Pikmin 4’s streamlined gameplay gives the series a fresh start | Digital Trends

With Immortals of Aveum getting a last second delay, it belongs in July Pikmin 4. Nintendo’s next big exclusive for the Switch looks to bring one of the company’s quirkiest franchises to a console that has worked wonders for quirky GameCube contemporaries like Animal Crossing. It could be the fourth installment in the series, but there’s a good chance it will serve as an entry point for a fair number of Switch owners.

Pikmin 4 – Nintendo Direct 6.21.2023

That puts the sequel in a tough spot considering it’s always been one of Nintendo’s more complex properties. Despite the cute visuals and bubbly voices, it’s still a real-time strategy game that requires a lot of multitasking. How to make this formula a little easier for new players to understand without interfering with what makes the series special? Based on what I’ve played, Pikmin 4has many clever answers to this problem.

After last weeks Nintendo Direct, I gave it a try Pikmin 4, playing an hour of its single-player mode and a few rounds of its multiplayer Dandori battles. In that short slice, I’m already finding a visually pleasing return to the series that’s been streamlined in some welcome ways. That should plant the seed for a more family-friendly installment that newcomers of all ages can dig into.

Changes in quality of life

My demo would start shortly after the full games tutorial was introduced. I’m already in control of a bite-sized astronaut, have a ship full of red Pikmin, and my dog ​​companion, Oatchi, is happily bouncing alongside me. My main goal is to find Captain Olimar, although my first task will be to rescue a few more lost astronauts scattered around the first explorable area, Sun-Speckled Terrace.

That’s where I have a strong sense of Pikmin 4There’s S’s new art style, which looks a bit brighter and more cartoonish than previous games. The first three Pikmin games play with more realistic natural settings, with environments often painted in green and brown. That’s still there, but there’s a little more fantasy in the world. Sun-Speckled Terrace essentially looks like it’s been pulled out Honey, I shrunk the kids, turning a bustling suburban backyard into a playground. It’s a subtle tonal shift that may not appeal to longtime fans who enjoy the quirky weirdness of the original. Instead, this version brings the visual style of the Pikmin more in line with franchises like Mario or Yoshi.


That move feels like a way to make Pikmin more familiar to new players, and it’s something I notice immediately when I learn about its controls. Pikmin’s direction is much easier than in previous games, as I don’t have to manually move along a line to direct my friends. Instead, pressing the right trigger brings up a straight red line that snaps easily to interactable objects. Within seconds, I’m directing my army of red Pikmin to take down tiny enemies and bring items back to my ship faster than ever before.

It remains pretty easy even after I start making new friends. It’s not long before he encounters one of the game’s two new creature types: Ice Pikmin. These helpful creatures can freeze enemies by attacking them (they also freeze an enemy if eaten), giving me the ability to send more powerful Pikmin to attack safely. Not long after, I discover yellow Pikmin, which can resist electricity. With a quick tap of the Joy-Cons’ right bumper, I can select the type of Pikmin I want to command and start throwing. This, combined with the snappy pace, makes multitasking and having multiple mini-teams doing multiple tasks at once much easier. In an underground section, a group of yellow Pikmin knocked down an electrical wall while some red ones were clearing a fiery path on the other side. It all feels a bit smoother overall, although I do miss the ability to have my Pikmin arch with the intent of getting them up a high ledge.

There also appears to be a way to map specific Pikmin commands to the d-pad, according to a tooltip I saw during the demo, although I haven’t been able to test it. What I do know is that there is a command menu in the game that allows players to use specific tools or order Oatchi to collect a scent. I assume they can be quickly mapped to those buttons, which should make performing actions even easier. There is also a rewind time option, which will allow players to absolve their sins after accidentally drowning 30 Pikmin.


Other quality of life improvements relate to materials. In previous games, Pikmin built bridges and other structures by scavenging nearby materials and transporting them. Here, those materials are scattered throughout the environments and can be brought back to the ship and stored there permanently. If I direct my creatures to build a bridge, they will automatically grab all the clay I have stored in the ship and start building. To make it even easier, I can quickly move my ship at any time by setting up camp in multiple locations set around a map. All of this makes some of the series’ basic gameplay flows much easier to execute.

