Pikmin 3 preview – First hands-on with Nintendo’s return to nature

Rumored for what seems like ages, hardcore Nintendo fans have been dying for Nintendo and developer mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto to return to the Pikmin series. A novel approach to the RTS genre that mixed in naturalistic elements, we hadn’t seen the little carrot-ant men since the GameCube. E3 2012 marks their big return, with the distinction of being one of the first and biggest Wii U games, and after our first playthrough with the HD sequel, it looks to be what fans of the cult series are looking for.


As we stepped up we weren’t handed the new tablet-esque Gamepad, instead getting our hands on the familiar Wii Remote and Nunchuk set-up. Controlling one of the new human characters (Olimar has been replaced for mysterious reasons), we walked around with the stick while moving around the reticle with the Remote. It was such a straightforward set-up that fit so well with the Pikmin gameplay of directing your army of colorful men. We called them to attention and switched units on the fly, making us regret that natural the Remote/Nunchuk set-up was never used for a game on the Wii. Meanwhile, the Gamepad is meant to be left still, displaying a map, thus clearing up the HUD on your TV.

We started off with the challenge mode, with the goal of collecting as much fruit as possible. We entered the maze-like map picking up men as we went. We grabbed strawberries, cherries, and more while also fighting it out with many familiar enemies. After tearing down walls with the classic red and purple Pikmin, we met the new Rock Pikmin. Though not the best at carrying, Rock Pikmins have a tough exterior that made them perfect projectiles. We tossed them at hardened enemies, breaking through the armored exteriors to the creamy insides.

After trying out the food challenge, we then went into boss mode to see how our collective could handle something bigger. Soon we were face-to-face with a huge creature that seemed to be an armored millipede that was quick to encircle us. Once we got a handle on how to quickly swing around the camera, we soon noticed that our red Pikmin weren’t making much of a dent, while our Rock Pikmin started were starting to crack the outside. Once the beast’s skull armor was knocked away by our rocky friends, we started tossing on our red Pikkmin on masse and they started tearing it a new face hole.

Though we weren’t able to finish it off in our five minute demo, we’re betting the creature won’t be so lucky next time. In the meantime, we can say for certain that Nintendo is making a true sequel to Pikmin, not some side game or half-step. The HD graphics look great and if it can actually be out in time for the Wii U’s launch, it could end up being the must have first party release.


  • IceBlueKirby - June 5, 2012 4:44 p.m.

    Awesome, totally awesome. If I don't have a Wii U by the time this comes out (assuming it's not a launch game), it'll be the time I really start saving up for one. I can't wait to play more Pikmin.
  • Neorith - June 5, 2012 10:24 p.m.

    I was REALLY looking forward to Pikmin 3 until I heard that it uses the Wiimote and nunchuck together. I have a deformed right hand and cannot use that setup very well at all (you can see it in my picture there). I can't play Metroid Prime 3 or Skyward Sword (I can play Galaxy 1 and 2 but it hurts to collect the shards). However, I have no issues playing on ANY other type of controllers and I am so pissed at Nintendo for alienating people like me when they force that control scheme. They supported lots of controllers for Brawl and Mario Kart, and that got my hopes up that other games might offer different controls but I have been very disappointed. The Wii U might be the first Nintendo system I wont buy if I they force the Wiimote-nunchuck thing on a lot of games. There is no reason I shouldn't be able to play Pikmin at least on the classic or Gamecube controllers. This is just frustrating and sad for me because I've been playing Nintendo since I got the NES in 1988 and I have never had a problem until the wiimote nunchuck combo. I can use the wiimote fine, just not good at all with the damn nunchukfuck!
  • shawksta - June 5, 2012 10:30 p.m.

    The game Utilizes the Wii Tablet controller too you know, which he described to be the better experience
  • Neorith - June 5, 2012 10:55 p.m.

    Did he say that? I read "Meanwhile, the Gamepad is meant to be left still, displaying a map, thus clearing up the HUD on your TV." so I thought it wouldn't be used for controls. But if it is I will be VERY happy :) I still got burned on a lot of Wii games though...
  • shawksta - June 6, 2012 1:32 a.m.

    He did, this video didnt show it though. Sorry to hear that.
  • shawksta - June 5, 2012 10:32 p.m.

    Seeing it on the stage was freakin beautiful and awesome to know the game holds up well. Heh, Miyamoto said its a secret why Olimars not here, i wonder what the story is this time!
  • Nikku7 - June 5, 2012 11:41 p.m.

    It was beautiful, the plant life and creatures looked life-like. If this is what Nintendo can get out of this gen tech, I don't think I mind it being last gen whenever Sony and Microsoft get their next consoles out.
  • Nikku7 - June 5, 2012 11:47 p.m.

    Also, going to guess that it's an Olimar rescue mission.
  • DexteraXII - June 6, 2012 10 a.m.

    Maybe the President started an entire division to comb the surface of the planet? But then why wouldn't he have just put one of the new guys in Olimar's old position and had Olimar as the head of said division?
  • FierceDeity - June 7, 2012 5:36 a.m.

    ah sweet, i thought the purples (and whites) were gone judging by the trailer. glad they're returning. so pumped for this
  • masterjoe123 - June 7, 2012 6:29 p.m.

    Olimar may be gone, but what about Louie?

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