Pikmin 2 continues the travails of Captain Olimar, he's been rescued from the planet in Pikmin 1 using the endogenous Pikmin species to recover the parts from his ship. Now, he returns to his company but is told he needs to raise some cash to allow the company to survive so he returns to the Pikmin world and goes on a treasure hunt.
On the world we encounter our old pikmin, red, blue, and yellow but eventually we meet three others. However, yellow has changed from bomb throwers to being able to withstand electricity, their use is similar to the original pikmin as they take down barriers except in this version the barriers are electrical instead of made of stone.
White - small and fast and gas resistant
purple - really hard pikmin, they are the strong man pikmin but move very slowly. They have the strength of 10 pikmin.
We also have caves on this world and in them we meet a strange pikmin called Bulbmin, they are parastic and help the astronaut kill the beasties in the caves but they never leave the caves. In fact they are a bit creepy all round!!
Pikmin 2 is more of an adventure than the original pikmin, theres no time limits and the treasures are all in jokes from previous nintendo games from days gone by.
The game is very similar to the first but is in truth better, the challenges are more complex and well thought out. The route to some of the treasures requires coordinating the efforts of your various pikmin, the game retains the 100 maximum pikmin available at one time so by the end juggling your pikmin is a challenge.
Caves are cool, and have special rules. Time stops when you enter one meaning the need to get your pikmin back to the ship before dusk vanishes but your only allowed to use the pikmin you took into the cave at the start. They tend to be a bit creepy and the challenges are of a more extreme kind, using Bubmins is a help but they are strange.
There is a two player version where Dolimar has a competitor Louie, they are competing to get yellow marbles and use their pikmin to accomplish their aims, the winner gets their marbles first.
I loved the first pikmin but the second is far better, the game play is more refined and writers have really taken the best bits of the original and decided what works well and removed any aspects which didn't. Removal of the 30 day limit has greatly expanded the game and leaves the series open to a third, which I'm pleased to here is coming on the Wii pretty soon.
Have you ever wondered if there's life on other planets? Or maybe there's life on this planet that we haven't yet found? Well, Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's mastermind, certainly thought about such things. Creative man that he is, Miyamoto developed this idea into a game, titled Pikmin, and released in 2001. Thanks to its monumental popularity, it's no surprise that Nintendo released a sequel, Pikmin 2, in summer of 2004.
The story in Pikmin 2 picks up where the original game left off. Olimar, the tiny, large-headed hero of the first game, is the captain of a rocket for a freight shipping company. After crash-landing on Earth, he returns home, only to find his employer, Hocotate Freight, in ruins. In order to save the company and satisfy his superior, he must return to Earth with his forgetful sidekick Louie in order to salvage treasure that will bring Hocotate Freight back from the brink.
Once Olimar lands on Earth, he immediately goes to work in a similar fashion to the first game. Luckily, a number of tiny, flower-like creatures named Pikmin are present and are ready and able to do his bidding. With the help of these, for lack of a better word, workers, Olimar begins searching for treasure on this mysterious planet.
Think controlling an army of little mindless microscopic creatures is difficult? Think again. Thanks to the top-notch controls in Pikmin 2, you'll navigate the game's many menus with ease, and victory on the field will challenge you to think, rather than having you worry about which button to press. Directing your Pikmin and giving them orders is a delightfully simple task, and allows you to have so much more fun with Pikmin 2. The controls are slick and intuitive, and work wonderfully with the game.
Speaking of wonderful, the graphics fall into a similar category. At first glance, Pikmin 2 may not seem like any graphical marvel, because its art style is undeniably unique. Once you've spent some time with the game, however, the subtle art style really starts to rub off on you. Objects and environments in the game aren't entirely realistic, but they are incredibly immersive. In my opinion, Pikmin 2 sports among the best graphics of any GameCube, because they do what graphics are supposed to do: make you forget that you're in your room at 2 in the morning, and trick you into thinking that you're right there with Olimar and Louie, fighting that huge pus-filled beetle that's blocking your way to a priceless battery.
