Review by CAHowell

"Meh, it's OK as a rental..."

Pikmin....That sounds familiar...
Never heard of Pikmin? There is a good chance you haven't. Pikmin, a pseudo launch title for the Gamecube, came out in 2001. A fresh and new series, Pikmin was something people have never played before: A game without a clear genre. However, one flaw kept Pikmin from reaching the big time: A time limit. In the original, you had to complete the game within 30 game days, or you would get the bad ending. Fast forward to 2004: Pikmin 2 comes out. While the game has had very little press, most people have been waiting patiently. Finally, it came out, and has met most people's standards. Mine? You will have to read the review to find out.

What the hell is the gameplay, anyways?
The million dollar question on every ones minds who hasn't played the original. Pikmin is part Real Time Strategy, Part raising, and part resource management. The objective of Pikmin is to raise these weird plant-like creatures that you need to solve puzzles, kill bigger enemies, and retrieve different items. Basically, you use your own Pikmin to collect the bodies of fallen enemies, or pellets with numbers on them, and use them to spawn more Pikmin. Once you have enough Pikmin, you can do certain task, such as push a paper bag down, carry a heavy item. or kill a boss. In all, you can have up to 100 different Pikmin on the field.

Furthermore, these creatures are classified into 5 groups: 3 Main Classes, and 2 sub classes. The three main ones: Red, Blue, and Yellow Pikmin are the most common, and the ones you will be using the most. Purple and White Pikmin are the two sub ones, which are very rare, and very valuable and useful. Going a little more in depth: Red Pikmin are mainly fireproof, and can be used to put out fires or defeat fire-based enemies. Blue pikmin have the ability to swim without killing themselves, and Yellow pikmin have the ability to go farther when you throw them, and can take down electric fences and enemies. The two sub classes of Pikmin are unique, in the fact that you have to sacrifice one of your current existing Pikmin to get those, somewhat of a reincarnation process. Purple ones have the strength of 10 Pikmin, and can do more damage in combat, but are slow. White Pikmin have multiple uses: Faster, are resistant to poison, can greatly damage the enemy if eaten, and so on.

The main characters, however, are Louie and Captain Olmar. Not only can you switch with them at any time, but you can do multiple task at one time, without having to go back and forth. I won't go in depth about how they preform, but both of them are the same, and use the same engine as the original pikmin.

The game is broken up into different, selectable stages that run on a time system. While the 30 day time limit has been abolished, you still run on a time system. While above ground, you have to work against the clock, or be forced to waste another day redoing a few things. While the stages are all the same in each game, the events are random. For example: one day, pellets may be growing when you get there, and are available. The next, they may or may not be gone, as well as the enemies. Furthermore, bridges you made the day before are usually destroyed by the next day.

However, the bulk of the game revolves around randomly generated caves and tunnels scattered around the different fields. These are the cream of the crop, since this is where you get the majority of your items. However, I do have one complaint about the cave system: if you die, or run out of Pikmin, you lose every item you collected, and are forced to completely redo the whole thing again. Not only is that cheap, but frustrating, and obviously a way to extend the gameplay of the game.

Needless to say, Pikmin's gameplay is pretty much not like anything you have seen before. However, vets of the original 2001 game will realize pretty much everything is the same. Besides a few minor changes, the gameplay experience has evolved very little. Be warned that if you played the original, you may come into this one a little...bored.

Damn....Those graphics are pretty damn good
While the animation of Olmar, the pikmin, and a few of the field items are the same, the fields themselves look much better then the original, which is something. Everything is very realistic, in the way you would view it from a ant's point of view. Not only that, but Pikmin 2 is one of the first games to use actual brand name products as items in the game (For example: Duracell batteries, Swanson pickle jar lids, etc), are like there real life counterpart, which is simply amazing. However, there are a few sore spots. Caves often look horrible, many enemy animations look the same as they were in the Original Pikmin, and ground textures can range from muddy, or plain out ugly. Nonetheless, it is a technical achievement.

Not much to say about the sound. Many of the sound bits are the same as Pikmin, as well as a good majority of the music. More cutesy and light then anything else. However, the Pikmin do seem a bit more emotional this time around, and isn't too hard on the ears. Too bad most of it is forgettable....

Final Verdict
As much as I would love to give Pikmin a higher score, I just find the game lacking in quite a few areas. Even with the lack of the day limit, you still have to rush to get though. Not to mention a good lack of fields before you reach your goal. While there is quite a few unlockables, the game serves better as a midnight snack that you will forget in a week or two then a full meal. Best I can recommend it as is a rental or two, but not a buy. While this game might not appeal to the masses, it does have some charm in it, but it still is over too quick.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 6/10
Control: 7/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Length: 10-15 hours
Challenge: Medium
FINAL SCORE: 29/40 = 7.0/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/13/04

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