Review by WaterDumple

"An innovative, unique, challenging, beautiful game that will steal your heart the moment you start playing."

Pikmin 2 is an exciting, quirky game for the GameCube. Some describe it as a real-time strategy game, but it doesn't really fit the description of any genre. It leans toward action/adventure/strategy, but it's hard to say. Either way, it is a great title.

In the first Pikmin, Captain Olimar, an employee of a deep-space freight company, was on vacation and just flying around for the fun of it. However, an asteroid crashed into his ship sending it plummeting to an uncharted planet. 30 of his ship's parts were scattered across the planet, and his life-support system would only be able to filter the atmosphere for 30 days! Hopelessly wandering around, he discovered a strange indiginous creature with a leaf on its head. He named it a Pikmin. It was friendly and Olimar soon realized that if it carried plants back to its base, which he named an Onion, it wouild create more Pikmin. With a maximum of 100 Pikmin out at a time and 3 different colors with different abilities, he explored the planet, battled monsters, and repaired his ship. Upon returning to Hocotate, his home planet, he soon discovered that his company, Hocotate Freight, was in deep trouble. A new employee, Louie, was on his first delivery mission, carrying some precious Golden PikPik Carrots. According to Louie, a Space Bunny attacked his ship and ate all of them, leaving the company with a massive debt of 10,100 Pokos! Maybe if another Pikmin game comes out we might be given the divine treat of learning what a "Space Bunny" is. There are lots of little unexplainables like this in Pikmin 2, but that's a big part of what makes it so interesting. Back to the story, selling Olimar's ship still leaves the company with a debt of 10,000 Pokos. They soon realise that the Pikmin planet is laden with treasure, so soon Olimar and Louie blast off in another ship to find the treasure and save the company!

In Pikmin 2, you must use the different colors of Pikmin to fight, carry back treasures, explore, and much more. The Control Stick moves a cursor which the Captains follow and shows where you will throw Pikmin. The A button throws a Pikmin at the cursor, your general attack. If no Pikmin are around this will make Olimar and Louie punch, which does minor damage. The B button whistles any nearby Pikmin to you. X disbands the Pikmin, who seperate into groups of their colors, and drops the other Captain as well. Y switches which Captain you control. The C-Stick moves the Pikmin around you, which can be used to swarm Pikmin around enemies and attack. The D-Pad has its own minor functions not worth mentioning and R, L, and Z adjust the camera.

You start out with only Red Pikmin, which are resistant to fire and good fighters. Soon you discover Purple Pikmin, who can carry ten times as much as a normal Pikmin and are great fighters. White Pikmin will dig up buried Treasure and are immune to poison. Also, if they are eaten they will poison the enemy. Yellows are resistant to electricity and can be thrown high. Finally, Blues won't drown in water. It's not overly unique, the abilities generally being color-coded, but nonetheless you really, REALLY have to use your colors wisely. You need to use one color for one enemy, and another color for a different enemy.

You can have 100 Pikmin in the field at once and you don't usually fight more than one enemy at a time, so what makes the enemies hard? Size. Almost every single enemy in the game is bigger than you, much bigger than you, way bigger than you, or in the case of bosses, absurdly bigger than you. Some bosses or tough enemies could, if you make a terrible move, massacre 100 Pikmin all at once. Therefore you must take time to learn a good strategy to beat the numerous, varied enemies. If you don't think it's necessary, when you're watching your dead Pikmins' spirits rise up into the air after a horrible battle, you sure will afterward. Hearing that sad little horrified noise they make when a Bulborb snaps them up and seeing their little spirits rise up into the air sort of...makes you want to make sure it doesn't happen again. The enemies, on the other hand, are quite colorful and varied. A Wollywog might jump upon and crush your Pikmin while a Gatling Groink might shoot explosives at them! Dashing up to an enemy and swarming 100 Pikmin around it will just get a bunch of them killed. You have to come up with a strategy for each one and take them the right way. Of course, it may take a few tries to get it down right. The RESET button will not be uncommon in this game.

The game has some varied, interesting environments to offer, like a snow-covered valley. These are full of little details like petals from blossoming trees falling down, or plants lying around. Sometimes these areas almost look real.

