Pikmin 2

Captain Olimar is back with some more friends


The Lowdown

Pros: Open ended gameplay, more pikmin, e-reader support increases game longevity

Cons: Doesn't feel as fresh, minor graphical upgrade

Purchase at Play-Asia
The original Pikmin game was a surprise hit for the Gamecube. When Pikmin came out few people understood the innovative concept which is something like a mix of lemmings and a brain teaser. The goal of the original Pikmin was to control the little buggers to help repair Captain Olimar's broken ship so he can return home. Pikmin 2 picks off right where Pikmin left off. After Captain Olimar returned home from a long trip he finds out this his company is in some serious debt. His company, Hocotate Shipping, is in debt for 10,000 pokos. The only way that this can be paid off is by collecting valuable treasure (like bottle caps, cans, and other "rare" treasures) from the planet that Olimar just left from. To save his company and his job he sets off to the planet of the Pikmin to find more treasure.

This time Olimar knows better than to go alone and he brings Louie around to help him out. Louie just isn't a character that follows Olimar around, but he is an essential part of the gameplay. In the original game you were able to control Pikmin to do various tasks such as build bridges, destroy walls, battle enemies and recover pieces of your ship. Normally, you would have to assign a task to a group of Pikmin then assign another task to a different group of Pikmin. This way you can achieve two things at once. The one catch with this strategy is that you wouldn't have to physically run over to control each group of Pikmin. With Louie around you can micromanage your Pikmin's tasks even more since he has all of the same abilities as Olimar. Besides micromanagement Nintendo made sure there are specific puzzles that require using both characters. An example of this is at the start of the game where Olimar and Louie are separated by a bag wall. Louie has a few Pikmin and Olimar has a few Pikmin, but neither of them have enough Pikmin to break the wall down. If they each throw their Pikmin on the wall they'll have just enough to bring it down so they can have a happy reunion.

Louie is just one of the gameplay tweaks found in Pikmin 2. Gone from the original Pikmin is an absolute time limit. You don't have to leave in thirty "days" or within in any amount of time. This gives the player more freedom to explore the world at their own leisure. Even though there is no time limit until the game is over day and night still exist. Every time you land your ship you begin with a full day to go item searching. You have to finish before nightfall or you and your Pikmin will be eaten by the inhospitable inhabitants. Just like in the original Pikmin any stray Pikmin (ones that aren't in your control or Louie's control) will become dinner for a monster at the end of the night. So if you want to keep all of your Pikmin alive you'll have to have a watchful eye. Another change is the addition of underground areas. These areas not only expand the size of the levels, but add a new dimension in gameplay. In the underground areas you don't have the ability to make more Pikmin. To make matters worse the underground areas are typically filled with more and at times stronger enemies. This makes players think about how to do battles tactfully to not lose any of their precious Pikmin.

Perhaps the biggest addition to the game are two new types of Pikmin. The fat purple Pikmin are the strongest of the bunch. They can carry ten times their weight and weigh ten times as much. There are new objects in the game that require the strength of over 100 Pikmin and since you can only have 100 Pikmin out on the field at any given time you have to have them carry stuff. The other new addition to the Pikmin family are the white Pikmin. These guys are immune to a new threat, poison. They also have the ability to attack enemies with their own poison for some extra damage. This makes the white Pikmin useful for fighting large enemies. The familiar red, blue and yellow Pikmin all return to make a total of five different types of Pikmin. If you haven't played the original know that the red are immune to fire and are good fighters, the blue are the only ones that can go underwater and that the yellow are immune to electricity and can be thrown the highest.

The presentation of Pikmin 2 is similar to the original game. The music is soothing and subtle. The first Pikmin game focused on outdoor backyard areas. In Pikmin 2 the environments are more diverse such as a snow level. Like the music, the background graphics have an organic feel to them. The scenery is lush. Its filled with plenty of green bushes and reflective water. There is even a nice graphical touch of having sakura petals blow on the ground or a gentle amount of falling snow. While the graphics are generally eye pleasing the style isn't as fresh as the original game. Also compared to other Gamecube games Pikmin 2 doesn't look nearly as great.

Nintendo may have not spent their time improving the graphics in the game, but they spent plenty of time on how to increase the game's replay value. The game itself gets points already because it is open ended. You can spend plenty of time searching the world to collect all of the items hidden in the game. If you need a break from that you can bring along a friend and play a two player game to see who can use their Pikmin and find five yellow marbles the fastest. If you still want more you can use the e-reader to bring in new mini games. Pikmin 2 is sure to please gamers for sometime.

Pikmin 2 expands upon the Pikmin series. It adds new elements of gameplay and multiplayer support, which is sure to please fans of the series. Even though Pikmin 2 may not feel as fresh as the original game Pikmin 2 is still novel compared to the slew of first person shooters and 3D platformers out there.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 3

If you've played the first Pikmin you won't need to worry about understanding how to play the game. Otherwise Pikmin 2 is pretty Japanese heavy. Rumor has it that if you use Datel's Action replay you can enter in the code on the bottom, which translates the game into English

9GFC-V87D-Z0ECC
G4WF-HBFP-TQWT5
J4M9-PD9Y-Z54UQ
YB07-93D9-9KZWJ

US Bound?

Pikmin 2 is going to have its North American debut on August 30th.

Overall

The tiny and cute Pikmin return for a game that is better than the original in many ways and the original was already a great game.