Those of you who have played Pikmin before will need no introduction but if you have not it is a cute-looking, yet surprisingly deep, real-time strategy game. It is set in a garden-like environment and you control a character who shepherds groups of small creatures, Pikmin, that are as much plant as they are animal.
Pikmin 3 on the Wii U bring new features to the series but the first and most obvious difference are the greatly improved visuals made possible by the new console. The characters and environments look simply stunning with a lovely depth of field effect. We’ll bring you pictures and video when Nintendo release them.
In terms of new features, Pikmin 3 introduces a new type of Pikmin, the Rock Pikmin, which can be hurled at hard, but breakable, objects such as glass to, well, break them.
The basic controls, using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, are similar to those we’ve seen before. The Wii U’s GamePad displays an overview map of the game area which existing players will appreciate will make a significant difference to a game where efficient strategy is key.
You can also play with just the GamePad on its own. In this control mode you control up to four characters. Yes four: leading, we are told, to a further deepening of the game’s strategic possibilities. Something Nintendo were keen to contrast with the trend towards more casual gaming.
Captain Olimar has been the player’s avatar in the two previous games but this time he is not one of the four. We were not introduced to them but we were told that the reason Captain Olimar is absent is, for now, a secret.
Last but not least is a new challenge mode that involves using the Pikmin to collect fruit from around the environment in as quick and efficient way as possible. In this mode you will be able to watch replays to see where you can shave off the next few seconds.