Alph is only really ever challenged for my heart by the incredible bosses that the game has to offer. They're all unique and all extremely enjoyable to fight. Working out how to take down each boss is pretty simple, but their movement and reactions to your presence add personality to each beast.
Some react to changes you make to the environment, others use it to form attacks. Each charge is pre-warned by astronauts calling out for help. If you find that youíre only halfway through a battle when the sun is setting you can simply leave and return the next day to carry on where you left off, making some fights last over two or three days.
doesnít really feel like a Nintendo game. Itís far too dark to compare to the company's usual line-up, but thereís no doubt that its magic shines through. The game is constantly introducing new elements to keep you on your toes. It even has the old Metroid
mechanic of teasing a player with an area that they canít get to until they revisit later with new skills.
The game really opens up when youíre able to split into three squads, one lead by each astronaut. It never gets too puzzling and the skill and difficulty comes in managing your groups of Pikmin. Youíre tasked with trying to split them up evenly so that you can tackle each obstacle, while considering taking fruit and objects that you find back to base.
Managing three different squads is easy using the game pad. You can set waypoints for the other characters so that they can complete tasks while youíre working on another. But you have to remember to keep your eye on all squads as they go about their business, just in case they get ambushed by hungry monsters.
Itís a game that will have you gripped until the end and beyond as you try and go back and discover things you may have missed during your first run through. But does the third in the series launch it to the same level as other games in Nintendoís catalogue?
You see, there are moments in Pikmin 3
that donít quite match up the quality of the Mario
games. There are times when your Pikmin will get caught on scenery and left behind. Once you realise where these stragglers are, itíll be too late and it wont feel like you're fully in control, more that your group of characters are less united as a unit and more free thinkers that could wander into trouble without fault of your own.
Because of the unique exploration mechanic youíll revisit areas over and over and when travelling to your destination youíll get a little tired of the uneventful walking about in familiar territory.
The controls sometimes feel compromised, with the crosshair not always hitting the target youíre aiming for. That said, it doesnít feel like a flaw as such as I honestly can't see this mechanic being implemented any better than it has been.
These minor gripes barely disrupt the immensely enjoyable experience that Pikmin 3
has to offer. Itís fun, different and constantly surprising and none of this is including the multiplayer, of which I was unable to taste. Damn you, Nintendo, and your fear of internet gaming.
may not be a Wii U seller, but itís certainly a game that current owners of the console will celebrate.
+ Beautiful design
+ Great characters
+ Interesting gameplay mechanics
- Occasional Pikmin AI problems
- Minor control gripes
SPOnG Score: 8/10