You should already know this is a brilliant game, so now you'll want to know whether you should buy it all over again. Chances are you or someone you know has the GameCube original stashed away somewhere gathering dust, so you'd be more than capable of liberating it from its prison of cobwebs and sticking it in your Wii. The simple answer is, yes, you should, silly. New Play Control! games are neither remakes or re-releases. They're classics released with thoughtful tweaks and embellishments to sit most comfortably in your Wii. Never mind the fact that you can play many of the 'Cube originals on your backwards-compatible Wii - the fact is they're really hard to find now.
When you have a classic game and a control method which opens it up for even more people, the question of whether to re-jig the game becomes sillier still. It's almost as if Pikmin's designers had an inkling that such a control scheme would be invented a few years down the line.
There's even more fun to be had this time around thanks to the new motion controls, and not just by you, but by even more people you know. Yes, remember how you banged on to anyone who'd listen about the joys of guiding a mob of eager carrot minions, but really, not many took heed? With the UK being a nation of Wii owners, there's a good chance more of you buddies will actually listen this time.
For a start it looked overly obscure to anyone who'd never picked up a 'Cube pad. There's no ball to kick, no cars to jump in and definitely no-one to shoot, so it's a little alienating to a lot of videogame veterans too. Pikmin 2's furiously beating heart is that of a strategy game, one in which you select your Pikmin followers one by one and ask them to do different things.
Well, we say different, but really it's variations on your flora followers swarming around a massive snoozing beetle and beating it to death, before hulking its still-warm carcass back to the mothership where it's converted into the cash needed to pay off the huge debt your company has run up. Or finding random trash and doing the same. The beauty lies in the way you approach it, and who you approach it with.
Flower Top Men
The new controls allow you to use your Remote to command your flower-topped rabble around the levels. You salvage the planet's resources and cart it all back to either Captain Olimar's clockwork rocket or the colour-coded Pikmin's onion-like mothership. More Pikmin are then seeded and you must pluck them out of the soil to increase numbers. As you explore the world, above ground and below, you'll discover ways to alter your Pikmin's abilities - a purple Pikmin is bigger and stronger, while your standard red Pikmin foot soldier can be blossomed into a more agile, faster follower.
Pick-up-and-throw is the main means of moving your army around. A lets you pick up a Pikmin, releasing throws it to a point designated by a Remote-controlled icon (holding A and pressing B lets you cycle between types), and that's pretty much it. It's straightforward enough for anyone to pick up in just a few seconds.
The D-pad allows you to issue more specific commands - line-up, swarm around a nearby enemy or object; the - button lets you swap between Olimar and his shipmate Louie; C separates you from the group, which segregates into colour-coordinated factions; at which point the irresistible charm of the Pikmin is most fully apparent. Tripping over one another to keep up with you, rushing off with excited squeaks to do your bidding, their slapstick obedience is adorable and magical. Too Soon?
New Play Control! Pikmin was released recently to mild acclaim but this is an improvement in almost every way. The suffocating time limits of that game are relaxed here, there are both co-operative and competitive multiplayer modes to enjoy and the underground caves add random replayability to the mix. Barely a couple of months on, Nintendo's in real danger of severely curtailing the appeal of the first Pikmin by launching this superior follow-up so soon.
The new Piklopedia lists all the life forms
you encounter, while the Treasure Hoard is self-explanatory. Visually it's been freshened up too. It's the perfect excuse to revisit a true classic. Like you needed one.