Pikmin 3 Won’t Save Wii U, Even Though It Should

Games like Pikmin really should be what people are rushing to buy.

By Kyle England. Posted 08/08/2013 10:00 6 Comments     ShareThis

Captain Olimar isn’t a household name. The vast majority of my acquaintances who I played Super Smash Bros. Brawl with in my early college years knew that he was from Pikmin, but that was it. Even my good friend who uses Olimar as his main squeeze in the fighter has never played the GameCube strategy games. I really can’t knock the good Hocotatian captain for his obscurity, though. Pikmin isn’t nearly as marketable as something like Super Mario or the Legend of Zelda– but it should be.

Anyways, this week, Pikmin 3 released for Wii U in North America (finally!). It’s been nine long years since we last saw the lovable plant helpers in a game of their own. It’s kind of a big deal for Pikmin fans, Nintendo fans, and Wii U owners– but does anyone else care? The stores I went to on August 4 indicated a very small launch with little fanfare. GameStop even told me they were only getting about 8 copies of the game. Is this Nintendo’s doing? Back in June, you could definitely tell that something like Animal Crossing: New Leaf was a hot launch. It doesn’t seem that way with Pikmin 3.

However, I’m not worried about it. The Pikmin games were never huge hits; in fact, the original release of Pikmin 2 for GameCube has become somewhat of a valuable item due to its relatively small print run. What worries me is that I think that Pikmin deserves more than this, and Nintendo seems to think so too in some respects. But truth be told, Pikmin 3 isn’t going to sell very many Wii U consoles.

Nintendo had enough confidence in this new game to have it introduce their 2012 E3 conference, where it shined the brightest out of all the Wii U launch window games. But the months passed, and delays took their toll on most of those games. In some ways, Pikmin 3 represents the difficult Wii U launch, being the first truly big first party title in 9 months. It saddens me to see that spark flare up so late. If only Pikmin 3 had launched back in April or May. Would we still feel the same about Wii U?

I’ve almost beaten Pikmin 3 myself; I’m stuck on the final area at the time of this writing. I can say with complete confidence that this is the best Wii U game yet. It might even be the best Nintendo game of 2013, if that honor doesn’t end up going to something that’s surprisingly good later this year.

Pikmin 3 really shows a side of Nintendo that we don’t get to see that much– it’s subtle, it’s clever, and it’s immediately gripping. A game like this has all the production value of a AAA Nintendo title without all of the flashy names. It’s refreshing to play something made by those developers that doesn’t involve a certain mustached man or his buddies. But what makes Pikmin so much different from the other Nintendo heavy hitters is exactly what keeps it from making it big.

I’m so glad that Nintendo put its weight behind Pikmin 3, but it breaks my heart to know that the game probably won’t get the recognition it really deserves. It’s great for current Wii U owners, but I doubt anyone is going to rush out to buy the console now. But games like Pikmin 3 should be why people want Wii U. It’s an amazing game that’s unlike anything else out there, and it’s only on Wii U with all of the unique features the console has to offer. At closer look, this really should be the landmark title of this new console. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until December when Mario comes to start seeing the bigger numbers.

I’m not suggesting that Pikmin should expand and become a huge series. It should remain as a quiet franchise that shows there’s still unique and interesting games out there. It’s just a shame that series like those aren’t the most well-known. So it shall continue– true space explorers like us will know and respect the good name of Olimar and his friends. I suppose that’s not too bad. Anyways, go play Pikmin 3, it’s great.

6 Responses to “Pikmin 3 Won’t Save Wii U, Even Though It Should”

  • 697 points
    Adam Sorice says...

    Fab article Kyle :D Definitely feel the same way about the Pikmin franchise, it’s not something you can explain in five words (or sentences, even) but it’s got a lot of heart, depth and sheer playability.

    Equally, you’re also right that it’s probably the kind of thing that gamers will buy and really enjoy *once* they have a Wii U rather than the clincher. As long as people enjoy the game though, hopefully Nintendo will continue to make them! :D

  • 690 points
    KisakiProject says...

    Its a great game. The first did decent numbers close to 3 million. I think the second did about half that. Its not exactly big but its bigger than a cult series? Honestly this is why it needed to be there at launch. Best chance of bringing in new people. Or avoided the 3. Its wonderful though if you own a Wii U you owe it yourself to get this game. I’m working on finishing it up with all the fruits.

  • 1379 points
    xeacons says...

    Sad to say, I wasn’t much of Pikmin fan until recently either. Sure, because of the hype, and of course, the works of the Great Miyamoto, I’ve always respected the title, but never bothered playing. It didn’t look like my style. Until I finally got ahold of my Wii U, Nintendo Land, and the Pikmin mini-game; only then did I find out how addictive this game could be. The eShop lacks any demo for Pikmin 3, and it needs one, but in-store demos are always an option. This is Nintendo’s responsibility.

  • 690 points
    KisakiProject says...

    I completed the game last night. I honestly love it. It’s got its flaws but the 15 hours I put into it were a blast. The puzzle solving and exploration was so rewarding. IDK it’s all the things that make Nintendo great in an RTS. Metroid like exploration, Mario like charm, Zelda like boss battles. Xeacons you should just pick it up. The franchise deserves the same degree of fame as any other major Nintendo series. It’s as brilliant in all the classic Nintendo ways.

  • 1294 points
    Robert Marrujo says...

    Interesting article. Pikmin 3, like Pilotwings Resort and Steel Diver, are the sort of games that serve better as complements to stronger launch titles and/or when the system in question is more established. They’re excellent titles in their own right, but it’s unfair to expect them to play hero on their own; for various reasons, they’re too niche. That said, if things had worked out and Pikmin 3 had launched alongside NSMBU, perhaps Nintendo might have had a bit more steam out the gate. As it is now, Pikmin 3 might unfortunately sell even less copies than it would have before. It’s an incredible game and I hope more people will be drawn to it.

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