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Pikmin 3 hands-on preview: It's a delight

We welcome Miyamoto's vegetable to Wii U

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).

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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.

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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.

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  1. Redfish20 Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 15:14

    Pikmin is awesome. I might have to start finishing up the Cube games to get ready for this. Although at this stage does it really do anything new beyond the rock pikmin?

  2. shadowlugia101 Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 15:21

    this games looks beautiful i hope it acheives great success and makes the wii u sell

  3. MrGooseyMoose Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 15:43

    This all sounds great.

    Without a doubt, Pikmin is one of my favourite Nintendo franchises. Fresh, fun and strategic. I'm glad to see that the third installment is looking as good as the previous two were.

    It's a shame, though. This is the game that really makes me want to buy the WiiU, but it is the only must have game in the whole line up in my opinion. I wonder: is one great game enough to justify buying an expensive new console? I don't know...maybe if they do a Pikmin bundle of some kind...

  4. IndigoStevie Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 16:20

    Just wondering did anyone notice that at the start of the trailer what appear to be winged Pikmin fly across the lake, another new type perhaps? Anyway this game looks ace. I love Pikmin and after last year when Miyamoto teased me by telling me he switched consoles (I'm glad he did) I've wanted some info.

  5. Salamence19 Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 17:25

    Pikmin is awesome. I might have to start finishing up the Cube games to get ready for this. Although at this stage does it really do anything new beyond the rock pikmin?

    Don't forget the fact that there's no Olimar, but there are 4 playable characters. The multiple characters should add more to the tactics of getting to new places and shizzle :)

  6. dominichall Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 17:48

    Pikmin is awesome. I might have to start finishing up the Cube games to get ready for this. Although at this stage does it really do anything new beyond the rock pikmin?

    Don't forget the fact that there's no Olimar, but there are 4 playable characters. The multiple characters should add more to the tactics of getting to new places and shizzle :)

    There's also stuff yet to be shown off. At the start and end of the trailer there was a flying pink pikmin.

  7. PeterR Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 18:30

    Just wondering did anyone notice that at the start of the trailer what appear to be winged Pikmin fly across the lake, another new type perhaps?

    they do look awfully pikmin like dont they? especially as one has a flower on its head and the other appears to have a leaf, making it seem more likely theyre pikmin than them being insects or what have you. anyway this looks very good, most likely my first wii u game if its a launch title.

  8. Herbert_Rarr Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 18:59

    I've never played a Pikmin game before and I'm not quite sure what it's all about, but this new game looks brilliant. The HD graphics really make you feel like the game is set in a real life garden, and I can see how the strategic element might work in the video. When I used to read in the magazine about how people were getting excited about the new Pikmin game, back before E3, I didn't really know what all the fuss was about, but now I see. I'm now considering buying this game when it comes out; if it has an engaging single player storyline and a fun multi-player mode, then that's one copy sold, Nintendo.

  9. TaskOfMajora Friday 8th Jun 2012 at 19:28

    Can't wait to get my hands on this.

  10. godofpancakes207 Saturday 9th Jun 2012 at 08:34

    I've been waiting ages to get a sequel to pikmin 2 sold my gc 5 years ago then re bought them both on wii so suffice to say i get any more exited my mind will explode. also for all of you thinking rock pikmin is the only new type of pikmin miyamato has confirmed that there will be more to talk about pikmin 3 at a late r date so yes there definitely will be more pikmin types :D :D :D

  11. helmarocka Saturday 9th Jun 2012 at 11:37

    Pikmin has always been awesome, this looks like it could make it even better! :) the only downside is that it makes me feel guilty about eating my vegetables, ;)

  12. BlueLink3411 Saturday 9th Jun 2012 at 19:20

    It's a shame, though. This is the game that really makes me want to buy the WiiU, but it is the only must have game in the whole line up in my opinion.

    I intend to get a WiiU for Pikmin 3, but since there isn't much that will launch with it that amazes me, I'll probably hold off for a few months, let the library grow a bit before I delve in.

  13. blaziken411 Saturday 9th Jun 2012 at 21:05

    im not such a big pikmin fan and i already have several top priority games, but ill consider it because it looks good

  14. Gamer 1 Thursday 2nd Aug 2012 at 12:33

    Never played a pikmin game before so not sure what its all about but ive been doing a bit of research and it really does sound good NSMBU and pikmin 3 are another reason why ill get a wii u

  15. Gamer 1 Thursday 2nd Aug 2012 at 12:35

    Stunning Graphics!

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