Review: Pikmin 3 Deluxe is an almost perfect port, but a few minor issues hold it back

The Wii U classic may confuse returning players, but it will be a joy for newbies.

Image via Nintendo

With the release of Pikmin 3 Deluxe on Switch, Nintendo is coming to the end of its Wii U port journey, and nearly its entire library of Wii U games — including recently released titles like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and New Super Mario Bros. Wii U — is currently available on the handheld-hybrid system. Granted, Pikmin 3 was a title we expected to see sooner on the system, especially when it was one of the Wii U’s early games, releasing back in 2013.

The game was phenomenal back then, and most of it still stands up today. While we could discuss aspects of the game that players of the original will already know and love, we instead want to instead focus on the new additions within the Deluxe title, while briefly touching on what made the original game so great, as well as what holds up… and what doesn’t.

Humble beginnings

Image via Nintendo

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is, as the title suggests, the third entry in the Pikmin series, and it follows a host of new characters away from fan-favorites Olimar and Louie, who had headlined the past two games in varying ways. Your goal is to find a series of fruits on a strange new world so you can harvest their seeds to save your population from starvation.

It’s pretty heavy stuff for what is essentially a kids game, and, as we have seen in previous games, the plan doesn’t go as intended. Your ship crashes, your crew is scattered, and now you need to progress through the game with the help of the Pikmin, an ant-like species that will do whatever their leader commands and inhabits this strange new world.

In Pikmin 3 Deluxe, you are not only getting the amazing story, but also every piece of DLC. It’s really a bargain, as there was a ton of DLC on the Wii U that is now part of the base package, along with all the new stuff that has been added to the game.

The nitty-gritty

Image via Nintendo

If you read our preview of the game a few weeks ago, you will know that the most unbearable change made to make Pikmin 3 work on Switch was the controls. The original version made use of the Wii U’s unique touchpad controller, allowing for quick actions and an intuitive system. The way you change between your characters was changed drastically to work on Switch, and it’s not great, especially for veteran players who know how innovative it was on the Wii U.

That’s not the only questionable change from the Wii U version. The rush feature, which sends all your Pikmin in a mad dash toward a set enemy, was changed as well. Instead of all Pikmin mad-dashing forward, the game now only sends Pikmin of a certain type. Granted, this was likely changed so that Pikmin that would instantly die to a certain elemental enemy wouldn’t go rushing into a suicidal lunge. 

And to be fair, Nintendo did change and add some things to make the experience work. Despite character-switching being a chore, there are new options available in-game to make the gameplay more fluid, such as lock-on targeting, which is a blessing in disguise during more hectic team fights.

For those who might have struggled with the game on Wii U or are picking up a Pikmin game for the first time, Nintendo has also added a new range of difficulty modes to satisfy you if you’re looking for a challenge or just a good, relaxing time.

What’s old is new again

Image via Nintendo

Pikmin 3 Deluxe brings in some new elements to differentiate itself from previous Wii U titles in the form of extra missions involving Pikmin 1 and 2 protagonists Olimar and Louie, but they aren’t that great — which is disappointing, to say the least.

You are given small timed courses to complete with the duo, which act as a prequel and epilogue to the game. These missions unlock while you finish sections of the main story and are added as filler chapters for you to complete should you wish.

Additionally, Pikmin 3 Deluxe adds a full co-op experience to Story Mode so you can play alongside a friend. It’s definitely a bonus, especially with the clunky controls, and makes playing the game as a duo a bit more enjoyable. There’s no online story co-op play, however, so you’re stuck with whoever you have in your physical household for the time being.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe also sees something we never thought would appear in a Nintendo game: achievements. There is a lot to do, and while they don’t unlock anything by completing them, it’s a nice way to try and do certain things in the game you might not have even thought of, or to just be rewarded for playing the game.

These are all nice additions, but is it really enough to make the game a “Deluxe” version of the original? Debatable, but definitely depends on who you ask.

The verdict

In short, the Switch version of Pikmin 3 is the same game that you knew on Wii U, with a few changes to make it work on the new system. It is one of the last Wii U ports to come over to the Switch, and arguably one of the best games the previous system had — but that’s because it pushed that system to its limit and made the game fun.

While Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a great game, we can’t ignore a few issues that it had in its controls and implementations that hold it back from being a perfect game. Still, the game is as great and as fun as we remember it from seven years ago, and anyone who didn’t play the Wii U version will especially have a blast with it today.

Final score:

8 / 10

+ Much of the same great experience from the Wii U
+ All DLC plus extra content is an added bonus
+ Co-op play is a welcome addition for those looking to get the most out of the game.
The new control scheme is sub-par.
It feels like more could have been added to it to make it a true “deluxe” experience.
Disclosure: Gamepur was provided with a game code by Nintendo U.K. for review purposes.