You will see obvious treasures lying around, and then other, more obscure ones in hard-to-reach places. Still, it doesn't take a mastermind to figure out that these “treasures” are just everyday objects to us! Seeing Olimar find the head of a rubber duckie and call it a Paradoxical Enigma is really quite hilarious. Every treasure is huge, showing that Olimar and the Pikmin are tiny, tiny creatures. Your ship has an AI chip so it names every one of them. Some treasures will actually help you out. For instance, the Mega Tweeter, which is really a megaphone speaker, increases the range of your whistle. Every treasure will have a specific weight that takes some number of Pikmin to carry. The same goes for enemies' corpses, which will make more Pikmin if you have your Pikmin carry them to the Onions.

A major part of the game is fighting. As before mentioned, you must come up with a specific strategy for each enemy to make sure all your Pikmin get out alive. Some of them don't even attack you, but may be a nuisance in other ways. A Breadbug, for instance, will carry off treasures and hide them in its nest. There is also a Piklopedia where you can see the enemies you have fought and read Olimar's notes on them.

Another major part of the game is caves. From the surface, they look like holes but when you jump down them (there is no jump button, you just press A in front of them) they are quite different inside. They are very random and varied, and are full of treasures. Enemies are also common in them, but unfortunately a whole lot of the game is caves. Only 26 of the games' 201 treasures are found outside. Still, caves are quite interesting with glowing mushrooms and such. The bottom floor of every cave except the first one has a boss. Bosses are as varied as the enemies, ranging from giant spiders to snakes with birds' heads. The game's gameplay really stands out and besides a large portion of it being found underground, it really is unique and stands out.

As for audio, the game has good sound effects and great music, but unfortunately also a lot of repeating sounds. The Pikmin are always making little noises, and sometimes other sounds are just incessant. The worst is one of the special treasures you get, the Treasure Detector. Acquired bright and early on in the game, this thing beeps when you are close to treasure, but in the enclosed spaces of caves the stupid thing is pretty much always making that awful beep. It's just such a shame that the game's great music is drowned out by this thing. My recommendation is that you go to the Options screen and turn down the Sound Effects by 50% or 60%. The game's music is just too great to be sacrificed at the hands of a stupid little gadget, so I generally play without the Treasure Detector. The game has awesome music, both above and below ground. I've been trying to get my hands on some MP3s of it. It is very quiet, though, so it is a good idea to turn down the Sound Effects' volume when you play.

Then there is Challenge Mode. You get this once you defeat a certain boss and take the treasure it drops. In Challenge Mode, you are in a cave with a set amount of time and Pikmin. Treasures are lying around, and every enemy you kill drops a treasure. There is a key in every floor that takes you down lower, or on the bottom floor, makes a geyser that you can use to come to the top. There are 30 Challenge levels in all, and they are a nice addition to the game. You get a White Flower for beating it, and a Pink Flower for beating it with no losses. You unlock something for getting all 30 Pink Flowers. You can also play a co-op 2-player mode where one player uses Olimar and the other Louie, which significantly increases Challenge Mode's novelty.

Not only that, but there is 2-player Battle Mode. In this you are competing with another player to collect 4 marbles before he does. You collect items to do things like drop bad guys on your opponent and the like. It's very fun, but you cannot play with a computer, a detriment if no one wants to play with you. Otherwise, it's a great addition to the game.

The game has great graphics for the GameCube. It also has a great engine; it can have 100 Pikmin, a huge boss, and lots of action going on all at once without slowing down. The graphics are clean and detailed, although not so much on the Pikmin. Still, it is pleasing to look at.

As for Replay Value, I have played the game 9+ times. Not much more can be said about it.

This game is a great blend of adventure, strategy, and action. Its exciting gameplay and novel idea make it a worthy game for your collection. If you like action or strategy, this game has both. Pikmin 2 may even fit the tastes of a quiet gamer who isn't looking for something too crazy; it's that varied. Its audio hurts it some, but you can fix that just by turning the sound effects down. All in all, it is a great game that shouldn't be shamed by being rented. In my opinion, It rightfully earns a 96/100.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/30/07

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