Name: Pikmin review Category: Strategy Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1
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Pikmin, a new funky little title brought to us by Shigeru Miyamoto is a spin-off on the Real-Time-Strategy genre. It also has its own little quirks that are specific to it that really makes this game very unique. Read on and I will explain all.
The graphics in the game are a mixed bunch. First, the environment you are in seems almost photo-realistic. To the main character, Captain Olimar, the world might seem like a vast jungle, but it is really just something you would find in your own backyard. The game’s textures are extremely realistic, as the plants and dirt and water look like real organic material. And then, there’s the characters. All the characters in the game-Capt. Olimar, the Pikmin, and the creatures living in the world, are colorful and cute looking. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because if they were realistic/dull colored, they would blend in too much with the background and you would loose track of where they were! Overall the graphics are nice, and its quite impressive to see 100 different little guys running around and following you wherever you go.
The sound in the game is decent. The music in the game was obviously made so it wouldn’t disrupt from the gameplay. They consist of quiet, calm little tunes that also suits its strange atmosphere. The sound effects are pretty standard, such as your fanfares and your bells and whistles. It can be somewhat realistic, like the rustling sound when you walk through tall grass, but nothing too extraordinary. The Pikmin make a constant “whee!” sound that adds to the cute-factor, but it doesn’t get too overly annoying. And when the Pikmin die or drown they make the saddest sound that it almost makes you cry.
The game isn’t too hard to understand, but it’s difficult to master. The whole plot of the game is trying to collect 30 parts of your ship in 30 days before your life support system gives out. And you have all these cute little Pikmin to help you. Sounds easy, right? It’s not. There are 3 types of Pikmin, each with their own abilities—Red ones are immune to fire, Yellow ones can be thrown high and can carry bomb rocks, and Blue ones are immune to water. As you explore this “vast jungle” Capt. Olimar makes journal entries that basically tell you how to control the game without having to read the instruction booklet. There are quite a few flaws this game has that I will try to explain. First-the obvious one- is the camera. Sometimes the camera is a blessing, while other times it is just a pain. You have almost full control over the camera, zooming, rotating, 3/4 view and overhead perspective, but sometimes it just doesn’t go where you want it to go. Another one is the Pikmin’s mentality. Basically, the Pikmin follow you wherever you go, and you throw them at things to make them do your bidding. (the ultimate in power control!) But then, the Pikmin also do things WITHOUT your consent. The Pikmin might kill things that you might have not wanted to attack, and you have to end up whistling to call them back into your troupe. I’m pretty sure that they added this “automatic” feature to make the game a little bit easier, but overall it’s not something I want. I want FULL, absolute control over my units, not just semi-omnipotence. One final thing I will warn you about: this game has a clock. The days go by very quickly, and once you get into it, you will tend to forget that you are being timed. So in knowing that, you must do things FAST. Once a day is over, you need to gather up all your Pikmin and go into your ship so the nocturnal beasts won’t gobble you up. So you might have to retry many times at getting certain things accomplished in a day, which can be quite frustrating.
Like I said before, this game is unique. It takes a little bit of thinking, logic, and good ol’ exploration to play the game, and this might turn off some casual gamers. But if you’re reading this, I guess you’re not casual, you’re HARDCORE! So give it a rent, and if you don’t beat it in 5 days, make your decision then. The game is a fresh look at what the next-generation of “new” games are going to be and overall it’s a fun experience. If you’re curious, I think the name is a play on words of “Pick-Men” because you have to “pick” the little “men” out of the ground. Just a guess! Overall, Pikmin isn’t a must-have title for the Gamecube, but it’s a good one-player experience if you don’t have any friends to play Smash Bros. with.