Packaging artwork released for all territories
|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD Group No. 4
|Release date(s)||JP July 13, 2013
EU July 26, 2013
AUS July 27, 2013
NA August 4, 2013[a]
Pikmin 3 (Japanese: ピクミン3 Hepburn: Pikumin Surī?) is a real-time strategy video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii U video game console. It is the sequel to Pikmin 2 (2004) and was first released in Japan on July 13, 2013 and then in all other regions the following month. Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto first announced Pikmin 3 on July 16, 2008 as a game for the Wii console, later stating at E3 2011 that its development had transitioned to Wii U. Pikmin 3 retains the gameplay elements introduced in previous Pikmin games and adds new features, including new playable characters and Pikmin types, Off-TV Play, and downloadable content.
In the single-player campaign, the player controls three alien captains who explore the surface of a planet known as "PNF-404" in search of cultivable fruit seeds to save their home planet, Koppai, from famine. They meet and befriend the Pikmin, who assist them.
Pikmin 3 expands on the gameplay of the first Pikmin title, in which the player commands a horde of up to 100 plant-like creatures called Pikmin and uses their unique abilities to explore the in-game world and uncover treasures within it. Pikmin can be directed to accomplish various tasks, such as building bridges, destroying barriers, collecting spoils, and defeating enemies. The Pikmin themselves come in various colors and different physical features that signify their special abilities or immunities to hazards. For example, Red Pikmin are immune to fire, Yellow Pikmin are immune to electricity and Blue Pikmin can swim in water without drowning.
Alongside the returning red, yellow and blue Pikmin from previous Pikmin games, Pikmin 3 introduces two new Pikmin types: grey-colored Rock Pikmin, which can destroy tough barriers such as glass, crystals, enemy armor, and are immune to being crushed by heavy objects, and pink-colored Winged Pikmin which can attack airborne enemies, carry items through the air, and lift gates.
The player controls up to three different leaders of the Pikmin, compared to its predecessor Pikmin 2 in which only two leaders were available. Players can instantly switch between these groups in order to accomplish tasks more quickly or solve certain puzzles.
Pikmin 3 originally offered three control schemes: the Wii U GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller or Wii Remote (Plus) with the Nunchuk accessory. In all cases the Wii U GamePad gives the player an overhead map of the game environment, visible on its touch screen. An update, made available on 30 May 2014, allowed for stylus control on the GamePad. The GamePad is used to access the similar-looking "KopPad" in the game, which is used to view the map and other statistics, and for communication with the other squad members. The KopPad also allows players to trace paths on the map, which the in-game characters will automatically begin to follow, and take HD pictures of the surrounding environments, which can then be uploaded to Miiverse.
Aside from a full single-player campaign, the game features split-screen, competitive, two-player multiplayer in a mode called "Bingo Battle". In this mode each player has a 4 by 4 grid of items to collect, and must compete to get four-in-a-row on their board. The game also features "Mission Mode": a cooperative multiplayer experience where the players are presented with a task based on Pikmin fundamentals, which must be completed in a limited amount of time. There are three trials present within Mission Mode: Collect Treasure, where the players must collect all the fruit and enemies on the map using a set amount of Pikmin before time runs out, Battle Enemies, where the players must kill all the enemies on the map as quickly as possible, and Defeat Bosses, which allows the players to re-encounter the boss creatures from Story Mode.
Pikmin 3 is set on the surface of the planet "PNF-404", which is the setting in previous Pikmin games. Five different areas on PNF-404 are accessible for the player to explore, each with diverse topography.
The game opens with a narrator explaining that the inhabitants of the planet Koppai are suffering from famine. After scouting multiple planets, PNF-404 returns positive with abundance of cultivable food. Three Koppaite explorers, Alph, Brittany, and Charlie, are sent to explore and retrieve food sources from PNF-404. As they approach the planet, their ship, the SS Drake, malfunctions and crash-lands, separating the three of them in the process. Alph awakens on the planet's surface and meets the Pikmin creatures, who help recover the SS Drake. Alph discovers that the "cosmic drive key", an item needed to travel back to Koppai, is missing. Alph reunites with Brittany and Charlie, finding more Pikmin colors in the process. The explorers use the Pikmin to help retrieve fruit to use as food supply during the journey and harvest the seeds. The SS Drake and the Pikmin Onion ascend into low orbit each evening to avoid the nocturnal creatures.
Throughout the game the explorers recover data files left by Captain Olimar, the protagonist from the first two Pikmin games, and suspect that he is in possession of the cosmic drive key, and explore in pursuit of him. They encounter and rescue Louie, Olimar's partner, from a monstrous creature, believing him to be Olimar. Shortly afterward Louie steals all their food supplies and escapes, leading them to track him down, rescue him again and recover all their food. They restrain and interrogate Louie, learning that Olimar and the cosmic drive key are in a region known as the "Formidable Oak." The explorers and the Pikmin land at the Formidable Oak and find that Olimar has been captured by a mysterious lifeform known as the Plasm Wraith. The explorers and the Pikmin attack the Plasm Wraith, rescue Olimar, and recover the cosmic drive key. With Louie being mysteriously absent, they transport Olimar back to his home planet Hocotate, and then fly back to Koppai with the harvested seeds, leaving the Pikmin behind on PNF-404.
