In 2001 Nintendo would release the first game in one of their most unique franchises Pikmin.
While the series may not be as celebrated as other IP’s Pikmin is notable for how unique of a game it is, and this week I will take a look back at this GameCube classic and discuss what makes it special.
Pikmin revolves around Captain Olimar, who while traveling through space is struck by a meteorite and crash lands on a strange planet that resembles Earth. Upon waking from his crash he finds his beloved S.S Dolphin badly damaged and missing 30 parts, and to make matters worse Olimar only has 30 Days to find them before his life support system fails.
Thankfully in the area, Olimar crashed in he discovers strange plant-like creatures that he calls Pikmin, and after growing enough of them he is able to recover his main engine and life off into space. Now Olimar must use the Pikmin to collect the rest of the ship parts before the end of day 30.
While Olimar is a silent protagonist in this game, his notes give players a great glimpse into his personality and life, and at times you can really empathize with him. While this is a fairly simple story the way it is told is really admirable.
Pikmin’s gameplay revolves around using the Pikmin to do a number of tasks from collecting items, opening paths, and fighting wildlife. There are three types of Pikmin in this game each with their own abilities
- Red Pikmin are resistant to fire and stronger than the other types.
- Yellow Pikmin can use Bombs on enemies and walls and are able to reach higher places than the other types.
- And Blue Pikmin are able to survive in water as well as rescue drowning Pikmin.
One aspect of the game that makes it stand out from other RTS games is that Olimar is the main character that controls what the Pikmin do rather than it being a godlike being. This makes things interesting as not only can the Pikmin die, but Olimar can be downed if the player is careless resulting in the day to end early.
While Pikmin isn’t a very long game, it is one of those games where playthroughs can really vary in length, and there are multiple endings that can be obtained depending on how many parts are obtained within a playthrough.
It is also worth noting that despite the 30-day time limit, with enough practice the game can be beaten in significantly less time. Speedrunners, in particular, are able to finish the game within only 6 days, and in the end, their total playtime is under an hour. So while it can be a very short game, it can also be a very replayable game.
Overall Pikmin is a game that I feel really stands out thanks to it’s simple yet captivating story, unique take on the RTS genre, and easily replayable campaign. While later entries do improve on what this entry started, I still recommend trying the game for yourself if you can.
Thanks for reading and game on.