Pikmin 3 Deluxe Review HeroSource: iMore / Zackery Cuevas

It's been a long seven years since we've heard anything about Pikmin (and yes, I'm ignoring Hey! Pikmin). First introduced on the Gamecube in 2001, the Pikmin series has long enjoyed critical success, but never the commercial success that other Nintendo properties like Mario, Zelda, or Pokémon have enjoyed. Still, the adorable real-time strategy game has its fair share of dedicated fans (me included), and if you're one of them, you'll be happy to learn that Pikmin 3 Deluxe is every bit as good as it was when it released on the WiiU in 2013.

Featuring all the DLC from the Wii U version, tons of quality of life changes, and new side-missions, Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the best way to play this underrated Wii U gem. However, if you've visited planet PNF-404 before, there's not much here that you didn't see your first time around.

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Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Bottom Line: Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the best way to experience Pikmin 3. Tons of minor changes make the game more accessible, and the new content adds a couple of hours to the short main campaign. Still, the game is largely the same game that appeared on the WiiU, from its colorful visuals to gameplay.

Pros:

  • The Pikmin are as cute and charming as ever
  • Simple and satisfying RTS gameplay
  • New QoL changes make the game more accessible to new players

Cons:

  • The hint system makes an already easy game easier
  • No visual improvements or online play
  • New content is insignificant

Pikmin 3 Deluxe review: What I love about Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Pikmin 3 Deluxe Breaking WallsSource: iMore / Zackery Cuevas

Pikmin 3 Deluxe remains largely unchanged and for the most part, that's not a bad thing. The game follows three astronauts as they travel to a far-off planet in search of resources that might save their overpopulated and underfed home planet. As they approach the foreign planet, their ship is damaged, and they are forced to crash land onto the planet's surface. Now separated, the crew discover the super cute and super obedient Pikmin, who immediately submit to the crew's leadership. Armed with a horde of the plant-like creatures, the crew must reunite and repair their spaceship, while also collecting fruit to bring back home.

Category Pikmin 3 Deluxe
Title Pikmin 3 Deluxe
Developer Nintendo
Publisher Nintendo
Genre Adventure/ Strategy
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Game Size 6.5GB
Players Local, up to 2 players
Price $60

I played the Wii U original back in 2013 but was honestly surprised by how much I missed Pikmin. All of the Pikmin are cute and endearing, which makes every microscopic death weigh heavier on the player's soul. What's great about the world of Pikmin is that, while it is adorable, the presence of instant death looms around every corner.

If the astronauts fail to repair their ship, they will die on the hostile planet, while their home planet starves to death. If a Pikmin is left behind at the end of the day, it won't survive through the night. Perhaps unintentionally, Pikmin 3 Deluxe feels almost like playing a nature documentary, and the tiny environments make small feats like building a bridge or collecting a strawberry feel so much grander in scale.

Big ideas carried by tiny shoulders

Pikmin 3 Deluxe Charlie SavedSource: iMore / Zackery Cuevas

Gameplay consists of one of the three captains commanding their Pikmin to fight enemies, search for treasures, and collect massive pieces of fruit. Pikmin's gameplay can be compared to a real-time strategy game, except instead of an omnipresent finger in the sky, you're on the ground with the troops, making calls on the fly. And you'll have to think fast because one wrong move could spell the end for your Pikmin army.

The Pikmin games have always been about resource management, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe is no different. Pikmin 3's gimmick is that you're able to split the work between each of your three captains. Have one lead a group of Pikmin to a piece of fruit, while another builds a bridge and you fight off enemies. Learning how to divide tasks between your captains is the key to solving the game's puzzles and getting the most work done in a single in-game day.

What's so deluxe about it?

Pikmin 3 Deluxe Olimar And LouieSource: iMore / Zackery Cuevas

They didn't call it Pikmin 3 Deluxe for nothing. While gameplay and visuals remain the same, Nintendo has addressed a large number of smaller issues that make the game more accessible to newcomers. Locking on to and charging your enemies has never been easier, and your whistle radius has been largely expanded. You can also call idle Pikmin back to base with your ship, which eliminates the need to hunt for stragglers at the end of the day. A new hint system has also been added, and now points you in the direction of your objective. It's a nice bonus, though it does make the already easy game even easier.

