|Yeah, it's still boxart. I'll do another picture of me soon(ish)...|
Released on: Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo Wii
Played on: Nintendo WiiU (utilising the backwards compatibility - haven't got that have you PS4 or Xbox One!)
Release date: 2001
Like Pokemon, Pikmin was a franchise I missed out on when it started. Not out of any particular reason, just that it didn't appeal to me particularly, so I never got into it. And then I met my wonderful wife, and quickly realised quite how much she loves this franchise (not as much as Kingdom Hearts, but close) - this is proven by the blue pikmin (named Roger, obviously) who lives in our car...
But I digress. (Actually, that's not really digression, because I was still talking about Pikmin. Now I'm digressing though, by talking about the fact that I wasn't really digressing....*enters recurisve loop*)
Anyway. So, what's Pikmin about?
Well basically you are Captain Olimar, a podgy, confused little man who crash-lands on a planet when his spaceship is hit by a rock. And then you discover a lot of small plant-like creatures called Pikmin, who (luckily) are happy for you to use them as labour/an army in order to traverse the dangerous surface of the planet and obtain the parts of your spaceship.
Basically, it's a RTS game (real-time strategy) disguised as a cute kids game. You send your army of pikmin to attack/destroy/build/carry things, and you run around independently, making sure that none of them are killed by any of the dangers around!
Sounds fun, right? Well it is. I'll tell you that right off the bat. Pikmin is fun. And it's got some really nifty design ideas. The most stand-out one to me is the time limit. You see, Olimar can only survive on this planet with it's "poisonous oxygen" for thirty days. And there are (conveniently) thirty parts of the ship to find. So that's right, you have to find one every in-game day. And considering each in-game day lasts about 20 minutes (I think, I didn't time them!) then all of a sudden there is a pressure to get things done!
(Various people have told me that the time limit makes re-playing the game once you've completed it less fun - but I don't know, I only played it for an hour!)
Also, I actually had the choice of playing the Gamecube original or the Wii re-release, and was advised by Neety that the Wii controls are actually an improvement, and they certainly came naturally to me!
Now I'm not normally a strategy gamer type of guy, and I expected to be vaguely entertained, but not enthralled by Pikmin, but do you know what? One key decision Nintendo made when creating this franchise became the killer moment for me. The Pikmin are so cute, that when they die due to you launching them at an enemy they can't defeat, or by accidentally letting them drown, or any of the other numerous ways you can inflict death on the poor 'min, a little ghost rises up from them - and you feel guilty!
Seriously Nintendo, I'm a 33 year old man, I shouldn't care about the lives of tiny little animal/plants who are just in a video game - NO WAIT! GET AWAY FROM THAT LAKE! STOP WALKING THAT WAY YOU STUPID.... Oh crap.
You get the idea.
So you try really hard to get it all right for the little buggers, and before long you are hooked.
"Another glowing Nintendo review" I hear you all sigh, "Seriously Brawny, you are so predictable.."
Well my responses to that are twofold. Firstly... *blows raspberry*.
Secondly, there are some things I didn't like about the game - it was maybe a little too calm and sedentary for me (although that might just be the opening levels) and I find the fact that you have to use tactics confusing (but again, that's probably just me. I like games where I mash the A button until enemies are lying on the floor with limbs all askew.... wow, that sounded violent!)
And that, in essence, is my review in a nutshell. It's a very good game - but it's unlikely to ever become a must play for me, as (like RPGs), the gameplay style is not one that enthralls me.
I'll play it a bit more though - just to make sure the Pikmin all get home OK....
*Turns back to TV and ignores world...*
Time played: 1 hour
Would I play it again? Yes - on and off.
Next time on Brawny's great playthrough - it's a console we haven't done before.. and no, it's no the WiiU! (Not yet anyway, although I am in the midst of writing a WiiU specific blog post too!)