The cute little Pikmin are back in what is undoubtedly their most gorgeous game in the series to date.
And while all the hallmarks of the series are there, Pikmin 4 goes above and beyond previous iterations to give us a superb Nintendo Switch resource management title.
You are the newest recruit in the Rescue Corps and, as always seems the way with these things, your craft crash lands on a planet.
That means you’ve got to go round the uncharted place rescuing all the shipwrecked castaways.
What a dilemma.
That sparks a fun, taxing and wonderfully presented adventure where you team up with your new pet alien doggie pal Oatchi to find plant-like Pikmin and get them to help you traverse very familiar looking spaces from your tiny height.
It’s all about man management and finding stuff.
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So as you take on red, yellow and blue Pikmin along your travels you’ll use their unique skills alongside Oatchi’s abilities to solve different problems and save your stranded companions.
For example, getting a prize piece of treasure back to your spaceship from a watery island can be solved by firing blue Pikmin into the water.
They freeze it, allowing the object to be transferred safely to land.
The yellow fellows do well taking down electrified obstacles, taking them out of your way, and the red critters are best for sheer braun when there’s a need for big items to be taken down and transported back to your craft, boosting that vital sparklium required to access new areas of the planet.
There’s rock ones, glow in the dark ones and winged Pikmin too, all with unique attributes.
It’s all simply presented but with a real-time strategy feel under the bonnet and the ability to level up your doggie so that he can learn new tricks, like swimming.
The areas on offer are large in size and packed full of things to discover and mine for resource.
You can spend hours in each.
The game does a good job in the early stages of helping newcomers to learn the ropes and, while there’s a daily time limit on your activities, never really pressures you too much when it comes to time management.
It’s about enjoying the search and solving those puzzling elements to sniff out the next castaway.
The story powers along at a gentle pace and can be a bit annoying, meaning a lot of dialogue skipping for me.
But the gameplay itself is great – easy to get while complicated to conquer – and that 3rd person visual across a gloriously designed cartoon world can be beautiful.
Its urge for exploration is everywhere and really helps to distinguish this away from other Switch titles.
While at the same time the cuteness of the characters feels very Nintendo.
A top effort.
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