Games: New controls, same old fun
Nintendo has realized that the popularity of its Wii console can give a new lease on life to some of its classic games.
As part of its "New Play Control" initiative, Nintendo has revived its intriguing and quirky "Pikmin" as well as "Mario Power Tennis."
"Pikmini," the E-rated adventure and puzzle game, features Captain Olimar, a tiny alien whose spaceship crashed on the forested world of the Pikmin. Olimar has 30 days to find the pieces of his damaged craft and fit them back into place. He quickly learns that the colorful Pikmin — spritelike creatures with leaves, buds or flowers on their heads – are willing helpers.
The game involves leading a train of Pikmin through the forest and assigning them to do different tasks. These include knocking down walls, battling bugs, building bridges, harvesting flowers — which can be taken back to their "onions" and turned into more Pikmin — and, of course, carrying pieces of the spaceship back to the day’s base camp.
You can control up to 100 Pikmin at a time — sending blue ones through water, reds into hot flames and bomb-carrying yellows to blast obstacles.
The biggest difference between the Wii version and the original GameCube version is the use of the motion-sensitive Wii remote. This is used to round up errant Pikmin and point out destinations and assignments. The system works very well and is very newbie-friendly — perfect for the Wii. The other major difference involves support for wide-screen TVs.
The different environments and the tasks required to accomplish your missions are interesting. However, my wife — who’s become addicted to the game — questions whether some elements might be a bit too complex for younger children.
"Pikmin" — which is priced at $30, or $20 less than a standard Wii game — was definitely the right game to launch Nintendo’s "New Play Control" program.
Platform: WiiOn the Web: www.Pikmin.com