While you only start out the game with a small number of Pikmin at your disposal, your troops will quickly multiply. When you bring items back to your base to have them converted into cash, many items will also create little Pikmin spores. If you wait long enough (though it's not really that long at all), these little seedlings will grow into full-fledged Pikmin, and they'll join your little group.
And trust me, you're going to need as many soldiers as you can muster. I don't know if you know this (you probably don't), but when you're a microscopic little guy in a space suit, everyday objects and creatures seem huge. Planet Earth is ridden with bugs and monsters, and you'll have to rely on your Pikmin to take them out for you.
Don't worry about the cute little guys, though, because they're more than capable of taking care of themselves. There are a number of different types of Pikmin, all with special abilities. Yellow Pikmin can survive electric shocks, while blue ones are safe from drowning and red ones are resistant to fire. Pikmin 2 includes two new types of Pikmin not present in the original game: purple Pikmin, which are insanely strong and heavy, and white Pikmin, which have X-Ray vision and are poisonous to enemies. The wide variety of Pikmin is great, and really encourages you to try out different strategies for fighting enemies and bosses.
It's rough enough making it by on the surface of Earth, but it becomes even more challenging once you venture below ground. There are a number of caves that can be found throughout the game, and this is where the best treasure will be found. Unfortunately, though, it's also where the toughest enemies reside; almost all your boss fights will be underground. The boss fights are a high point in the game; not because of their necessary originality or grand scope, but because they encourage you to be very ingenious. Do you opt to lure the foe out and beat him up with your heavy guns? Or do you sacrifice one of your poisonous Pikmin have your foe kill itself once it gobbles up the poor guy? The numerous options and open-ended fights make every boss a joy to engage.
Another great thing is that game play is very similar, at least in the regard of being open-ended. This may sound weird, but Pikmin 2 reminds me a lot of a Metroid game. You go around, doing what you can. As you make further advances (in the case of the game at hand: finding new colors of Pikmin) new areas are opened up to you. There's never anything you have to do at any given time. Just keep on searching for treasure and chipping away at your huge debt. It's great fun, and it really ensures that you'll never get stuck in the game.
This brings up a mild problem with Pikmin: it's quite easy. Difficulty is the trade-off for the great sandbox-style game. Because you can pretty much do whatever you want, whenever you want, Pikmin 2 can be as easy as you want it to be. Playing the game at your own pace is undeniably fun, but there's no difficulty at all to speak of, which is rather saddening. Still, though, I think it's fun enough to make up for the ease with which it can be played.
A wonderful addition to Pikmin 2 that wasn't present in the original game is that of multiplayer. Now, you and a friend can duke it out head to head; one person plays as Olimar, the other as Louie. There are a number of stages and handicap settings, and then the war begins! Rather than simply beating the poo out of your opponent, the idea of Pikmin 2's multiplayer is to capture marbles. Netting four neutral marbles will crown you the victor. An quicker, though more daring way to achieve victory is to merely steal your foe's marble, but this'll require quite a bit of strategy and planning. And remember, as Confucius said: You cannot move your own marble! The multiplayer does a wonderful job of extending your time with this great game, and gives you the chance to share some of its fun with your friends.
Despite its one minor shortcoming, Pikmin 2 is one of the best games out there for the Nintendo GameCube. It's fun, innovative, and immersive, and reminds you exactly why you love Nintendo so much. Add that fantastic game play mechanic to a 20 dollar price tag, and you've got yourself an instant classic. If you don't own Pikmin 2, go out and get yourself a copy now!
(also on gamefaqs)
Before I write this review, I have to tell you a few things about myself. Firstly, I love video games. I'm not into fighting games or shooting games or anything, but I'm a huge fan of games like Zelda and Mario, that are fun but not to easy. Secondly, I am totally obsessed with cute things. I know a lot of girls are, but if I see something cute I have to have it. In my bed at home have a cuddly yoshi (so unbelievably cute) and a little cuddly thing that I bought from a gift shop in Edinburgh that says it's a haggis, although it looks nothing like one. I bought it anyway because it was absolutely adorable, even though it was £5 and I was running short on money.