The three biggest additions are the new difficulty modes, the addition of local coop, and the new story side missions. While the difficulty modes are unlocked after completing the game, importing your save file from the Pikmin 3 Deluxe demo instantly unlocks the harder difficulty modes. While the game is still pretty easy on Hard or Ultra-Spicy mode, the latter actually cuts the total Pikmin you can have on the field by forty, which makes Pikmin management all the more important. Returning fans should start there for a challenge.

Nintendo has addressed a large number of smaller issues.

Returning features include a Mission Mode, where players race against the clock to collect treasure, battle enemies, and fight bosses, the previously absent Piklopedia from Pikmin 2, and Pikmin 3's unique multiplayer mode, Bingo Battle, as well as all of the DLC released for the WiiU version. The game also features a variety of control schemes, including Joy-Con controls, a traditional Pro Controller, and you can even use the Pro Controller's gyro for cursor control.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe review: What I don't love about Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Pikmin 3 Deluxe Lilypad RiverSource: iMore / Zackery Cuevas

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a great game, but QoL changes aside, it is almost identical to the Wii U version. I can't help but feel a little disappointed at the entire package. The visuals are untouched, and while environments and models still look good, some of the game's textures are starting to show the game's age.

Local co-op is a nice addition, but I just found myself wishing I could play online. That also goes for Bingo Battle, which is an incredibly fun mode that's sure to be underutilized if you don't have a willing participant on the couch next to you. And if I had to nitpick, I'd argue that not all of the QoL changes are for the better. the help system is a little too helpful, often spelling out exactly what you need to do and leading you by the hand to your destination.

Not all of the QoL changes are for the better.

A lot of my disappointment comes from the side story missions. While advertised as the story behind the story, what it actually is, is a reskinned mission mode featuring Captain Olimar and his half-wit companion, Louie. While it's nice to see those characters playable in a Pikmin game again, a lot of the environments are from the campaign or the Mission Mode. Even their reason for being on the planet is a rehash of Pikmin 2's plot.

The game is also pretty easy and particularly long. If you're not interested in participating in Mission Mode, you'll quickly realize that Pikmin 3 Deluxe doesn't have much meat on its bones once you've completed the campaign. Returning fans from the Wii U will find a lot of the same game for a full $60 ticket.

Is it worth plucking Pikmin 3 Deluxe yourself?

Pikmin 3 Deluxe Red Pikmin CuteSource: iMore / Zackery Cuevas

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the latest in a long line of Wii U classics that have joined the catalog of great Nintendo Switch games. While some of the re-releases come with loads of content packed with it (see Hyrule Warriors) some of them come to the Switch just as they were (like Bayonetta 2, for example). Pikmin 3 Deluxe falls somewhere in the middle. While it includes some nice updates and some additional content, it's largely the same game, both in the visual and gameplay departments.

If you've never experienced Pikmin 3, you'll find a lot to enjoy in Pikmin 3 Deluxe. The Pikmin are charming and the gameplay is fun and rewarding, and the multiplayer, despite being local only, is a blast when you're able to play with someone. I enjoyed my reunion with the Pikmin, and my only hope is that I don't have to wait another seven years for a new Pikmin game.

4 out of 5

Pikmin 3 Deluxe serves as a great introduction to the series, for younger gamers and for those who may only Pikmin through Super Smash Bros. Its unique strategy gameplay is sure to make a quick fan out of anyone. Returning fans won't have much new content to experience, but it doesn't change the fact that Pikmin 3 is still a great game from beginning to end. It feels good to see Pikmin back in the spotlight, now give us Pikmin 4, Nintendo!

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Pikmin 3 Deluxe

The flowers still smell nice.

Return to the exotic world of PNF-404 as you collect fruit to save your dying planet from starvation. Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the definitive version of this game and is the perfect entry point for those interested in the series. Returning gamers, however, will find a distinct lack of new content.

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