Hey! Pikmin Is A Fun, But Forgettable 3DS Experience

6.5
  • 3DS
  • Action-Adventure
2017-07-28

Captain Olimar and his little Pikmin buddies are back in the 2D action/puzzle/platformer Hey! Pikmin. As the first game in the Pikmin franchise available on a handheld, how does Hey! Pikmin stand up to the rest? While there are some fun and creative moments in Hey! Pikmin, ultimately it is a forgettable experience without much depth.

Like previous Pikmin games, the plot of Hey! Pikmin focuses on Captain Olimar searching high and low for a way to repair his ship and fly home. Man, this guy needs to get some better luck with his space ships. To fix the ship, Olimar will need 30,000 units of a mysterious material called “Sparklium.” The hunt for Sparklium requires the help of the Pikmin, plant-animal hybrids that willingly follow your every move.

hey-pikmin-review-time
Hey! Pikmin is a fun game, but doesn't have the depth to make you want to come back for more Photo: Nintendo

While the plot is thin, gameplay takes center stage in Hey! Pikmin. Players must explore different sectors of the planet Olimar has crashed onto, with each sector containing five major levels and a handful of smaller bonus stages. The last level in each sector is a boss fight, which once complete, unlocks the next sector to visit. Each level is fairly short, and you can complete any given level in around five minutes.

A quick note about levels: each sector also has a number of amiibo-exclusive areas. While this is cool to see Nintendo creating bonus content, it really sucks if you don’t have any amiibo. It’s like walking by a candy store you can’t go in; you know there’s good stuff in there, you’re just not able to get to it. It’s one thing to have amiibo unlock bonus content, it’s another to have that content openly displayed, but locked behind an additional purchase.

Players control Olimar through each level, which means all you can really do is move, throw Pikmin and hover for a short time with your jetpack. While this doesn’t sound too complex, Nintendo has managed to make each level interesting, and drip just enough new mechanics out through the game to keep gameplay feeling fresh and different.

This is partially thanks to the different Pikmin you encounter on your adventures. The three classic red, yellow and blue Pikmin are here, as well as the rock and winged Pikmin from Pikmin 3. Many levels specifically cater to one type of Pikmin. For example, levels with extensive underwater segments will also have blue Pikmin that can survive underwater with you.

The more interesting levels are the ones where multiple colors of Pikmin join you. These require a bit more strategy, as you’ll have to switch back and forth between which Pikmin you use depending on the obstacle ahead.

There’s also a charm and humorous look at our real-life world through Hey! Pikmin. Each level feels like you could find it in your backyard, with enemies that look like the many small bugs and critters running around outside. Even the treasures you find on your adventures have funny names, despite them being common household items for you and me. A great example of this humor is the names of the treasures, with a cell phone called a “Work-Life Imbalancer” or a wedding ring called an “Attitude Adjuster.” You can even find classic NES game cartridges if you look hard enough!

Hey! Pikmin is one of the few games I’ve played where I prefer to listen to something else with the game on mute. The music ranges from serviceable to enjoyable, but it’s the sound effects that can really drive you mad. Each Pikmin feels the need to whine, grunt, yelp and chatter constantly. When you end up with a horde of 15 or more Pikmin all making different sounds, the volume slider cannot be reached fast enough.

Perhaps the biggest issue I had with Hey! Pikmin is that if I wasn’t playing it to write this review, I would have forgotten about it entirely. Creative ways to switch up gameplay can only get you so far when the base gameplay is very basic and the story is the slimmest framework to house the gameplay. Unless you’re huge into the world of Pikmin, there’s not much here to grab you and make you want to keep coming back for more.

Hey! Pikmin will be releasing for the 3DS family of systems on July 28.

So what do you think? Are you interested in playing Hey! Pikmin for yourself? What other Nintendo games are you looking forward to playing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Hey! Pikmin
6.5
Hey! Pikmin Is A Fun, But Forgettable 3DS Experience
Hey! Pikmin is a fun game, but there's not much depth to get you wanting to play more.
  • Keeps gameplay fresh
  • Fun, charming world
  • Very annoying sound effects
  • No depth
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