By we, I mean me, and by played I mean… played. A few days ago, Nintendo dropped a demo for Pikmin 3 Deluxe, with the full game available for pre-order. Since I somehow managed to find a Switch during this pandemic and beat the four games I had purchased for it, I decided to try out the demo. So, let’s talk about it.
First off, I want to preface that I did not grow up with Pikmin. I owned a Gamecube and played it religiously, and I’ve always been a Nintendo fan, but I didn’t start whistling at these cute plant creatures until my junior year of college, where I played on my roommate’s gamecube (who’s actually a writer for stropse.)
All this is to say I was going into this somewhat blind, barely scraping the surface of a franchise so beloved. Not only were they Gamecube Best-Seller editions, but ones that Nintendo decided to continue after an almost decade-long hiatus. Pikmin 3 was released on the Wii U in 2013; Pikmin 2 on the Gamecube in 2004.
Enough background. Let’s get into the demo, and there are some spoilers ahead, but the original game was released seven years ago, so that’s kind of on you.
Pikmin 3 uses familiar gameplay from the first two games, with new elements. The mechanics are similar, whistling gather Pikmin, finding collectables to increase their numbers, and using different types of Pikmin for combat and puzzle solving. However, gone are the days where the protagonist is arguably the worst character in Smash (Olimar). You now command three characters, Alph, Brittany, and Captain Charlie, who crash land on the Pikmin’s home planet of PNF-404 after their ship, the S.S. Drake, malfunctions in the atmosphere. It’s up to you to reunite the crew, find the materials to return home, and collect enough food to survive your journey.
It’s a simple concept, heavily borrowing from the first two games of the franchise, and it continues to work. The demo only allows you to play up until the first boss, which if you don’t make any mistakes or run out of time should only take you three in-game days. This gives players more than enough time to familiarize themselves with the game mechanics and get acquainted with at least the story’s exposition.
In my playthrough, again having barely touched the franchise before, I managed to complete the demo within the “three day” time span, and I had a lot of fun doing it. There’s something satisfying about sneaking up behind a large enemy only to throw a barrage of Pikmin at it, taking it out in less than three seconds. The puzzle solving, while simple, is still a blast, making use of different Pikmin while also allowing the player to get used to the adapted Switch controls.
The game also continues with the franchise’s humor and charm. I found that each title leaned into the fact the characters are truly on a new planet, with technology and items they’ve never seen before, but we definitely have. For example, in the demo you find a lemon and take it back to the ship in order to squeeze the juice out of it for a day’s rations. However, the game doesn’t call it a lemon: it calls it a “Face Wrinkler.”
The original game included mission modes, which are available in the demo and, by extension, the Deluxe Version of the game. The mission mode contains three modes within it: Collect Treasures, in which players have a select time to gather items with Pikmin; Battle Enemies, where players must defeat enemies as quickly as possible; and Defeat Bosses, where you can replay boss fights after you’ve beaten them in Story Mode. Only the first of these is available to play in the demo, and it’s fun, but I wouldn’t say it’s my highlight.
All in all, it’s a fun title that offers everything a demo should offer. It allows players to get a feel of the game while not giving away everything. It’s a fun treat, and I’m excited for its official release later this month, on October 30.