So, being a person that loves video games and is a slave to cuteness, what could be a better game for me than Pikmin? Pikmin are absolutely adorable little things, with huge eyes that stare at you, and they follow you around and do what you tell them to. How much cuter could you get?
Before I played it, I had seen Pikmin in shops before and not bought it, even though it looked adorable and I had a gamecube, because it was usually £30 (rip off) and by the name I used to think it was something trying to be the new Pokemon, which was an assumption I made just by its name. However, last year I got a nintendo wii for my birthday and so brought it up to my boyfriend's so we could all play on it. His flatmate told me that he had Pikmin 2 on gamecube, but since he didn't have a console to play it on, he offered to let me borrow it and play it on the wii. Of course I said yes, as who am I to turn down a free game?
Upon starting to play, it became obvious quickly that this was in no way trying to be Pokemon, and my assumption was totally wrong. The story of Pikmin 2 picks up from the end of Pikmin 1, which I haven't played, in which a small alien person thing (Captain Olimar) crash lands on a planet, and with the help of Pikmin travels around trying to find the pieces of his ship so he can get home.
This, the sequel, has a similar story - the company that Olimar works for is in financial trouble, so he and an employee Louie go back to the Pikmin planet to collect treasure to sell, as a couple of things that Olimar brought home with him were found to be valuable. So after landing on the planet you refind the pikmin, who help you in finding treasure (well junk) that you can sell to erase your company's debt. Your spaceship is also helpful in this task, as it gives you advice etc. when you get to new places.
I like the story of Pikmin 2, as its a fairly simple idea that gives the game quite a lot of freedom: yes your objective is to get enough money to pay off the debt, but a lot of the time you forget about that, and spend more time trying to find new pikmin and new areas to explore.
These little things deserve their own section, as they're the heart of the game and also achingly cute. This game features five different types of pikmin in different colours: red, blue, yellow, white and purple. Players of the first game will recognise the red blue and yellows, but the white and purple are new to the sequel. Each Pikmin is basically the same, little and cute, with either a leaf, bud or flower growing out of their heads, as pikmin are actually plants. Aww. To get new pikmin, you get your existing ones to kill an animal or flower, and the thing that they take back to their homes (bizarrely named onions) then causes little pikmin to sprout out of the ground. I thought this was a great idea, as the longer you leave the pikmin in the ground unpicked, the more powerful they are. For example if you pick it straight away, it has a leaf, but if you wait a long time until it has a flower, it is much quicker and more mobile, and therefore is much better to take into battles et cetera.
Each colour of pikmin has its own use - for example, blue pikmin can walk through water, whereas other coloured ones drown (which is very sad, as they scream and I feel so guilty for leading them there by accident), and the red ones don't get set on fire et cetera. This means that choice of pikmin is important when you're giving it a task to do, as if you throw the wrong coloured pikmin at something you could kill it.
Honestly, these things will make you smile, unless you're somehow immune to canny little things that do anything that you ask them to. I tried to see if I could get a cuddly toy version of these somewhere, but I don't think they make them :(
Ok, so story and cute creatures aside, the gameplay is the most important thing. Good plot and characters means very little if the game isn't enjoyable, but fortunately, this game is great! There's a lot of strategy involved, as some moves could kill a lot of your pikmin, but also a lot of random exploration which often ends up in finding something that will help you - be it treasure or a gateway to somewhere exciting. There are four areas in the game, which you unlock by finding specific items, and at the start of each day you decide which one you want to go to. A day lasts about 15 minutes, and after this time you have to make sure that you have all pikmin either with you, in the ground or in the onions or they will be eaten by night creatures when you and the ship go into orbit for the night. The fact that you have to stop everything at the end of the day can get rather annoying, as I often find something new at the end of the day that I want my pikmin to work on, but then I have to put them away instead and waste time getting back to the same place the next day.
However, all in all I can't really complain, as this is a great game with lots to offer. It does involve strategy but is still fairly simple, and you can get by in it even if you're not that bright or experienced with video games, so don't worry!
