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Pikmin 4 (Switch) review: A perfect introduction to the series for newcomers

By Captain Grover - 3 Sep 2023
Launch SRP: S$79

Pikmin 4 (Switch) review: A perfect introduction to the series for newcomers

Note: This article was first published on 21 August 2023.

Pikmin may not be as big or as popular as Nintendo’s other games, but this charming strategy-puzzle series has delivered some pretty impressive titles since its first introduction on the Nintendo GameCube over two decades ago. Now, Pikmin 4, the series’ first main-game title in a decade, has finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch, and it’s definitely worth the wait.

The TL;DR version:

A very well-crafted and finely-tuned game that really brings out the best in the series. Cutesy charm, beautiful graphics, and delightful gameplay easily lets the game retain its unique charm and character.

But first, an introduction to this oddball game: created by Shigeru Miyamoto, the man behind the beloved Super Mario games, Pikmin is a unique mix of real-time strategy, puzzle-solving, platformer, and rougelike gameplay elements. Set in a world of tiny proportions, players are cast as an ant-sized alien tasked to explore an unknown, Earth-like planet with the help of tiny plant-like creatures called Pikmin.

Pikmin 4 continues the tradition of the series but offers a fresh twist to the story right from the start. While previous games have typically starred series hero Captain Olimar, this time, it is the Captain who needs saving. After being stranded on an Earth-like planet (that is probably Earth), Olimar’s SOS signal triggered a rescue mission by the Rescue Corps. However, those rescuers have, in turn, found themselves stranded on the faraway planet as well. And it is now up to you, a new Rescue Corps recruit, to find both the rescuers and Captain Olimar.

While some long-time Pikmin fans may have preferred to play as Captain Olimar, I loved the idea of Pikmin 4 letting players create their own main character. The game offers some basic character creation options such as facial features, hairstyle and uniform colour. While you may not be able to create your own likeness in this game, having a uniquely created character does make Pikmin 4’s gameplay feel closer to the heart and more immersive than it already is.

And if there is any way to describe Pikmin 4’s game world, “immersive” would really be it. Featuring several expansive stages, Pikmin 4’s game world is beautifully crafted, vibrant, and teeming with life at every corner. Plants sway to the breeze in the garden, a sprinkler drizzles water over a flowerbed, while the seawater by the beach ebbs and flows with the outgoing tide. These visual features are not just limited to aesthetics either; many affect the actual game environment and present new or different ways to solve the numerous puzzles found in each stage.

A Pikmin game won’t be any fun without its titular plant-like creatures, and in this game, Pikmin play a bigger role than ever in your intrepid explorer’s quest. Like in other Pikmin titles, your explorer must gather and propagate these tiny minions as you explore the game’s stages and the many underground caves (that act as sub-stages) found in each one. Once recruited, Pikmin become obedient followers that you can direct to do your bidding, including attacking the many creatures that roam each stage, building and structures to access new stage areas, or even digging for and transporting treasures.

Pikmin come in different types too, with this game featuring a total of nine different varieties of the tiny creatures; and this is where the game’s strategic element comes in. Red Pikmin are immune to fire, Blue Pikmin can dive underwater, while the big-eared Yellow Pikmin are good at digging, just to name a few.

Players can only bring three different types of Pikmin with them at any one time. So choosing how many of what type of Pikmin to bring on your next exploration trip can make a difference between ending with a successful haul of treasure, or having your tiny army decimated by angry enemies or level bosses.

To up the complexity and depth of the game, Pikmin 4 sees the debut of two new types of Pikmin: Ice Pikmin and Glow Pikmin. The former can freeze enemies or bodies of water alike, while the latter are only used in the game’s night-time stages, a feature which is also new to the Pikmin series.

Besides your plant-like minions, Pikmin 4 also introduces players to a new and very capable sidekick, Otachi. This yellow and orange two-legged puppy is not only your noble steed, but can also carry your entire Pikmin army on his back. Otachi is more than just an efficient means of transport, he can learn various skills that can help you solve puzzles too. One of my favourite skills is to have Otachi sniff out the location of hidden Pikmin or treasures in a stage or cave. This has proven to be a pretty nifty feature when your tiny explorer is tasked with navigating a very large map.

Between exploring Pikmin 4’s immersive world, rescuing the Rescue Corps members, hunting for treasure, and looking for the lost Captain Olimar, I found Pikmin 4 to be a wonderfully addictive game. I was determined to thoroughly explore 100% of each stage and retrieve all its treasures, while finding the best strategy and tactics to do so, making this game really hard to put down.

My only gripe with Pikmin 4 is that while the game’s early stages serve as a perfect introduction to the series, a good chunk of this title may be too easy for seasoned strategy gamers. I only found Pikmin 4 more challenging and its boss fights a little more difficult, only about three-quarters into Story Mode.

Another minor complaint is the long load times between screens as you move from one stage or game area to another. This issue is not unique to Pikmin 4, and is also prevalent in many other Nintendo Switch titles. While the long load times don’t affect Pikmin 4’s gameplay, waiting for a stage or underground cave to load was a drag, especially if you are exploring several caves in a single outing on one stage.

In all, Pikmin 4 is a very well-crafted and finely-tuned game that really brings out the best in the series. While some parts of the game may be a tad too easy for more seasoned gamers or long-time fans, Pikmin 4’s cutesy charm, beautiful graphics, and delightful gameplay easily lets the game retain its unique charm and character.

Priced at S$79.90 officially, this title is a must-get for anyone who has enjoyed a Pikmin game before and is a perfect introduction to the series for newcomers. Pikmin 4 for Nintendo Switch is available to purchase at these online outlets:- Amazon SGCourtsGameXtreme SG, LazadaQisahnNintendo Store and Shopee.

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  • Playability 9
  • Graphics 7
  • Sound 8
  • Addictiveness 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Fantastic entry for newcomers to the series
Lots of replayability
Great level designs
The Bad
Might be too easy for seasoned Pikmin fans
Long loading times
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