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Pikmin 2 is the best Nintendo-developed game since Zelda: The Wind Waker. And more than anything since then, it epitomises Nintendo's genius for game design and sheer fun. In short, it's a classic.
The first Pikmin was perfectly formed but terribly small. Pikmin 2 fixes everything that was wrong with it, and then some.
The 30-day time-limit is gone - although individual days remain - and it's a much, much bigger game that'll test your strategy and organisational skills in a way that somehow never makes the game feel like an exercise in resource management, although essentially it is. It's beautiful to look at, brilliant to play and utterly charming.
The game's all about salvaging earth-tat through exploration and the management of hordes of subservient Pikmin. The two new Pikmin types exponentially increase what you can do, and you can now switch between Olimar and his new sidekick Louie, allowing you to effectively control two Pikmin groups at once.
Pikmin 2 is devastatingly deep, with every level a Russian doll of gameplay, and the intricacies of each one are gradually revealed as you obtain different types of Pikmin. These also allow you to do more and more things. Only blue Pikmin can traverse water, for instance, and once you get them, whole new tracts of landscape are uncovered. It's a constantly delightful voyage of discovery.
Throw in the new dungeon-style Cave levels and two remarkably well-considered multi-player modes and you've got a game that stands as one of GameCube's best. And what higher recommendation can there be? This is about as good as it gets.
Pikmin 2 is a low-key treasure, and a must-have if you've got a GameCube. Life-worryingly addictive and hippo-huge fun.
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