Quick confession: I’ve never played a proper Pikmin game before. Now I could blame the fact that the Nintendo GameCube I was gifted with from a lovely aunt in the US of A was of an NTSC nature, but that’s a poor excuse really. After all, a game where you command a small army of adorable creatures who boast a spectrum of colours that would put the Smurfs to shame? Man, I’ve been a dolt to miss out on that.
Hey! Pikmin is that excuse to finally get in on that action, albeit in a more portable form factor. On the surface, it has all the hallmarks of a classic Pikmin game: Captain Olimar has managed to crash yet again on a barren planet, with salvation lying in his ability to form an entourage of Pikmin to do his bidding for him like some sort of massive-nosed space pharaoh astronaut. It’s weird, but stick with me here.
What Hey! Pikmin has in this 3DS incarnation, is a simpler take on mixing strategy with more traditional two-dimensional platforming. It’s a few steps removed from the more cunning 3D entries in the franchise, focusing instead on a linear path forward to help Captain olimar return to home by using his collection of Pikmin to scavenge supplies for him.
Not a bad idea actually. Nintendo has a habit of being kid-friendly with its properties, and Hey! Pikmin fits that bill perfectly with its adorable characters and colourful designs. While simple in appearance, Hey! Pikmin does’t go totally kid-friendly. The stages on offer have a flow to them, deviously hiding secrets and bonus items through the dual use of the 3DS screens that gives the title a lot more verticality than you’d expect it to.
Paying attention to two screens can be daunting, tasking players with using the tools and Pikmin at their disposal to work their way out of a jam and through the more hostile alien lifeforms present. Hey! Pikmin has plenty of these puzzles to chuck at you, that range from working your way past savage obstacles and building literal bridges through to tapping your way one step closer to acquiring the parts needed to go home.
Perhaps the biggest challenge out of all the obstacles in your path, is keeping your flock of Pikmin together. A bad tap can send a little fella hurtling to his doom, bad news for when some puzzles require you to have a specific collection of Pikmin to solve a mystery.Finding the little guys isn’t exactly difficult if you pay attention, and you’ll come to care for your team as the levels grind on.
If you were looking for the next massive step forward for Pikmin, then Hey! Pikmin…isn’t that game. Instead, it’s an introductory diversion for the series that focuses on tighter gameplay, simpler gameplay and a constant sense of mystery that’ll have younger members of the family stumped at times as they search for a solution. That’s what Pikmin has always been about of course: Exploration, and thinking outside of the box.
Last Updated: July 26, 2017