and finally experience the series. I made sure that it was okay to dive into the game without playing the first 2 entries, and once that was confirmed I started up the game for my first ever Pikmin experience.

For those who don't know about the game, Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a strategic/management game where players can breed different types of small, plant like creatures called Pikmin to help players with their tasks. Different Pikmin can combat different enemies or tasks, and the more Pikmin you have, the faster they can achieve tasks through numbers. Players will need to collect fruit for survival and also defeat enemies and bosses to progress the story. Players also has limited time to actively work on tasks each day, and once it reaches sundown the team will have to retreat to space to avoid dangerous creatures.

Entering the game, it immediately shows us what the Pikmin are and how to use them, and then we learned about the main goal of the game. Basically the premise is that we are stuck in a planet called PNF 404 and we need to collect fruit to sustain ourselves to survival while also looking for a cosmic drive key to fix the planet. Once everything was introduced, we were thrown to manage our Pikmin and start our tasks for survival. The controls and mechanics are fairly simple, Pikmin will automatically work on a task you assigned to them by throwing or charging them to the objective. You need to whistle your Pikmin so they will follow you or abandon tasks, and only when they are whistled and in your team can you use them to assign tasks. There is another interesting mechanic where we have multiple captains to throw to new areas and switch between captains to explore different areas.

My first impression of the game was that it is fun and charming. It's really easy to fall in love with the world and characters with the beautiful art design and interesting dialog and animations. There have been countless times when I find myself emotionally invested in the Pikmin when doing tasks or they die from enemies or hazards. it pushes me to do well and improve on management and strategy. On a gameplay standpoint, the controls are pretty easy to understand and execute, and I never felt like I got stuck on any moment or confused on what to do next. What's more, I like that the game has a bit more complexity to it than just the basic mechanics. Each type of Pikmin has their own attributes that benefits on different tasks. For example, red pikmin are fire proof and have higher attack power, while water pikmin can swim. This feature really adds up to all the existing mechanics, bringing in more thought and strategy needed when traversing a map, and possibly also allows the gameplay to feel less repetitive in a way. It also makes many puzzles or bosses in the game more interesting as you need to manage your Pikmin types to give yourself an advantage.

That being said, there are still a few gripes I have with the gameplay experience. First is the throwing system, which sometimes can be hard to achieve or just not work the way you want to. The instances are mostly rare but it can get frustrating at times when you are in a hurry or accidentally lose a lot of Pikmin due to it not working the way you expected it. The second problem I've encountered is targeting system, though convenient in many ways, it can get hard to control when there are too many objects/enemies around. There have been many times when I used the targeting system, and it keeps targeting a collectable far on the back instead of the enemy next to me, which can be really hard to deal with since I'm in risk of losing Pikmin. Lastly, the Pikmin AI is definitely not perfect, which means there's always a possibility that they will do silly actions that might cost their lives or halt a task. Fortunately, none of these problems are evident enough that will take away the whole experience of the game, and they are very adaptable once you've realized how to adjust and avoid the problems appearing.

Overall, I really loved the game, especially playing it in multiplayer with my friends. For me, the game wasn't too hard and feels really accessible for newcomers into the franchise, which I really appreciated since I was concerned of being too stressed out by the time limit factor in the game. The side modes and extra story missions are also really fun and might give an extra challenge for those who want it, and also shows off the game's variety and creative gameplay even more. But all in all, the visuals in the game are really stunning and magical, which elevates the gameplay so much more. If you haven't played a Pikmin game, I would really recommend playing this game, and I hope you will enjoy it as well!

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