Pikmin 3[b] is a 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 within 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. The game 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.
Packaging artwork released for all territories
In the single-player campaign, the game controls three aliens, 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.
In the game, 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. They 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 travel over water, but are still able to drown.
The player controls up to three new 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 single-player or 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.
The game is set on the surface of the planet "PNF-404", the setting of the previous Pikmin games; however, it was not named until now. Five different areas on PNF-404 are accessible for the player to explore, each with diverse topography. The narrator explains that the inhabitants of the planet Koppai are suffering from famine.
After scouting multiple planets with vessels called SPEROS, the planet returns positive with abundance of cultivable food. Three Koppaite explorers, Alph, Brittany and Charlie, are sent to explore and retrieve food sources. Their ship, the "S.S. Drake," malfunctions and crash-lands, separating the three. Captain Charlie ends up in the distant tundra, meets the Yellow Pikmin, but is eaten by a monster after exploring. Alph wakes up in the tropical wilds and meets the Red Pikmin, who help him recover their ship. Alph learns that the "cosmic drive key" is required to warp back to Koppai. Alph finds Brittany in the garden of hope, and rescues her with the help of rock pikmin. Later on in the story the pair rescue Captain Charlie, after the S.S Drake crashes and Brittany discovers the Yellow Pikmin. They retrieve some fruits for the food supply and harvest the seeds on their journey. The Drake and the Pikmin Onions ascend into low orbit each evening to avoid nocturnal creatures. The trio recover one of Captain Olimar's lost data files, and suspect that he has the key and explore in his pursuit. Later, they mistakenly rescue Louie, who steals all of their food supply and escapes to the Garden of Hope. After retrieving them both, they restrain and interrogate with Louie, who tells them that Olimar is at Formidable Oak. There, the explorers and the Pikmin defeat a mysterious life form, known as the Plasm Wraith, to save Olimar, who took the cosmic-drive key, thinking it is a treasure, and he gives it back. While Louie is absent, the explorers use the key for the ship and they return home, while the Pikmin say goodbye to them.
The narrator speaks at the game's ending, 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. If the player also collects a respectable amount of fruit, it is stated that careful planning will be required to save Koppai. If the player collects all fruits, the narrator states that the three have successfully completed their mission to restore life in Koppai and that the cause of the Drake's crash-landing is unknown and suggests that it may be on purpose. In a post-credits scene, the Pikmin see a flaming object falling into the surface of PNF-404. Depending on the game's ending, Alph's final log entry states that Louie is stranded on the planet.
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 5, 2014 on the Nintendo eShop for $4.99.
The Collect Treasure stage pack downloadable content (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 generally favorable reviews. most reviewers praised its well thought-out levels, high-quality graphics and gameplay. The Japanese video game magazine Famitsu 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. This feature was added in a later software update.
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.
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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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