‘Pikmin 3’

Pikmin, a real-time strategy series that oozes quirky originality, naturalness, and a fondness for all things tiny, is finally back. This title above all, with its attempts at photo-realistic natural beauty, has the most to benefit from the WiiU’s HD graphics. The woodland landscape, with all of its sprouts, puddles and budding greenery looked spectacular and so very believable. But for all its emphasis on organic game elements, it’s a real shame the title hasn’t yet reached an organic control style, or even a playable state.

The GamePad utilization was the worst of the show. The mini-map, long accessed by simply pausing the game, is now moved to the touch screen of the GamePad — which you don’t use. You actually hold the Wiimote and nunchuck to throw Pikmin around. Nintendo reps said they were waiting for a stand to hold the small GamePad next to the television. If Nintendo thinks that’s a good solution, they’d better include binoculars with every disk.

I was assured that another control method will be in the final game, one where you can use the WiiU’s new controller (complete with two joysticks and a bevy of buttons, remember), and that a minimap might be added back into the main screen somehow. I hope they’ll add back into the game the ability to march Pikmin in formation, or zoom the camera in and out. These are all things in the previous two titles and “New Play Control” remakes on Wii. I have every confidence the game will grow to where it needs to be, but it’s just a seedling as of now.

Takeaway: I’m sure it will get there, but this game needs more work.

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