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Game Profile
GENRE: Strategy
PLAYERS:   1-2
August 30, 2004
Pikmin 3

New Play Control! Pikmin


 Written by Jeff Milligan  on May 16, 2003

First Impressions: Are they plants? Animals? Fungi? Who cares, they're good at carrying back treasure!

One of the GameCube's earliest promising games, Pikmin delivered a fun and strategic gameplay system for all ages. With tough yet amusing puzzles, giant bosses and enemies, and of course the adorable plant-like creatures themselves, Pikmin had something for everyone to enjoy. The one thing that was disappointing was the 30 day time limit, a factor which was well conceived, but executed poorly. The lack of any kind of multiplayer mode also disappointed some. Now almost 2 years later, the widely anticipated sequel is almost upon us. Has Miyamoto and co. learned from past mistakes, or is Pikmin 2 doomed to the same fate? Read on and find out.

The star of the original game (besides the Pikmin themselves, of course) Captain Olimar, is back once again. This time around however, it's strictly business. Olimar's business is in debt a whopping 10,000 Poko's, and Olimar is the only one who knows how to scrounge up that kind of dough. Returning to the Pikmin infested planet, Olimar must call upon his chlorophyllian friends to help him round up all of the treasures scattered around the planet. Basically, finding the treasure will be the same deal as salvaging the ship parts in the first game. Find something, have your Pikmin carry it back to the ship, rinse and repeat.

Captain Olimar isn't going to be alone this time around. He's brought his faithful sidekick and assistant Loojie along for the ride. Together, they will have to utilize the different shades of Pikmin like never before. Speaking of different shades of Pikmin, 2 new colors have begun to sprout on the planet, white and purple. What talents these Pikmin will posses is still unclear, but you can bet that with 5 types of Pikmin, puzzles are going to be more challenging than ever.

From what screenshots have been released thus far, it appears that the daytime clock indicator will be a factor in Pikmin 2. However, Nintendo has made it known that there will be no time limit to gather all the items in. Great news indeed, as players can now take in the scenery and enemies at their own pace.

Nintendo has also made it clear that Pikmin 2 will be a multiplayer game. The main quest will still be single player, however a new 2-player, split-screen mode will be available. While details of exactly what this will involve are still cloudy, we do know that it will be a co-operative multiplayer experience.

Even more new updates include random underground dungeons, over 50 total enemies, tons of collectable items, and new locations. Yummy.
Captain Olimar, the spaceman protagonist of the first Pikmin, is back at home, sweet home. After having crashed his ship into the Pikmin's planet, discovering and commanding these things to help him fix his ship, and returning to his normal life, Olimar's business has gone sour. Losing money and his ship, Olimar decides it's time to trek to the surface of the previous Pikmin world in order to harvest the planet's hidden gems. With the help of a partner this time, Louie, the two reach the planet, only in another failed landing effort to find that they are separated. It'll be up to Olimar once again to nurture the skills of those more-than-willing Pikmin, along with his assistant Louie, to find and bring back home the treasures that'll await them within.

While an interesting game to play, Pikmin was flawed in such a way that made it a lot less fun that it really should have been. This was due to the title's rules for completion. You had 30 days in all, count them 30 days to play Pikmin. But, in game land, one day only counted for about fifteen whole minutes. This restricted players, forcing them to rush through the open world of Pikmin. If you're someone like me who despised these unwanted limits, you're in luck. Nintendo is removing that nasty, 30-day span to allow Pikmin 2 to be completed at your own pace. Those day and night slots will still be around, but without the worry of how many days long you'll actually need to complete each and every given task.

Same as before, Pikmin 2 counts on exploration of an unspoken planet with the aid of the Pikmin inhabitants. Collecting the multicolored Pikmin of yellow, blue, and red colors are getting two new shades this time: purple and white. Purple is for "PP," or Power-hungry Pikmin as I'm calling them. They're basically to be Pikmin scaled to a rotund size that with the bigness in them, add ten times the strength of a normal Pikmin. Just like in the first game, you'll strategically require a certain number of Pikmin to complete certain objectives -- be it to carry things like parts back to the ship, to access obstacles, or to beat insect enemies to a pulp. Say it took ten regular Pikmin to heave one object in the past. Now, just one PP will get the same job done all on its own. White Pikmin, on the other hand, is to be a breed of Pikmin both resistant and infectious from poison. Venomous traps (like smoke ventilated from out of jets) won't hurt these little guys, and enemies immune to toxins will be diseased from chewing down on them. It's also that white Pikmin's red eyes will serve as treasure seekers, able to spot unseen objects within the ground.

Speaking of treasure seeking, Captain Olimar's new teammate Louie will also be along for the ride. Either Olimar or Louie can take the lead in the game, guiding Pikmin to cooperate with the orders you've provided, or both protagonists can be operated simultaneously. There'll be times when each of these gameplay occurrences will figure their way into the game's strategic turns. What's interesting about this team togetherness though, is that if for example Olimar is the one you're controlling at the moment, Louie will be right behind you, acting on his own. If Olimar's spawning more Pikmin with his spaceship (a.k.a. the Pikmin regenerator) then Louie will be doing the same exact thing, creating a faster and more sufficient order of operations.

Not the most graphically impressive game now or back then, Pikmin wasn't made to set standards or anything -- it was made to have a good time with. But for those graphic-nuts anyway, Nintendo's been doing a little remodeling since that time to show off a new Pikmin that's not going to be a hundred times better than its previous offering, but instead just somewhat improved. More differential terrain set in aqua-surrounded areas, snow and forest fields will give the game some more flavor over the older release. Tinier, subtle touches like mirrored reflections, particle effects, and environmental differences -- from snowflakes to leaves dropping in the distance -- should all be able to integrate a closer sense of realism into the game's outline.

Final Thoughts
The way we see it, Pikmin 2 is basically taking Pikmin, throwing in 2 new colors of critters, adding more items, enemies, puzzles, and a new multiplayer mode, then taking away the restricted time limit. Just in case you don't get the picture, we're pretty excited. Pikmin 2 has no official release date for Japan, nor the US, but it will arrive in 2003 for both countries. E3 is upon us, and Pikmin 2 is surely to be a hot commodity at the show, so be sure to check back for future updates.

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