Pikmin 4 Review: Nintendo’s Charming Strategy Game Hit
In the verdant gaming universe, the Pikmin series has always been a whimsical, charming flower, sprouting playfully in Nintendo’s lush garden of franchises. With Pikmin 4, this flower has not merely bloomed but evolved into a riotous bouquet of strategy and adventure. It’s a grand return that shows that good things come to those who wait.
Striding confidently into the spotlight, Pikmin 4 reimagines the beloved series with a level of ambition not seen in its predecessors. It presents a deeper narrative centered around a newly-minted recruit of the Rescue Brigade, marooned on an unfamiliar planet, marking the first-ever instance where players can personalize their characters. It’s a delight to explore this alien world, replete with larger-than-life adversaries and landscapes, aided by our trusted Pikmin allies and a new companion, Ochin – a space canine who embodies the charmingly quirky spirit of the franchise.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Pikmin 4 is its shift in scope, as it scales up its vibrant, beautifully rendered world into vast exploration zones teeming with secrets. Yet, its complexity does not detract from its accessibility. In fact, it presents itself as an ideal gateway into the franchise for newcomers while ensuring that seasoned veterans find enough new ingredients to enjoy a fresh feast of gameplay.
The once frustrating elements that marred the past editions have been gracefully addressed, such as removing harsh time restrictions, replaced with a countdown that adds urgency without limiting player freedom. The game also cleverly introduces time rewind options, a forgiving feature that allows quick corrections of mistakes, accentuating its player-friendly ethos.
The introduction of two new Pikmin types, the frost-inducing Ice Pikmin and the illuminating Luminous Pikmin, further diversify the gameplay mechanics and integrate seamlessly into the narrative. Particularly, the night expeditions, enabled by the Luminous Pikmin, are a brilliant addition to the game, offering “tower defense”-style diversions that are as fun as they are challenging.
Yet, Pikmin 4 isn’t devoid of mild disappointments. While it does introduce the engaging Dandori battles, a split-screen frenzy of item collection against the clock, it stops short of realizing its full potential by lacking online multiplayer support. A wider array of multiplayer options would have added longevity and a different dimension to the Pikmin experience.
Compared to other first-party Nintendo titles, Pikmin 4 stands out due to its unique blend of real-time strategy, exploration, and charming narrative. It captures the essence of the Nintendo design philosophy: easy to pick up but challenging to master. It aligns well with other flagship Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in terms of sheer ingenuity, while carving its own identity with its unique gameplay mechanics and characters.
As the sun sets on our review, Pikmin 4 emerges as a vibrant evolution of a beloved franchise. While it might not be perfect, its array of innovations, accessibility, improved gameplay, and delightful narrative make it a journey worth embarking upon. Its horticultural world has grown into a formidable forest in the gaming landscape, proving that this franchise is no mere garden variety.
RATING: 4.0 out of 5
Pikmin 4 is available for Nintendo Switch on July 21st.