It feels like the internet is abuzz with talk of Pikmin right now. With the release of Pikmin 4, it is becoming apparent that Pikmin is not as niche of a game as many might have thought. As a fan of Pikmin myself, I’m very happy that it is getting this much attention. With Pikmin 3’s original release on the Wii U, I felt as though it was massively overlooked. For those that don’t know, Pikmin is somewhat of an RTS-lite game where you run around with a gaggle of various sprout guys, collecting items, fighting enemies, and completing tasks with their help. I say it is an RTS-lite because I personally feel as though Pikmin occupies a genre of its own, and RTS is just the closest thing I can think to compare it to. All this being said, let's talk about how Pikmin 4 measures up.
Pikmin 4 does a wonderful job building on everything the series has established while doing away with some of the tedious aspects that might have turned other players off in previous installments. Firstly, this game enjoys a freedom that the previous ones did not. There is no day limit like in the first game, and there is no resource gathering aspect like in the third. Instead, your motivation comes in saving the many characters stranded on Earth—I mean PNF-404. This is something I personally appreciate, as I found the first Pikmin’s 30 day limit stressful, and Pikmin 3’s food collecting aspect to be under-realized. Having the objective be tied to something other than a restriction of time or resources allows the player to feel a motivation to progress while not discouraging exploration.
A great addition to this game is Oatchi, your dog. I was really surprised by how much Oatchi adds to the game. You can ride Oatchi, and when you do all of your Pikmin hop on as well. This allows you to be able to move the whole group more safely, being able to dodge enemy attacks easier as well as not having to worry about half of your Pikmin falling off the sides of a narrow walkway. Although as an aside, your pikmin’s pathfinding seems to have been improved tremendously, making that a lot less likely to happen regardless. You can also have Oatchi swim, and if your Pikmin are riding the they will be kept above the water, allowing you to be able to ferry pikmin across water. You can have Oatchi charge at enemies, and when your Pikmin are riding on him they will all jump off and grab on to the enemy when he hits it, making the task of throwing all of your Pikmin on a downed enemy much easier. Oatchi can also be upgraded, making his combat effectiveness much better, increasing how much he can carry when ordering him to bring items back to your base, upgrading his swim speed and more. Personally, I think the addition of Oatchi is a slam dunk!
There is also the addition of the multiplayer mode, Dandori Battle. In this, you can either play a cpu, play against a friend, or work together against a cpu to collect treasure on a map as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to gain points. It can be chaotic and exciting, especially if you mess with the difficulty setting to make it super easy for the computer and super hard for you.
- No time limit gives more freedom to the player
- The dog is an excellent addition
- Fun bonus game mode
Pikmin is a game that emphasizes resource and time management. Its a game that demands you to multitask if you want to reach the skill ceiling, and that’s the way that Pikmin has always been. Each day has only a set amount of time, and that can make the game stressful for some people. While this game does give you as many days as you want to play around with, I can understand that the time constraint can turn some players off. I don’t this this is an inherently bad thing, but I just want people to be aware of what they’re buying. When I said this game is RTS-lite, I put heavy emphasis on the lite portion. Personally, I don’t care for games like Frostpunk, or Civilization, which are the closest comparisons I can think of to Pikmin (and they aren’t really even that close) but I love Pikmin. I just understand that the game isn’t for everyone. Good thing there’s a demo out!
- If you’ve never played Pikmin, get the demo first
Final Score: 9/10
Pikmin 4 does for Pikmin what Super Mario Odyssey did for Mario. It takes the series formula and builds it into a masterclass of itself. Pikmin 4 is easily my favorite of the series, and I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in it. With the release of the first two games on Switch and now Pikmin 4, the entire mainline series is all on one console, and can be enjoyed easily by anyone. There is never a better time for you to get into Pikmin, but even if you don’t want to spend the money on the first three games, Pikmin 4 can most certainly be enjoyed without prior experience.
Thank you for checking out our Pikmin 4 Switch review, thank you to Nintendo AU/NZ for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: