We have been spoiled with the abundance of remakes and remasters that have been released in 2023. Some of these have been massive undertakings like the remakes for Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space. But if you’re looking for something maybe a little less traumatizing you can go for the comfy and cozy ports of Pikmin 1+2! The Nintendo Switch has very quickly become the designated Pikmin machine! On the heavily anticipated Barbie/Oppenheimer Day July 21st, 2023, Pikmin 4 will be released for the Switch. That will make every mainline Pikmin game playable on the system! If you haven’t been privy to the series and are maybe curious about why Pikmin is considered a cult classic, look no further! There is an uncountable amount of Pikmin waiting to be plucked out of the ground by you!
In Pikmin 1 you play as Captain Olimar. His title is in relationship to the spaceship he captains, the S.S. Dolphin! Things take a bad turn for the Captain right away as he crash lands on the planet known as PNF-404. He is tasked with finding all 30 parts of the ship before he runs out of his 30 day oxygen supply. The planet is very earth-like in its geography and monuments. Paper bags, children’s toys, and batteries dwarf Olimar as he only stands 0.75 inches tall. Thankfully there seems to be no sign of human life, as the poor Captain would be absolutely crushed by a passerby. Olimar isn’t much of a tough guy on his own. Luckily for him, he is introduced to a small red guy. He decides to call the creature a Pikmin because its appearance reminds him of the “Pikpik” carrot that grows on his home planet of Hocotate. You quickly realize that Pikmin are instantly loyal and charming as all get out.
Pikmin 1 features three different types of Pikmin, basically the first image you think of when you think “Pikmin.” You have the red, yellow, and blue Pikmin. Red has fire resistance, blue has the ability to go in water, yellow has the ability to lift objects that other Pikmin cannot. You can have control of up to 100 of the little guys at a time. It’s best to have a blend of each colour to help defeat enemies, kill bosses, and bring items back to your ship.
The story is delivered through logs made by Captain Olimar after each day. Sometimes he’ll talk about the ship parts he obtained. Sometimes he’ll talk about his family and times his wife has accosted him. Typically sci-fi games and movies involving planetary exploration and alien creatures feature spacial politics, intense violence, and convoluted stories. The nice thing about Pikmin is that is has none of that. The fact that Olimar is just a goofy husband/father and not some badass super soldier is so refreshing. He’s got very little combat training and has to rely on throwing Pikmin at his enemies who are more than happy to die for him… and they WILL die. At the end of each in game day (only about 15 or 20 real life minutes) you have to return to your ship with your Pikmin back in their bulbs. Any Pikmin left behind will not survive the night and will be lost for good.
Pikmin 2 is more of the same, with some added gameplay elements. Olimar is joined by an acquaintance named Louie. Much less experienced than Olimar, yet still capable! Louie is equally as lovable and even more goofy than his colleague. He has an insatiable hunger and was raised by his grandfather to eat bugs. He’s an oddball to say the least. He is also the reason for Pikmin 2 taking place. Louie loses an extremely expensive shipment and costs Hocotate Freight, the company he and Olimar work for, 10,000 pokos (the planet’s currency). The president of the company sends our duo back to PNF-404 to find more treasure to sell to pay off the debt.
There are two new Pikmin added; Purple Pikmin who are much heavier and have super strength, and White Pikmin who have immunity to poison as well as the ability to dig up items. You must use your new friends, as well as the OG red, yellow, and blue to solve puzzles, fight enemies and collect treasure. Most treasures in Pikmin 2 are found in caves. Caves are newly added in this instalment of the series. Caves are randomly generated and limits your ability to collect Pikmin. Once treasure is collected, it does not respawn. If you die, or you run out of Pikmin, the mission will end and you will be pulled to safety.
Caves are actually my least favourite part of the game and I think it has to do with the random generation. Sometimes the caves feel frustrating to play or poorly designed, and it makes me wish that their designs were more intentional. From what I’ve read, caves make a reappearance in Pikmin 4 but aren’t randomly generated. That seems like a step in the right direction for me!
There is also a 2 player competitive mode in Pikmin 2. It features 2-Player Battle as well as Challenge Mode. 2-Player Battle is exactly what it sounds like. Olimar and Louie duel each other with the help of 50 Pikmin each. The goal is to bring 4 yellow marbles to their Onion (the ship of the Pikmin.) There are 7 yellow marbles in total, and whoever is the first to 4 wins. You can also win the game if the other captain dies or if every Pikmin on one team is killed. Challenge Mode can be played by one or two players, and is an alternate game mode where you play for a high score. Whether you and a friend wants to be competitive or you just want to test your own skills.
Whether you’re chasing some nostalgia from your childhood, or you’re just looking to give these classics a try, there is no better way to experience these games. Pikmin 1+2 have aged like wine and the fact that we can now play them on the go is such a gift. I am heavily considering getting a copy of Pikmin 3 Deluxe as I am currently suffering from Pikmin fever. I cannot wait to give you guys a review of Pikmin 4 in the near future. As previously mentioned, 2023 is the year of the re-release, and Pikmin 1+2 is another terrific repackaged present to the world. You owe it to yourself to check out these fantastic games!