Pikmin 3 - Lessons Learned
Pikmin, those Skittle colored creatures, are likely making a comeback for the Wii. I welcome the return; Pikmin was my favorite single player Gamecube game. However, if the trend between Pikmin 1 and 2 continues, Pikmin 3 will not have as good of a storyline as the first did.
Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Pikmin, Mario, and The Legend of Zelda, agreed with Nintendo Power that Pikmin is “not too short, not too long.” I feel that this description of the first Pikmin is accurate, yet Pikmin 2 seemed to forget this foundational idea and stretched out the game. The lack of a day limit caused me to feel too relaxed with the game, as I didn't have to economize my time. This removal also took the hurried atmosphere away from the game.
The first Pikmin also had an atmosphere of isolation that the second lacked. Obviously, the introduction of a partner is partly responsible, but the daily letters and even the environments of the levels helped with the feeling of isolation of Pikmin. To elaborate, the levels in Pikmin altogether seemed darker and contained more fog. Only the caves brought a similar atmosphere into Pikmin 2, yet you always knew that you could return to the surface and build another army to bring down later. This isolation (and the previous hurried atmosphere) kept me playing; I wanted to see Olimar rescued.
Olimar, in Pikmin, was an “everyman”. In Pikmin 2, he is transformed into a preternatural scientist with Louie as the comedic foil. This allows players to distance themselves from these characters, unless someone feels themselves as experimental a cook Louie seems to be, or as methodical about their explanations as Olimar is changed into.
Yet, I must say that the gameplay did improve from Pikmin to Pikmin 2. The introduction of electricity and more extensive use of poison does add to the atmosphere. The changed system of items to collect makes the game more interesting as well as more challenging, yet they removed most of that challenge with the removal of a time limit. Also, I like the items themselves, and the fact that they virtually guarantee the hypothesis that the Planet of the Pikmin is Earth.