Pikmin 1+2 Review

The original Pikmin was released all the way in 2001 for the Nintendo GameCube; followed a few years later with Pikmin 2. With the released of the 4th main title game being just around the corner, Nintendo decided to re-release them in a bundle pack for the Nintendo Switch. This gave me a chance to play the game classic just before the release of the latest entry.

When I originally saw the game play of the Pikmin series, my initial thought was that it was like the Minions from the Overlord games but, in fact, the Minions were based on the Pikmin. While Overlord allowed you to interact with the world as the playable character and use Minions as a method to solve puzzles or assist in combat, Pikmin is all about using the titular characters to do everything.

The story of the first game follows Captain Olimar, pilot of the S.S. Dolphin spaceship as it gets hit by a meteorite and crashes on a strange planet, with its parts being scattered all over the place. Olimar awakens to find that he has about 30 days to retrieve all the parts before his power runs out and the planet’s climate becomes deadly. It is at this point he discovers a strange plant he calls the Onion, as it reminds him of the onions back on his home planet. When he approaches it, it springs to life and releases a seed, which Olimar plucks, introducing us the red Pikmin. By using the Pikmin, he starts to recover pieces of his ship in hopes of rebuilding it before his power runs out. The second game carries on from the first but revealing anything there would spoil the ending of the first. Just know you return to the Pikmin planet in search of various treasures to pay of a debt.

The gameplay is simple as you control Olimar and the Pikmin follow. If you need to use the Pikmin for something, you can either toss them one-by-one to the highlighted point or control the entire group to move in a single direction that you can control. You start off with one red Pikmin but having it attack what looks to be a flower, it will drop what looks like a bottle cap that can be picked up by the Pikmin and returned to the Onion to spawn further seeds. You can pluck these to get more Pikmin and each level has quite a few items that can be used to restock your supply of Pikmin right at the start and they do respawn each time you enter the area so can quickly replenish as needed. On top of the bottlecap looking items, you can even use the bodies of the various enemies of the game as well.

This also applies to the various colours of Pikmin with each having a certain ability that is needed to open further areas of the level. The first game only has 3 colours: red, yellow, and blue. The second does add 2 more colours: purple and white. You start off with a red Onion and unlock the others as you go but do be careful when using what colour Pikmin to carry the objects as the majority colour will pick up the object and return it their colour Onion so you cannot use red Pikmin to replenish yellow and such. Each coloured Pikmin also has a specific ability that you will need to progress. Red Pikmin are resistant to fire and the strongest, yellow can pick up bomb rocks and blue can swim. The white and purple Pikmin that can be found in the second game also have their own strengths but are slightly different as they are found underground and tend to have multiple abilities that can be used.

By increasing the number of Pikmin, you can then pick up larger objects like the ships parts that are automatically returned to the Dolphin. This is made as easy as possible as the Pikmin will try to use the shortest path back to the ship, but this does mean they can move past enemies that will attack and kill them so you cannot leave them alone unless you are hundred percent sure that the path is clear. Some of the larger enemies that are found tend to be sleeping so you can just run past them but a group of Pikmin carrying the parts will alert them and can easily kill most, if not all, your Pikmin. This does introduce a few strategic elements as you need to know when to attack the bigger enemies to clear the path, replenish your total Pikmin or hope that there is an alternate path.

With the above info, you can be forgiven thinking that you can just build up an army of Pikmin and just steamroll through the game, defeating enemies, collecting ship parts, and replenishing lost Pikmin, and while technically true for the second, the first game has a time limit of 30 days, as mentioned earlier. Both games do require you to play during the day as you nor the Pikmin cannot defend themselves against the larger nocturnal creatures. By having all the Pikmin return to their Onions or by leaving them unpicked, is the only method to keep them safe as any left behind will be killed. You hover in orbit in your spaceship and the Onions follow suite. This does limit you in the amount of time you have per day to complete objectives and safely return to the landing zones.

While the gameplay is very simple, you do need to strategize in your approach as just throwing Pikmin at it will most likely get them killed and losing the required strength delays you in collecting the parts and treasures. While the game can be approached by any type of player, I did find that the game does not look the greatest and it being a few years old, does make me think this is a quick cash grab to ride on the release of the newest entry. You can control the camera, but this can also go very wrong very quickly and until you get used to the controls, you can sometimes make a few mistakes that will set you back. You will also need to manage the volume of Pikmin and use the correct colours in the correct areas to progress faster through a level.

The second game does introduce a few more modes that can be played such as the multiplayer mode that can be played locally as a versus style game with players on each side trying to collect marbles, but this does mean you can engage the other player with an army of Pikmin and battle it out Pikmin to Pikmin.

The best thing about this release is that it’s two games for the cost of one and since both games are equally great, there is no chance of going wrong. This is a great package if you never played the originals back in the days or if you want to experience the initial wonder of the games before jumping into the later entries. This game does have a charm about it that makes it fun to play and start to dread the little death animations and sounds when you make a mistake that costs you a few Pikmin.

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  • Fun little game that can be plated by all ages and types of gamers
  • Early time capsule of the GameCube


  • 30-day limit on the first game
  • Could have spruced up the graphics a bit