If Nintendo Land is an advert for the dual screen potential of Wii U, Pikmin 3 is the game that digs into the machine's raw horsepower. On first glance it seems a simple zoomed out version of the GameCube game - using the extra graphical oomph to show us bigger acreage, and more Pikmin within it.
Really get up close and the game is a beaut. Impressive depth of field gives a great impression of peering through grassy fronds into a world under the leaves. Sunlight dabbles the garden planet, glinting off pools of peacefully rippling water and globules of nectar (which Pikmin slurp down to evolve into their stronger flowering variety).
But more than simple gloss, HD lends a real weight to the garden. Mounds of ceramic shards can be carried to build bridge shortcuts, each lump teetering atop the frail veggie below it. Glass walls shatter and crack under crunching collisions with new Rock Pikmin. Best of all? Giant HD cherries, oranges and apples - they look so good, we smashed our teeth against the TV trying to eat them.
The boss battle is a weighty highlight. In order to reach the armoured centipede's soft fleshy bits, you use Rock Pikmin to shatter his outer carapace. The shell cracks and fractures based exactly on where you throw the stony blighters (using remote pointer controls for precision ) giving a really convincing sense of texture and tactility.
Of course, it helps that the game is a delight to play. The more zoomed out view lets Nintendo emphasise the scale of your vegetable army - even while you focus on a specific task you can see all your previously lobbed 'min going about their business. They build bridges, dig through dirt walls, creep up twigs, slide down leafy shoots - you never got this scale of industry on GameCube.
And the remote pointer controls are the way Pikmin was meant to be played. Distant Pikmin are easy to highlight and summon (vital when the boss bug scatters them with a charge), while the speed of aiming lets you set up all kinds of complex actions. Three clicks on a strawberry, five clicks on a bulborb, five clicks on two flaming slugs - a food production line can be set up in ten seconds.
In the middle of the demo level - a seven minute race to collect as much fruit as possible (which could have great multiplayer potential) - you feel like Mickey Mouse conducting his army of mop servants in the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Only instead of cold, unlikeable mops, we're shepherding Miyamoto's delightful vegetable army.