The Pikmin 1+2 Switch remasters are understated gems

Pikmin 1+2 Header

I’ve always loved the Pikmin series from a distance, adoring the concept, but never actually playing them – I just wasn’t gaming on GameCube or Wii U at the times of their original release release, and never managed to get around to digging back through Nintendo’s often pricey archives. But with Pikmin 4 just a month away from release, I’m finally getting my chance with this remastered release of the original GameCube duo.

Well, to be more accurate, this is a remastered release of the Nintendo Wii ‘New Play Controls’ versions. Back in the early days of the Wii, Nintendo saw an opportunity to give some GameCube games a second lease of life, and to incorporate the new dynamics of motion and pointer controls. Along the way, these ‘New Play Controls’ were also enhanced with widescreen support and some minor fixes and tweaks could be implemented.

It’s these Wii ports that have now been given an HD remaster for the Nintendo Switch. The game runs at 1080p docked and 720p handheld, and while it’s slightly disappointing they only run at 30fps on Switch, that’s not something that really affects the game when the performance is so perfectly steady.

Pikmin Remastered on Switch

That’s pretty much as far as these remasters go, though – this looks to be all the original 3D modelling and texture work, as opposed to a more comprehensive remake in the vein of Metroid Prime Remastered earlier this year.

By default, you’re using button controls that will feel similar to the GameCube original, but there is also the option to turn on motion controls that lets you target and move independently. That’s particularly handy when launching masses of Pikmin at a towering boss enemy and need to target a weak spot, though you’re also able to send a swarm of them at enemies. Pikmin will die. It’s always a little bit heartbreaking, but even worse when you

Pikmin 30 day limit

The original Pikmin is a pretty straightforward game, but there’s a whimsical delight and charm to exploring this setting for the first time. There’s a Micro Machines or Honey, I Shrunk The Kids vibe to some of the obstacles being discarded paper bags, batteries, and broken cans, and they meld well with the realistic graphic style to the Earth-like environments – well… realistic by GameCube standards.

There’s a real purity of game design here, with just three Pikmin types that each have specific abilities – red are immune to fire, blue can swim, and yellow can carry bombs and can be thrown higher. You also have just 30 in-game days in which to collect all the parts of Captain Olimar’s ship, with each level having a timer before night falls and any lost or forgotten Pikmin are munched on by the planet’s odd creatures. You’ll visit each area multiple times, opening up certain paths, preparing bridges and clearing out enemies so they don’t bother you on previous attempts.

Pikmin 2 Remastered on Switch

The time limit is a real sign of the game’s times, though this remastered Wii version allows you rewind to previous days if you feel like you made a mistake or weren’t happy with a day’s performance and lost too many Pikmin. Pikmin 2 removes this time limit, giving it a more relaxed feel to the game, though with a few day do-overs I never felt too hampered by the original – I’d have to actively try and fail to get the bad endings.

Pikmin 2 fleshes out the basic concept with a couple more Pikmin types – faster, poison resistant White Pikmin, and stronger, heavier Purple Pikmin – and made Yellow Pikmin immune to electricity in exchange for not carrying bombs anymore. As Olimar returns to the planet to search for treasures, he’s accompanied by Louie, which enables some more split approaches to levels, and there’s also the multi-level challenge dungeons that give a different tone as you delve into them. From the opening hours, there’s definitely a sense that Nintendo understood a little better what Pikmin could be, as they the original’s ideas were given more time to grow and bloom.

Pikmin 2 Boss Battle

As straightforward remasters, there’s not an awful lot more to say about Pikmin 1+2 on Switch, except that it’s great to have a fresh opportunity to play these games on a current games console, and to see the full series united on Switch. They have such a cult following for a reason, and having played them for the first time, I’m now really looking forward to seeing what Pikmin 4 can offer.

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