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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Nintendo

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

August 30,  2004

 

 

- A strategy game that works on a console

- Good presentation

- Easy controls to learn

- Light-hearted fun

 

 

- Camera can be finicky at times

 

 

Review: Pikmin (GC)

Review: Future Tactics - The Uprising (GC)

 

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Pikmin 2

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Those Pikmin are soooooo darn cute.  Not only are they cute but the sequel they star in is an engrossing strategy game – a genre that has had limited success in the console world.

 

Pikmin 2 (P2) takes place immediately after the events in the first game, with intrepid (and extremely small) Captain Olimar returning home only to find that the company he works for has been forced into bankruptcy.  The only way to raise funds is for Olimar (and sidekick Louie) to return to Earth and pillage it’s riches.  Not gold, diamonds, or rubies – no, they’re going after the really valuable stuff like a D-pad from a NES controller or a Duracell battery.  But because Olimar and Louie are fragile little guys they put the flower-like Pikmin race in harm’s way to do their dirty work.

pikmin 2 review          pikmin 2 review

There are different Pikmin types that can be discovered and transformed to suit practically any challenge Olimar and Louie face.  Olimar and Louie start with red Pikmin, the most basic Pikmin, to haul valuables back to the ship and pound on enemies.  It’s not long before you’ll have purple Pikmin, which are heavier and stronger than the basic unit.  All told, there are five different Pikmin types of various statue and color-specific abilities.

 

Commanding your troop of Pikmin proves easy.  The brief tutorial really does provide all the basics and the GameCube controller is perfectly suited to the action.  Besides being able to separate the troop into color groups, selecting specific Pikmin, gathering the group, switching between Olimar and Louie, hurling Pikmin, the troop can also be held in rough formations.  It’s full of function and it should be because some of the puzzles Olimar and Louie face are of the brain tickling variety.

 

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Besides the usual boss encounters, there’s plenty of treasure to gather along the way.  Most times a treasure item will be clearly visible but the solution rarely is.  Sometimes a lot of planning and preparation is involved, like feeding the flying Onion to create more Pikmin (no one said it had to make sense!) or splitting up Olimar and Louie for a two-pronged approach.  The original game featured an unforgiving timer that caused more than a little frustration for some gamers.  The timer here is much more forgiving 

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with a generous day/night cycle, where the work has to be done during daylight hours. (At night you have to pick-up and head into outer space.)  This doesn’t apply during the multi-level forays underground when you can take your time.  This new cycle allows more time for figuring things out.

 

pikmin 2 review          pikmin 2 review

 

In terms of style, Pikmin 2 is very similar to the original but with a better camera, which has three zoom presets and can be re-centered on Louie or Olimar with a button press.  There is the occasional instance of “frickin’ camera” syndrome where you can’t quite get the camera to the right spot but as I said, it’s only occasional.

 

The sound aspect is soothing in a cartoon/comic book way.  With so many games using thrashy metal licensed from niche head-banger bands it’s nice to have some lighthearted, original tunes with some pleasant sound effects to carry it all along.  Nintendo has always been very good at this and it applies to this game.

 

Captain Olimar (and, yes, even Louie) could very easily achieve “flagship character” status if they appear on GameCube a couple more times or on the DS in the near future.  Pikmin 2 is a game that gets everything right; the puzzles are just hard enough to be a challenge without being too frustrating, the presentation pleasing and the control spot-on.  If you enjoyed the original or think strategy games just can’t work on a console, Pikmin 2 comes highly recommended.

 

- Omni

(October 25, 2004)

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