Pikmin 1 + 2 Review – Re-Mastered Strategy Brilliance

Pikmin 1 + 2 Review

Pikmin fans have so much to celebrate these days. We’ve got Pikmin Bloom on our mobile phones, encouraging us to get out into nature. Pikmin 4 is arriving on the Nintendo Switch in a few short weeks – and it looks absolutely amazing. And Nintendo dropped a tiny bomb with a massive explosion during their recent Nintendo Direct with the re-release of Pikmin 1 and Pikmin 2, available for the first time on Nintendo Switch. If you never had the chance to experience Pikmin 1 and 2 back when they were originally released on the Nintendo GameCube, or their motion-controlled re-release on Nintendo Wii, then now is your opportunity.

This re-release provides fans with two options; purchasing each game individually, or buying the two in a bundle for a discounted price. For this review, we’re going to focus on the bundle as a whole package – as it is the smarter option since it provides the most bang for your buck.

The Story So Far

In Pikmin 1, you take on the role of Captain Olimar, the captain of a spaceship that crash-lands on Earth. He soon discovers helpful little creatures, Pikmin (lovingly named after his favourite brand of carrot, the Pikpik). He’ll utilize the various Pikmin types to search for the missing parts of his spaceship. He only has 30 days to achieve this task, so the pressure is on! In Pikmin 2, the company that Captain Olimar works for has gone bankrupt. So, he returns to Earth in search for treasure. This time, he brings fellow employee Louie along for the adventure. They yet again enlist the help of the tiny Pikmin to help find treasures.

Pikmin 1 + 2 - Review

Pikmin is a unique take on the real-time strategy genre. In Pikmin 1, you’re solely in control of Captain Olimar. In Pikmin 2, you’ll be able to switch controls between Captain Olimar and Louie, allowing for some added multi-tasking options. Throughout either game, you’ll come across a variety of different types of Pikmin that you will command to do your bidding. In Pikmin 1, you’ll have access to Red Pikmin, who are capable of withstanding fire, Yellow Pikmin, who are capable of withstanding electricity, and Blue Pikmin who are capable of exploring underwater. In Pikmin 2, the roster of Pikmin expands to include the immensely strong Purple Pikmin and the poisonous White Pikmin. As you explore the world, you’ll need to direct specific Pikmin to tackle certain tasks, whether that be attacking enemies, opening new areas, or hauling back ship parts/treasures.

Tick Tock

Time is of the essence. You’ll be up against the clock as you have from morning until night to complete as many tasks as possible. Once night time arrives, you’ll need to ensure all your Pikmin have safely returned to their homes – the Onions. At any one time, you’re allowed a maximum of 100 Pikmin on the field. This restriction will force you to decide which Pikmin you need and which will stay in their Onion – however, you’ll be able to swap out Pikmin quite easily throughout the day. In Pikmin 1, you have 30 in-game days to complete all the tasks.

In Pikmin 2, there is no longer a day restriction. One added element in Pikmin 2 is the inclusion of caves, which are essentially a series of sublevels where time has no effect. You can take as long as you need, but you also won’t gain access to any new Pikmin until you reach the final level and escape.

Pikmin 1 + 2 - Review

Re-Mastered Improvements

Both games have received a much-needed resolution boost, thanks to the added power of the Nintendo Switch. And both games definitely look crisper than they did back on the GameCube and Wii, but that’s about it. While the games have both aged pretty well – there are still some aspects that look a bit ugly. Ground textures appear blurry and stretched. A visual upgrade to meet Pikmin 3, or even Pikmin 4, levels would have been glorious – but this re-release was more about giving folks an opportunity to play the classics as they originally were designed. Both games also have motion control options available – moving the controller will move the in-game cursor when you’re directing Pikmin. However, this is optional and not something I bothered utilizing. The classic way of playing is still the best and the Switch Pro controller handles everything just fine.

Re-Mastered Misses

Unfortunately, because these games are essentially presented as is, some of the flaws that were originally present still persist. In Pikmin 1, it was incredibly difficult to move large swarms of Pikmin across distances without having some Pikmin get stuck against various objects, falling into water, or other hazards. This would mean a lot of annoying backtracking to pick up stragglers, or worse, losing some much-needed Pikmin. There were some minor improvements to this in Pikmin 2, namely due to the improved level designs, but it was still not without its challenges. For example, in Pikmin 2, Purple and White Pikmin were difficult to come by and the sublevel caves often presented a huge difficulty spike.

Both games have had some content stripped from them – likely due to licensing issues. In Pikmin 1, the songs “Ai No Uta” and “Tane No Uta” are not included. In Pikmin 2, some treasures have been modified to lose some of their branding. Neither of these omissions will impact the games in any way.

Pikmin 1 + 2 - Review

Pikmin is Must Play Gaming

The Pikmin franchise is a great example of Nintendo stretching its legs beyond Mario, Zelda & Kirby. It’s a unique style of game that has rarely been duplicated – though the recently released Tinykin game is a bold attempt. Pikmin 1 is a brilliantly designed game. A relatively simple concept which forces gamers to truly flex their mental muscles at times. Pikmin 2 expands on what makes Pikmin 1 so brilliant with some added elements, but the addition of the sublevel caves is a bit of a point of contention for some. Both games are worth a playthrough.

My only real disappointment was that more effort wasn’t put into sprucing up the visuals and tweaking the gameplay to iron out some of the minor frustrations from the original releases. Once you’ve experienced Pikmin 1 + 2, I highly recommend giving Pikmin 3 Deluxe a playthrough, which is also available on the Nintendo Switch. And thankfully, we’re not far off from Pikmin 4, which judging by the demo will exceed all expectations.

***Pikmin 1 + 2 key provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Opportunity to experience these games on the Switch
  • Higher resolution versions, crisper visuals

The Bad

  • Some minor issues from original games still present
  • More graphical enhancements would have been nice