The narrator then speaks over the game's epilogue, which varies based on the number of fruit the player retrieved during the game. If the player collects a minimum amount of fruit, the narrator states the explorers feel "unease" over the possibility the seeds collected will not be enough to save Koppai. In the case where the player collects a respectable amount of fruit, it is stated that careful planning will be required to save Koppai. If the player collects all the fruit, the narrator states the three have successfully completed their mission and life on Koppai will be restored. The narrator then adds that the cause of the SS Drake's crash-landing is unknown and suggests that it may not have been accidental.
In a post-credits scene, a flaming object is seen crashing onto the surface of PNF-404 as the Pikmin look on. Depending on the game's ending, the game's final log entry by Alph states that Louie was somehow accidentally left behind on the planet, although Alph states little concern, claiming that Louie's behavior and ability to eat anything should keep him alive.
Shigeru Miyamoto first hinted about the possibilities of a new Pikmin game in a July 2007 interview with IGN, saying "I certainly don't think we've seen the last of Pikmin. I definitely would like to do something with them, and I think the Wii interface in particular is very well suited to that franchise." A later CNET.com interview in April 2008 reported that "For now, Miyamoto looks ahead to other projects for the Wii, mentioning his desire to continue the Pikmin series."
A new Pikmin game was eventually confirmed at E3 2008 during Nintendo's developer roundtable, in which Miyamoto stated that his team were working on a new entry in the series. However, details concerning gameplay and development were left unmentioned. At Miyamoto's roundtable discussion at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011, Miyamoto stated that Pikmin 3 development was moved to Wii U, the Wii successor. He felt that the HD graphics for the next system and its special screen-based controller would work better for it.
On June 5, 2012, Pikmin 3 was shown at Nintendo's press conference at E3. It demonstrated some of the new gameplay aspects including the new rock Pikmin and the GamePad controls. It was said that it would be released around the same time as the Wii U, but its release was later delayed until mid-2013. When questioned about the presence or absence of the purple and white Pikmin types featured in the second game, Miyamoto stated that "They're in there somewhere, just hidden...". A video released from Nintendo Direct confirmed that they would in fact be in the game, but only in the game's Mission Mode and Bingo Battle.
In a Polygon interview, Miyamoto stated that he plans to have a series of animated Pikmin shorts released on the Nintendo 3DS prior to Pikmin 3's launch. While the shorts went unheard of for months after the game's initial release, they were eventually brought back up again by Miyamoto a year later, and eventually were announced to be released on November 5th, 2014 on the Nintendo Eshop for $4.99.
Collect Treasure stage pack DLC was released on October 1, 2013. It adds four missions to the mission mode. Also releasing with the DLC, was the free 1.2.0 update. Battle Enemies stage pack DLC was released November 6, 2013. It adds four missions to the mission mode. Also releasing with the DLC, was the free 1.3.0 update.
A third DLC pack of completely new stages (rather than remixes of old stages as in previous DLC) was released on December 2, 2013. Four new "Collect Treasure" and four new "Battle Enemies" stages have been announced. Update 1.4.0 released at the same time adds one free "Collect Treasure" and one free "Battle Enemies" mission as well.
The game received very positive reviews; most reviewers praised its well thought-out levels, high-quality graphics and gameplay. The Japanese video game magazine Famitsū scored the game 37/40, with four reviewers awarding three 9s and one perfect 10. The Sunday Times gave it 5 out of 5 stars. IGN scored the game 8.8/10, praising its design but also stating that it was too short. ITF Gaming gave it a 9/10 for its lush, well-crafted environments. Superealmedia gave "Pikmin 3" a Grade A praising the graphics and the controls. Ben Croshaw of The Escapist gave similar praise, notably of the game's incentive for the player to be urgent, but critiqued the Wii U itself for not utilizing the touch screen as a means of individually selecting targets.
In Japan, Pikmin 3 was the best selling game during its launch week, selling around 93,000 copies in two days and helping to move 22,200 Wii U systems. In the UK, the game debuted at number 2 in the all-formats chart, behind the retail version of Minecraft for Xbox 360. In the US, the game was the best selling game on its debut week, and according to the NPD Group, it sold 115,000 units in its first month, entering the all-formats chart at number 10. According to a later report, the game has sold around 210,000 units in the US as of December 31, 2013.
- Pre-ordered digital release available August 3, 2013
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Narrator: And so the intrepid explorers successfully complete their mission! [...] Under their guidance, the seeds they've recovered will be used to kick off a sustainable cycle of cultivation and harvesting, thus bringing new life to Koppai. [...] What was the cause of the accident that sent the SS Drake hurtling to PNF-404's surface? Perhaps it wasn't an accident after all...
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- Official website (English)