So, what is Pikmin? Pikmin is a
game where you, as Captain Olimar, recruit and control little plant people called Pikmin.
You can control up to one hundred Pikmin at once. You then send your horde of Pikmin off
to perform various tasks such as slaughtering enemies and performing manual labor.
Now, my question
is, does a simple storyline, combined with colorful graphics, intriguing elements of
strategy, puzzle, adventure, and strange creatures collectively known as Pikmin warrant my
hard-earned cash? Sure, what the hell. It feels wonderful to be in the role of Captain
Olimar; however, Im sure Mr. Olimar would disagree since, after all, he has only
thirty days to acquire thirty parts to his ship before his life-support systems are
overcome with poisonous oxygen.
first day, you acquire the first of three Onions (giant pods) that house and carry your
Pikmin from day to day. Your first experience is with the red Pikmin or, as I like to
refer to them, the muscle. Theyre limited in versatility, but are great at bringing
down most of your walls and larger enemies in good time. This day is meant to get you used
to organizing and maneuvering your Pikmin, but I found that really didnt get
ingrained into me until I worked through the second and third day, where you have more
obstacles and a wider range of enemies.
I thought it was kind of odd that Miyamoto would be trying his hand at a strategy game. I
have also been one of those gamers who hedge away from strategy games on the console
platform, since a majority of the titles out there on the PC rely upon a mouse or
mouse-like controls and are poorly converted over to the PSX, DC, or what-have-you.
Control of your character, Olimar, and his Pikmin is pretty straightforward and only
involve learning a handful of tricks. You can toss your Pikmin, rush enemies with your
Pikmin, or shuffle them around via your C-stick. Obviously, the Pikmin will follow you
through most everything, so be careful that both you and them are able to traverse the
terrain, i.e. youll notice that not all of your Pikmin are able to swim and in fact
will drown if you take them into the water. An expensive mistake if youre short on
Pikmin and time. No worries if you kill off all of your Pikmin, the Onions they fly around
in will spawn another sprout at the start of the next day, but this, again, can cost you
in the game if you havent acquired a part already.
game gets going, you soon, and sometimes fatally, realize time plays a key role.
Theres no way to slow it down. No special gizmos. No power-ups. It keeps flowing
alongeven if you make huge mistakes or fail to acquire at least one piece of
your ship. Remember, thirty parts, thirty days, so no wasting time. It also becomes
increasingly important to maintain a healthy supply of Pikmin. You dont want to go
and get them all killed in one place, especially some of your more valuable ones, i.e. the
blue Pikmin who are the only ones capable of wandering through water. You can also have
your Pikmin cut down flowers or acquire objects that they return to their own Onions to
become more Pikmin sprouts. Youre Pikmin will also, if they find it, pluck grass
from the ground and feed upon a type of nectar that causes them to quicken their speeds.
The more speed you have, the quicker it is for you to make your way across some of the
larger regions in the game (five total).
As far as
the camera perspectives are concerned, you have three levels of zoom and the ability to
watch your characters from a semi-side-view or a birds eye view. I found that the
birds eye view combined with the lowest-zoom was the most efficient way of working
through the terrain of the game, while switching to a closer view helped with battling
downfall Pikmin has is that its short, only about fifteen hours of play-time. I
found myself exploring my area just to look at the beautiful scenes instead of searching
out and picking up ship parts, but this is something you can do if you have time to spare
in the evening and can afford to reset a day. It takes about 15 20 minutes of
real-time to make it through a Pikmin day. Some critics would say that you
arent afforded any time in the game, but thats really where the strength of
the game comes in. Its true to form. If youre any good, you can quickly figure
out how to grab two or maybe even three parts in a day. I found I was able to do this a
couple of times in a row, thus increasing my time buffer for the later levels. Granted,
this came with resetting and retrying a day here and there, but it wouldnt be a true
game if you didnt have to do that from time to time.
mention for the game is the quirky music it comes with. The music was one of the first
things I was exposed to when I first saw Pikmin and it just stuck. For some reason I
really enjoy the game music. Its light, fun, and goes completely with the
garden-like scenes you wander through with your teams of blue, red, and yellow Pikmin. A
definite must have for soundtrack buffs.
all, this game ranks up there as a must for your GC collection. Its the first, truly
awesome game Ive seen on the Gamecube. Im eager to take a go at the already in
development Pikmin II, which promises to be a much larger and richer chapter to the new
Pikmin series. Just plain cool, and well worth a bit of cash from my account.