The first two entries in one of Nintendo’s more underrated franchises made their way to Nintendo Switch with Pikmin 1+2, putting all 4 main titles of Nintendo’s take on the RTS genre on modern consoles. The two titles released on Nintendo Switch on June 21st 2023 to either be purchased separately or as a pair.
Pikmin 1 follows Olimar as he takes an ill fated vacation and crash lands his ship onto a distant uncharted planet where he has 30 days to rebuild his ship before his life support runs out. It’s here he meets the Pikmin: tiny creatures that work in groups to help Olimar find the parts for his Ship to escape before it’s too late.
Pikmin 2 follows on directly from the end of the first game with Olimar returning home to find the company he works for in a spot of financial trouble, luckily for him something that got brought back from his trip to the distant planet happened to be worth money. This forces Olimar, along with his coworker Louie to return to the distant planet to collect the treasures to pay off their debt, rejoining the Pikmin to aid them in their mission.
The story for the games are fairly light but entertaining, with most of the story being told in-between the games days as opposed to during the gameplay. The story definitely has that Nintendo charm that keeps it fairly lighthearted, despite the first game having a surprisingly dark bad ending if you don’t collect the parts.
The gameplay is fairly similar between the two titles, with only 3 years between the release of the two games meaning for the most part the gameplay is similar, with a few additions and improvements in the second game. The games are Nintendo’s take on the RTS genre with you sprouting and commanding an army of different types of Pikmin to aid you on your journey. The first game keeps it simple with just three types of Pikmin: Red, Yellow and Blue whereas Pikmin 2 adds two more: Purple and White. Each colour of Pikmin has different abilities, for example Blue Pikmin can go into water without drowning while Purple Pikmin are heavier and can stronger. You control your captain as you command Pikmin to accomplish tasks such as breaking down walls or carrying parts or treasures back to your ship. The planet also has its own dangerous creatures for you to fight alongside your army of Pikmin.
Using the right colour Pikmin for the right job is where the game makes you think and plan accordingly. For example if there’s a lake you need to cross, you don’t want to have any pikmin in your army that can drown. Getting everything done that you planned to on one of the games days is extremely satisfying, especially in the first game where you have a strict 30 day time limit to get all of the parts of your ship. Each in game day lasts about 15 real life minutes, differing slightly between the two games so managing how long left you have in each day to complete tasks is vital and really adds some satisfying micromanagement into the game.
As I mentioned there’s a few differences and improvements between the two games, with Pikmin 2 introducing caves, a form of mini dungeon with some stronger enemies but more treasures hidden within. Pikmin 2 also does away with the 30 day time limit, taking away some of the pressure and letting you take as many days as you need to collect the treasures. Pikmin 1 also suffers from some frustrating camera controls at times but aside from that the game holds up well and is a blast to play.
Overall, the gameplay of the games is fantastic, sprouting an army of pikmin to accomplish tasks and navigate the planet is a satisfying feeling and the game just has that signature Nintendo charm to it that makes it a joy to play.
The ports of the games to the Switch are fairly basic, without any extra quality of life features, however the visuals did get upscaled for a slightly improved visual experience. The visuals themselves hold up fairly well with great art direction. The planet feels familiar with it being based around Earth and the Pikmin bright colours standing out. The number of pikmin on screen at once is impressive considering the age of the GameCube where they were originally released. The monsters themselves have some good designs that fit in the world well yet still have the unfamiliar alien vibe the game is going for. The games soundtracks are fantastic, with the area’s soundtracks being stuck in my head as I try and get everything possible done in that day. The game has good sound design for the sounds the Pikmin make as you command them.
Overall, Pikmin 1+2 is a great package of two fantastic games that, while the lack of improvements in the ports may not offer enough reasoning for returning players, is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the franchise with two great titles that hold up well.
A collection of two fantastic games that’s a great way to introduce yourself to one of Nintendo’s most unique franchises.