Aside from the crafting materials, I found all the usual Pikmin products scattered around the world, from fruit to trinkets. The hook of the progression is that each item brought back to the ship grants players some sort of universal material, and getting enough of them unlocks the next area. There are more specific missions within each area, but that simple gameplay loop made perfect sense by the end of my hour-long demo. It’s less about searching for specific items and more about optimizing your time as much as possible to get the most out of a day.

New features

Though the whole cycle is familiar, Pikmin 4 introduces some very new ideas to the series that shake up the established formula. For one, there’s Oatchi. The yellow dog serves as a versatile companion that can help dig up treasure, carry items, or break large objects with ease. I can select and steer it like a Pikmin, as well as command it to lunge forward by holding down the X button. you can’t pet the dog).

At the end of my demo, I learned that Oaki can be upgraded, which is where Pikmin 4 it becomes really different. After rescuing a few astronauts, I’d unlock a handful of progression tools and hooks. First, I can upgrade Oatchi’s stats to make him more effective at certain tasks. For example, I spent some currency to upgrade its buff stats, making it easier to break items. Also, another NPC would set up a shop that would stock new gear from time to time, including a drone that let me scout areas. Both are small, but nice touches that seem to keep the basic strategy hook changing a bit all the time.


As Pikmin 2 AND 3, even the underground areas mix things up. During my adventure, I find two different mini-dungeons full of additional treasures. These are smaller, bite-sized challenges that will test my knowledge of every type of Pikmin if I’m going to take every treasure from them. In a fire-themed area, I have to use my red Pikmin to create navigable paths over magma and throw yellow Pikmin to grab overhead objects only they can reach. Also notable is that these areas contain multiple sub-layers, going back to the formula used in Pikmin 2.

The only thing I didn’t get a chance to see was Pikmin 4s new night sections, which were shown during the June Nintendo Direct. All we know so far is that they contain a new green glow Pikmin that is exclusive to those sections and works like a tower defense game. It feels like another clever change of pace that will diversify what players do throughout the story, but I’ll have to wait and see how it fits in.

Battles of Dandori

The last piece of the puzzle is Pikmin 4multiplayer component of s. There is some form of co-op available in the main game, but there is also a surprisingly fun competitive mode. Dandori battles put two players in a small arena full of treasures to collect and enemies to fight. The idea is that two people compete to collect the most things in minutes and may try to sabotage each other along the way.

It’s a mode that becomes surprisingly competitive. If I see my opponent trying to drag a huge orange onto his ship, I can try to steal it from him by commanding my Pikmin to take it instead. Is my limited resources worth it or is it smarter to split up my team and take other smaller items on the battlefield? These are the on-the-fly decisions I have to make during battles, which makes for a fun resource management test.

It seems that Dandori’s battles draw inspiration Mario Kart also, as players can grab different items that mess with their opponent. I could rain meteors on my enemy or teleport them to another section of the arena. Bombs will also appear on the map from time to time, and I can command my Pikmin to pick one up and drag it onto my opponent’s ship. I usually judge a multiplayer game like this by how much I feel compelled to rant, and I’m sure the Nintendo rep I played against will confirm that he turned me into an arrogant monster just the way I like it.


While fans of the GameCube originals might find the new installment a bit too streamlined at the expense of more precise strategic gameplay, Pikmin 4 seems like a clever way to retool the series for newcomers. It’s easier to control, there’s less pressure during missions, and there’s a more diverse range of content included. During an introduction before the demo, a rep told the press to ignore the 4 in the game’s title. Nintendo wants people to see this as a fresh start for the series that anyone can jump into. Based on what I’ve played, it seems Pikmin 4 it will accomplish exactly that, even if it won’t propel the series to sudden stardom.

Pikmin 4 will launch on July 21 for Nintendo Switch. A free demo will be available in the Nintendo Switch eShop on Wednesday 28 June.

Editor’s Recommendations

#Pikmin #streamlined #gameplay #series #fresh #start #Digital #Trends
Image Source : www.digitaltrends.com

Leave a Comment