The Pikmin 4 release date is July 21, 2023, but that still gives you plenty of time to fall in love with this wonderful series before it drops on the Nintendo Switch.
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The candy-colored visuals.
Shigeru Miyamoto rivals Walt Disney when it comes to creating some of the most imaginative and beloved characters of the modern era. Though not as famous of Nintendo’s red-caped plumber, Pikmin are without a doubt just as original and note-worthy. While relaxing in his garden one day, Miyamoto watched a colony of ants and imagined them as human-like creatures. He thought about the impressive way they worked together and how fun it would be to lead them around the garden as a shrunk down version of himself. Pikmin brings this simple idea to life.
It’s a game series that brims with life and color. Everything is sunny, cheery, and cute in the world of Pikmin. Even the fighting and killing is charming as you toss the happy fellows into battle; they do it joyfully, shouting with glee.
A real-time strategy classic disguised as a kids game
You can play through an entire Pikmin title and not even realize you’re playing a real-time strategy game; a genre that’s fun and rewarding, but often intimidating to casual gamers. With Pikmin’s wonderfully singular presentation, you might think no other game exists like it, but at it’s core it shares mechanics with RTS classics like Command and Conquer and StarCraft.
Rather than mining ore or minerals to build a realistic army of human soldiers, the Pikmin games have you sending your little creatures out to harvest pellets from flowers, delicious looking fruit, and sticky globs of sap. You lead your jubilant team of Pikmin as they explore garden-like worlds with puddles are the size of lakes, collecting lost pieces of your spaceship or hidden treasure to complete the game.
The music and voices are endearing
At the start of every Pikmin game you’re greeted with a voice saying, “Piiiiiiick-men” as the Nintendo logo pops up. A sign of things to come. Little details like this help the music and sounds play just as crucial a role as the visuals in this charming series. As you lead your Pikmin around they chant a rhythm “eh eh eh.” When you throw them they “wheeee” and “hi-yah” when fighting. To recruit Pikmin to your side you blow a whistle, they cheer and run to your side.
Hajime Wakai composed the music for Pikmin 1-3, and is back again for the Pikmin 4. His scores offer relaxing melodies while exploring, but change dynamically when an enemy approaches or night falls, forcing you to scramble to bring all your creatures back to home base.
It’s just really fun to command your little Pikmin army
Whether you’re playing with an original GameCube controller or using motion controls with a Wii Remote of Joy-Cons, leading your Pikmin crew around is just pure fun. Toss them into battle, have them tear down walls to solve environmental puzzles, or explorer the back yard as you hunt for treasure to haul back to your spaceship. The experience of controlling your Pikmin is both relaxing and exhilarating at the same time.
One note of warning, though. A new player may be discouraged by their actions leading to the lovable Pikmin dying, but ultimately must come to terms with this Nintendo classic reminding them of the transience of life. Pikmin get into just as much trouble without your interference anyway, and just remember: it’s only a game.
The Pikmin 4 release date is July 21, 2023. New players can jump right in, but I encourage you to play the series from the beginning. Pikmin and Pikmin 2 can be played on GameCube and the Nintendo Wii and Pikmin 3 can be enjoyed on the Wii U and Nintendo Switch via the Pikmin 3 Deluxe remaster. If you’ve ever wondered what you’re missing, give Pikmin a try. It’s was a personal blind spot for me, and that I finally gave the series a shot recently.