In a market so awash with generic franchise titles and
Pikmin in a box
seemingly heartless attempts to emulate top selling games from months gone past, games that flirt with an unusual premise are always welcome. And when these are created with as much style, panache and talent as Pikmin 2, they deserve our full respect. Okay, so Pikmin 2 is a sequel, and it does tread the same ground pioneered by its predecessor, but that somehow doesnít detract too much from its originality.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, Pikmin manages to cross a variety of genres. At its heart itís a puzzle game, but itís played more like an action real-time strategy title. Although full blown RTSís are ten-a-penny on the PC, there are few such games made specifically for console: largely because a keyboard and mouse is generally considered the preferred control method for more complex strategising. But Pikmin 2, like the original, boasts typical Nintendo production values: which means intuitive and comfortable joypad-based controls.
Pikmin on a leaf
This all means that Pikmin 2 is the sort of game that almost anyone could enjoy. Whilst titles like GTA San Andreas titillate and tempt consumers with controversially criminal prospects, Pikmin 2 is strikingly angelic with its innocent aura and sunny disposition. Games like this never get coverage in the mainstream press, and yet itís this sort of thing that represents the benign, smiling side of the games industry. Itís a totally child-friendly game and the challenges it throws up could be construed to have a beneficial effect on just about anyone. Herding your Pikmin and gathering treasures is a cerebral and rewarding experience, to the point where weíd even suggest that playing Pikmin 2 actually makes you a better person.