After playing Pikmin 4, my interest in the whole series has bloomed

Pikmin 4
(Image credit: Nintendo)

It's only been a few days, but I'm already really attached to the little plant guys in Pikmin 4. Our journey together starts as soon as I pluck them out of the ground, and almost instantly, I find myself weirdly protective of them. As we walk around the various gardens and caverns scattered throughout the game, I keep track of all of them, making sure that no one gets left behind or meets an untimely death. That hasn't stopped me from flinging them into danger whenever I need some assistance, though. They'll eventually need to learn to fend for themselves, after all.  

Similar to the previous games, Pikmin 4 sees players exploring a far-off planet that's much bigger, and far more intimidating than they are. This time, we get the chance to play as our own custom character – which can be designed to look however you like – as we set off on a mission to not only rescue Captain Olimar (who crash-landed somewhere on the planet prior), but also members of the Rescue Corp who were sent to find Olimar in the first place. Luckily, we don't have to wrangle Pikmin and find lost crew members alone, as in Pikmin 4 we're joined by Rescue Pup Oatchi, who is always more than happy to lend a paw. 

Pikmin 4 is actually my first real experience of Nintendo's endearing strategy puzzle game series, and although I've only dipped my toes into what this sequel has to offer, I'm questioning why it took me so long to try out the others for myself. 


Pikmin 4 preview

(Image credit: Nintendo)

One of the most appealing aspects of Pikmin 4 is how beginner-friendly it is. Prior to playing Pikmin 4, I'd only dabbled in one of the Pikmin games on the Nintendo Wii and I remember it feeling so overwhelming at the time. Thankfully, this time around, Nintendo has made this version of the game a much more laid-back experience so I felt I was able to jump right in without much confusion. 

There's a little less urgency in Pikmin 4 too, as although you still need to do most of your exploring in the day (and return your Pikmin to the safety of their Onion before night falls) there's plenty of warning and a countdown so you can be sure that all of your Pikmin will make it through the night. For the first time, there's also an option to rewind time if you accidentally lose a Pikmin or two along your way, which has made losing any a much less stressful experience. 

Long-time fans shouldn't shy away from Nintendo's latest plant-based offering, though, as there's still threats to the Pikmin waiting around every corner. Although I mainly spent my time touring quaint little gardens there's also a bunch of dangerous caverns ready to push players, and their Pikmin, to their limits. This is where players will need to think strategically to solve puzzles and make sure the Pikmin make it out alive. These caverns need exploring if you want any chance of rescuing all of the Rescue Corp members and collecting the sought-after materials and treasures. 

Having Oatchi by your side is also a welcome new addition to the Pikmin series. Like the loyal sidekick he is, Oatchi helps by breaking down barriers using his Rush ability, sniffing out items and lost members of the crew, and being a means of transport for not only the player but also all of the Pikmin that join us on our journey. It's clear straight away that you and the Rescue Pup have a unique bond, so although you don't get to pet Oatchi (Nintendo, make it happen), you do get to give him treats and teach him new tricks that will come in handy as you progress through the game.

Bloomin' beautiful

Pikmin 4

(Image credit: Nintendo)

"What I've seen of the planet we've crash landed on so far is also breathtaking – especially when playing Pikmin 4 on a Nintendo Switch OLED".

During my Pikmin 4 playthrough, I've mostly become besties with the classic Red Pikmin and the new Ice Pikmin. There's still plenty of others for me to collect, including other old friends such as the Blue Pikmin, Yellow Pikmin, Rock Pikmin, etc., as well as the other new one I'm yet to find in the game, the Glow Pikmin. Watching the Pikmin I've got run towards me and cling onto the back of Oatchi whenever I whistle never gets old, and hearing them all chant in their tiny squeaky voices as they carry out tasks is just so adorable. I've been lucky so far that I haven't run into many devastating instances where I've lost large quantities of Pikmin, but when I do, I know it'll destroy me. 

What I've seen of the planet we've crash landed on so far is also breathtaking – especially when playing Pikmin 4 on a Nintendo Switch OLED, where everything on screen is so much more vibrant. I love seeing the world from a Pikmin point of view, especially the treasures in the game that so far have been things with a lot of sentimental value like toys and other childhood knick-knacks. There's even some parts of Nintendo history to be found like the Game Boy Advance I sent a group of Pikmin to pick up and carry back to the ship early on in my playthrough. I haven't had the chance to explore more of what the galaxy has to offer yet, but I can't wait to reach even more gorgeous and fun areas in the game.

Pikmin 4 may be just the start of my Pikmin journey but now that Pikmin 1 and 2 have been remastered for the Nintendo Switch, I think it could be the start of a blossoming new interest in the series. Getting into Pikmin has always been a daunting task but after playing through the first few hours of the game, it feels more accessible than ever. I can't wait to explore more of Pikmin 4's world, collect even more of the little guys, and hopefully rescue Captain Olimar, and the rest of the Rescue Corp soon.

A demo for Pikmin 4 will be available on June 29, so if you're a little apprehensive about the sequel, you can try it out for free ahead of its July 21, 2023 release date. 

Find out what other exciting games are also on the way with our upcoming Switch games list.

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.