Pikmin 4 (Switch)

After being announced to be “close to completion” all the way back in 2015, Pikmin 4 has finally arrived on Nintendo Switch. After a 10 year wait for a mainline title of Nintendo’s take on the RTS genre, the game released July 21st 2023 exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

The story of the game begins with Olimar travelling through space on his ship, and as usual, crash landing on a planet from a freak accident…again and searches for a way home, eventually sending a rescue signal to the Rescue Corps, which, in a series first, includes a customisable player character. The rescue corps ship malfunctions and miraculously also crashes, leaving you as the protagonist having to both rescue the other members of your team along with Olimar.

The story takes you across the planet, which looks strikingly similar to somebody’s backyard, searching for the missing crewmates and castaways along with solving the mysteries of the planet and how to escape the planet. The story is entertaining for the most part, with it being heavier on story than other entries, with the first 2 games stories being fairly light. I enjoyed the story of the game and it set the stage for the gameplay to shine well.

The gameplay follows an RTS style with a Nintendo spin on things. Once landing on the games unknown planet, you meet Pikmin, tiny little creatures with different colourings showing their unique abilities. These Pikmin can be commanded to accomplish different tasks around the world, like destroying a wall, or transporting some treasure back to your ship. After the tutorial you’re thrown into the games main gameplay loop: trying to get as much done in an in game day. This gives a great feeling of micromanaging your pikmin, trying to get as much done as you possibly can, from collecting treasure to power up your ship and reach new areas to rescuing fellow crewmates and castaways or building paths to make things easier for future days.

This gameplay loop feels very satisfying, especially since there is no limit to the number of days you can spend in the game’s different locations so you’re able to spend as much time as you want, finding every last item or castaway in the area. Two new features of the game are Night Time Expeditions and Dandori Battles. Night Time expeditions are more similar to a tower defence where Dandori Battles are a competitive mode. This mode lets you play against another player, competing to collect more treasure than their opponent in a set time, which can also be played in the story against an AI. This mode is fun to play and gives a great new way to play the game.

The Pikmin themselves come in different types which give them different abilities, for example Yellow Pikmin can be thrown higher and are immune to electricity whereas Ice Pikmin can freeze water so that you can walk across the water safely and carry things over it. This means you need to choose the right pikmin for the right job, having different types of pikmin in your squad to tackle different obstacles. This is made much simpler by the controls of the game being the best the series has ever been, feeling a lot better than especially the first two games. The controls feel tight and responsive, letting you chose which type of pikmin to use at the press of a button. The controls make the game a joy to play.  Overall, the gameplay of the game is a lot of fun and is a joy to play and kept my attention throughout, making me want to get as much done as I possibly can in each of the in game days.

The visuals of the game are fantastic, each one of the areas of the game looks stunning and the game is one of the best looking titles on the switch, pushing the console to its limits. The game has a more realistic art style than most Nintendo titles yet still has the stylised charm present in most of the companies games. The environments have a lot of items you’d find in an actual garden which gives the game a familiar feel despite being on an unfamiliar planet filled with strange creatures. The creatures themselves look great, with fantastic models. All of this goes together well to make a great atmosphere while exploring the different locations, commanding your pikmin as you go. The games soundtrack is also great, with a variety of different themes throughout the game, while less memorable than some other games soundtracks, the music here does a great job of setting the scene of the game. Overall, Pikmin 4 is one of the best presented games the Nintendo Switch has to offer with great visuals and a good soundtrack to match

If you’d told me at the start of the year that Pikmin 4 would be one of the best games of the year, I wouldn’t have believed you but Nintendo have really knocked it out of the park with this one. The gameplay is amazing and the presentation is one of the Switches best. Don’t sleep on this game as it’s one of the most fun games I’ve played all year. 

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Summary

Pikmin 4 is one of 2023s most fun games with great gameplay and fantastic presentation to back it up d

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Shaun

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