Of all the games that were discussed during Nintendo’s press conference, Pikmin 3 probably made me the most giddy. Here was a game that had been discussed long ago as being in development for the Nintendo Wii and just never surfaced for one reason or another. Now it’s one of the launch titles for the WiiU, and the end result is a game that is looking a lot sharper in the visual department than it otherwise would have as well as adopting the use of a new peripheral in (hopefully) some interesting ways. Naturally, I gravitated toward this game on the show floor.
If you’ve played either of the Pikmin Wii-releases or even the Gamecube editions, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect. In the demo, I was only in control of Captain Olimar (as opposed to having two people to flip-flop) and I had a handful of Pikmin to work with. The objective in this segment was to bring back as much stuff as possible within the time limit of the demo. In doing so, I discovered the new Rock Pikmin, which could be hurled at walls to knock them down, or crack the shells of critters that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get at.
I played using the Wii remote and nunchuk combo, even though the WiiU tablet controller was present. While I did not use it directly, the tablet did display an overhead map of everything that was going on, and I’m going to assume it can be used to snap to any particular point on the map, should you need to. As for other uses of the controller, your guess is as good as mine. We’ll just have to wait and see when the final game comes out.
The second portion of the demo was a boss battle against a large insect-like creature with a thick outer shell. You get a full army of Pikmin at your disposal and as the creature slithers around the map it will try to suck up and eat them. What you have to do is fling the Pikmin on its back (the Rock Pikmin are even better for this) and hopefully do enough damage that it will spit them back out before they’re done for. Once you’ve penetrated the outer shell, you can start inflicting punishment on the boss until it’s finished. It was fun, frantic, and every bit as exciting as I would expect a boss encounter should be. I suspect this will be the first game that my future WiiU will have the pleasure of playing. While no official release date has been set, expect that Pikmin 3 will release later on this year following the WiiU launch.