I honestly rarely listen to the sound on the game, as I prefer to listen to a CD while I play. When I have listened to it though, I have noticed a lot of ambient sounds, such as baddies moving about and pikmin destroying walls etc, and (oh how cute) the pikmin sing 'dum dum dum' while following you around. Aww. I think there is a gentle music in the background, but to be honest, the sound isn't hugely important in this game, and there's nothing wrong with it anyway.
The graphics are fairly standard for gamecube games - nowt to complain about, but obviously they're not Playstation 3 standard. They're fine though, and because this is clearly fantasy, nothing is meant to look sharp and clear and lifelike. A lot of the items in the game are objects that we have on Earth (as I think the pikmin planet is meant to be Earth in the future) such as strawberries and batteries, but they're absolutely huge, as the aliens and the pikmin are very very small.
I've been playing this on and off for a couple of months now, and am only about 60% of the way through the amount of money I need to collect to finish the game, and haven't even found the last area. Saying that, I reckon by the time I finish it I would've spent about 35 playing it, but that's only to finish the game's objective. If you want to find every single piece of treasure in the game, you could spend mayble another ten hours doing so. Really, it depends how you play the game - if you spend a lot of time each day growing new pikmin and exploring, then you're going to have a longer game time than someone who just does everything in order and to the bare minimum.
I would definitely recommend this game to anyone who has a gamecube or wii, as its a lot of fun and good for all ages. I recently saw Pikmin 1 for £5 in Grainger Games, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to get this for that cheap. On amazon they only have it for £35 used and new (jesus), although the original is only £5! You could hunt around on ebay and hopefully get a good deal. If not, why not try the first one? I'll probably try the first game soon, as I enjoyed the sequel so much. Go and and play this!
The gaming industry at the moment is full of sequels and licenses. While lack of imagination is a cause because of the spiralling costs of developing games and no guarantee of a return developers just cant take the risks these days to develop new franchises. Even Nintendo are prone to this and while its first-party games are some of the best out there for this generation they have mostly all come from well-known franchises. Pikmin was its first attempt in a few years to create a new franchise on its new home console. Coming out a few weeks after launch it was defiantly a highlight of the GameCube roster and because a firm favourite even if it was a little short. As little as a year later the sequel was to be released but was delayed a further year. Did this give Nintendo time to make significant changes or is this just more of the same?
Pikmin 2 begins straight after events of the first game. Captain Olimar, with the help of his Pikmin army, has managed to repair his spaceship and is back again on his home planet but it seems all is not well. It seems that his company, Hocotate Freight, is in a spot of bother. Thanks to the bumbling President they are massively in debt and the company could go under very soon. Luckily for them the ship detects that theres a load of treasure on the Pikmin planet so the President instructs Olimar to go back and get enough to pay off the debt. He isnt going to go alone this time though and he takes his work partner Louie to lend a hand.
There are a few major differences to this and the first game. For a start the 30-day time limit has been scrapped. Personally I found the time limit in the first game no problem but others didnt like to be rushed. Pikmin 2 gives you unlimited time to gather all the various bits of treasure making it feel a bit more relaxed. The same day and night cycle, however, still exists so you have roughly 20 minutes playing time before the sun sets and you need to pack up and go home. There are also two new types of Pikmin. You have the burly Purple Pikmin who can lift up to ten times their own weight but are rather slow on their feet. The White Pikmin with their red eyes actually dont look as scary in-game as the screenshots suggest. These little fellas, half the size as other Pikmin, are great at sniffing out buried treasures and, when flung into the mouth of a beast, can poison them though they still get eaten; it isnt easy being a Pikmin. Louie also adds a new aspect to proceedings. While he can be pretty much left alone in the first few levels it soon becomes clear why theres a new character. Some puzzles require the use of two people and luckily switching between them is fluid and easily done by the press of a button.
