Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pikmin for the GameCube




Let’s be honest about Nintendo. It has been awhile since they have come up with a new franchise. Yeah, they still have Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, but why not make a new franchise that we can all know and love? What about Wave Race or something like that? Good news though, they have come up with a new franchise that seems to be pretty popular. This new series is called Pikmin for the Gamecube. So, is this new series worth looking at? Or is it really time for Nintendo to stick with Mario? Let’s find out.

The basic story is that a space deliveryman named Olimar accidentally gets hit by a meteor and crash-lands onto a mysterious planet. He then wakes up, and finds out pieces of his space ship are scattered across the land. He only has enough air for 30 days, and he needs to get the pieces back. He then finds these mysterious little creatures known as Pikmin, and finds out they can really be useful. So, it is up to Olimar with the help of the Pikmin to get the pieces of his ship back before he runs out of air.

The game play is of an adventure strategy game, kind of like the new Overlord series. Well, I shouldn’t say that since this game was way before the Overlord series, which is for another time. You play as Olimar as you control an army of little Pikmin, traversing huge areas to find items to repair your ship, get more Pikmin, and etc. You get three different Pikmin at your command. You’ve got red Pikmin, which can withstand fire, yellow Pikmin that can pick up projectiles to throw at enemies, and of course, the blue Pikmin that can swim through water. Sadly, you will basically be using the red Pikmin more than the others, but that’s what it was like for me. The game play is very similar in a way to a real-time strategy game, since you control a small army of Pikmin.

The graphics in this game are very impressive. The Pikmin series seems to have some of the best-looking graphics on a Nintendo console. Everything is just beautiful to look at. I will go as far as to say they look almost as good as Resident Evil 4’s graphics. The music is also a major highlight of the game. It’s just wonderful to listen to, and it’s catchy. The enemy variety is also big and it’s fun to see what is trying to kill you next. The difficulty is kind of in the middle to varied. Some areas are going to be stupid easy, but some areas can be a little more difficult since Olimar himself is very weak and relies on the Pikmin to do anything. The game just has an undeniable charm that just pulls you in and keeps you playing.

Even though this is a great game, there are some things that make it not as good as the sequel in the next review. The first part is that you are under pressure, since every day lasts about 25 minutes, and it forces you to choose every move wisely and not to dilly-dally. I think this game is on the difficult side, but it is beatable. I wish I could explore more, instead of not having the 30-day limit at all, since I would like to see everything in the levels. The final thing I have against this game is that only one kind of Pikmin can swim, and if you bring the two other kinds with you they just drown and die, which can be funny at first, but then it gets annoying since if you are low on Pikmin, you will end up using more time getting more Pikmin.

All and all, this is a wonderful game, and there are a lot of things going for it. I would say to buy this one if you are into a challenge, but to be honest, I would rent it since I think its sequel is a lot better. I’m not saying this is a bad game; just it shouldn’t be this tedious from time to time. So yeah, go check it out.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

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