2013-08-15

Pikmin 3 – Sublime Strategy

by Yo Snyder

Much the way Goldeneye
changed how first person shooters were viewed on consoles, when Pikmin was released for the Gamecube, it
changed how real time strategy games were viewed on consoles. Suddenly, a genre
that was thought to be impractical on consoles was shown to be just as
challenging, enjoyable, and charming on a console, despite the lack of
“essentials” such as a keyboard. Pikmin 2
proved that the first game’s success wasn’t just some fluke and upped the
challenge and strategy quite a bit. Well, after a looonnnggg wait, and not a
few delays, those adorable little critters have returned once again, and with
the help of the WiiU’s unique abilities, Pikmin
3
once again demonstrates just how fun a real time strategy game can be on
a console.

The interesting thing is despite upping some of the
complexity, this game is actually much easier than the last one. Some of that
is due to the time constraints being removed that were present in the first
game, and some it is because it just isn’t as difficult as the extremely
challenging caves of the second game. Pikmin
3
is much gentler game, which is probably good because there is certainly
more to keep track of and far more multitasking to do than in either of the
previous games. But additions of two other captains to control and the
extremely handy features of the map on the WiiU gamepad help taking something
that could have been intimidatingly complex and turns into something thoroughly
enjoyable. The map it displays is extremely helpful, and being able to use an
automatic “go here” feature for the separate captains means you can multi-task
like never before. While there are a few times where the three need to work
together for puzzle solving purposes, for the most part it’s just a way for you
to divide and conquer the various tasks you have to do each day. The best way
to play; use the accuracy of the Wiimote and Nunchuck and the Gamepad for its
great map features. You can use just the Gamepad, but its controls aren’t as
precise.

Speaking of the puzzles, it’s kind of a bummer there weren’t
more of them. They are some of the most satisfying moments in the game when you
figure out how to use your resources to overcome certain obstacles, and I wish
there had been a few more of them. Granted, just figuring out how to get
certain pieces of fruit in the regular environment can be a puzzle in and of
itself, as are some of the boss fights, but I enjoyed the more cerebral
challenges of actual puzzles that required some thought to solve. It’s a shame
there weren’t more of those.

In fact, that’s one of the biggest drawbacks of the game
overall; there’s not enough of it. It doesn’t take long to unlock the five
areas, and while you’re selection of pikmin in the story mode is great, with
some interesting new additions like the flying pikmin, the fact that in mission
mode you get even more varieties to use, it’s hard not to wish they were all
included in the main story mode. Still, there is the fun of the mission modes,
which can be enjoyed solo or with a friend. These are more challenging as
they’re timed, which gives the game more of the intensity of the first game as
you manically try to collect enough fruit and points to get a really high
score. There’s more multiplayer mayhem with the pikmin bingo mode, which has its
on unique strategies and challenges, and while these are great, I was still
left wishing the main story didn’t end quite so quickly.

No matter what mode you play, it’s hard to deny the charm of
the pikmin. Those cute little guys, so eager to please and help out, can really
grow on you. In fact, they’re so charming, my wife refuses to play this game.
Why? Because she can’t stand to see them die. Yes, as adorable as they are, to
succeed at this game you have to view the pikmin as a resource; an expendable
resource. Well, my wife just can’t bring herself to do that. She feels too
guilty about flinging the pikmin off to their doom during the course of the
game. Now here’s the interesting part of that; some people feel that God is a
lot like the captains in Pikmin, and we are the pikmin. They think that God is
somehow distant and removed, and that to have faith and to follow God means
that he gets to fling you about and use your life however he sees fit, and that
he’ll do just that without much regard for your well-being. Christianity is “blind
faith”, and to be one means to have no will or volition of one’s own; it means
to be a pikmin in the hands of a capricious God.

Well, the truth is my wife’s attitude towards playing this
game is actually far more representative of the reality of our relationship
with God. She cares too much about the pikmin to fling them off carelessly to
their doom. It makes her feel bad and breaks her heart; and so it is with God.
When someone becomes a Christian, they don’t just become a follower of God;
they become his child. He loves us, and never carelessly tosses us about in
life. He doesn’t just demand that we blindly be obedient to his every whim; and
interestingly enough, even if he did that would be no bad thing because all he
wants is the very best for us. Take a look at Matthew 10:28-32 sometime and see
what God has to say about how much he values us. As for whether or not we get
flung into challenging and perhaps painful circumstances, well that happens at
times too, but again, it’s not carelessly done; with God there is great care in
everything that happens in our lives. He values us even more than the way my
wife values those little pikmin.

Pikmin 3 is a
gorgeous looking game that makes good use of the WiiU’s unique abilities, and
while it doesn’t revolutionize the series, it definitely helps push it forward.
I’ve been waiting a long time for this game, and in fact it’s one of the main
reasons I wanted a WiiU. It’s compelling, addicting, challenging, satisfying
and whole lot of fun; in short, everything you could want from a real time
strategy game. If you haven’t tried Pikmin before, this is a good place to
start. If you have and have been longing for more, Pikmin 3 will likely leave you longing for me, but it’s thoroughly
enjoyable and fun while it lasts.

Score: 6 of 7 –
Nothing to worry about content wise here. It’s a great family game, or at
least, it’s one my family all really enjoys (except for my wife).