Another big difference is that Pikmin 2 is the cave areas underground the normal levels. These cave areas consist of sublevels and each floor will contain a certain about of treasures which you must search for with your army of Pikmin. The cave areas are also where you can pick up the new colour Pikmin. Strategy comes into play more in these levels because you cant replenish your Pikmin numbers whilst you are in the cave areas aside from a few floors in-between meaning that you need to be careful not too many of them die when in battle with the various beasts. Speaking of the beasts there are a load of new additions than in the previous game and there must be some vivid imaginations at Nintendo to come up with a few of the beasts you will see in the game. With the new cave areas and beats the difficulty level has increased giving you much more of a challenge. The new Pikmin types means that more forward planning on levels is essential to get passed the various obstacles. Bosses are bigger and badder than ever and its not uncommon to loose a load of Pikmin on your first attempt on them before you work out their attack patterns.
Pikmin 2 is gorgeous. Differences arent hugely apparent from the original straight away but there are a few touch ups. Environments are a lot more detailed than before, textures are more elaborate and therell be leaves falling across the screen from time to time, its these little details that make the game a joy to look at. Character models are high quality and the new beats are nicely designed and unique. Lighting effects are used well, especially in the cave areas and water effects are some of the best out there on the consoles at this time, totally realistic looking and moving. Sounds are solid throughout. Pikmin are as cute sounding as ever, humming little songs as they go round working. There isnt that much difference in music styles but the limited number we have are fairly memorable.
The game has a load of great Nintendo touches and quirky features to make the package complete. The main menu has hidden touches if you press the right buttons on the control pad. You also get the Piklopedia and Treasure Guide. The Piklopedia is a reference guide to everything you meet on your travels, beasts and plants alike and the findings are wrote down mentioning characteristics about the certain things. The Treasure Guide works in the same way with a description of the treasure and also the Ship gives a sales pitch to them. With literally hundreds things to find this is a fairly substantial part of the game that, while not essential, is a great addition.
The length of the game, cited as one of the originals main weakness, is significantly beefed up here. There may only be four main areas in this game (as apposed to six in the original) but these are a bit bigger in scale. There are also fourteen caves in total to explore. These caves may start off fairly small with only a few sublevels but by the end of the game you can see an average of twelve massive floors meaning that you can spend an hour or more in one cave though luckily your game is saved each time you go down a sublevel. This means that an average play through can take around 25 hours to complete depending on how many treasures you want to find, a vast increase on the first game. Nintendo have also added a Challenge mode to the game made up of various floors, these floors contain the usual treasures but you have a time limit this time and theres also the extra challenge of not losing any Pikmin and with a load of levels, increasing in difficulty this means more hours of play time. The challenge mode can also be played in 2 Player and this comes along with a 2 Player Battle mode where you must compete against the other player for treasures by being as nasty as possible.
Bad points of the game are very few but some niggles do come about. While the game is saved at each sublevel in a cave so if mistakes do happen you dont have to restart the whole cave it does still mean you have to get up and hit the reset button on your GameCube, an in game command to restart the level would have been welcome. Splitting up Pikmin, while easily done, is slightly cumbersome when you just want a particular colour as you can often blow you whistle and get a few Pikmin you dont want so you have to split them up again and repeat the process though this only tends to happen when spaces are cramped.
Pikmin 2 improves on the original in every possible way and because the original was great in its own right this game is a must-have for any GameCube owner. Nintendo obviously didnt want to rush out a straight sequel, something they could have easily done and not received much complaints about it but they took the extra year to refine and expand on the ideas of the original and introduce a whole load of new additions to the game.
[8 out of 10]
PIKMIN 2 IS
An improvement on the original
A collectors dream
PIKMIN 2 IS NOT
Just for one player
A walk in the park
A lazy sequel
Pikmin is one of the only must have games on the Gamecube, not because there isn't better games but because it is the only brand new franchise developed by Nintendo on the system. In fact only Metroid Prime comes close to the inventiveness and freshness this sparkling new series from Nintendo offers.
And so it is with great enthusiasm that we welcome the second in the Shigeru Miyamoto garden series of games. Fresh from their cameo appearance in Mario Golf, the red/blue/yellow Pikmin return for another collection of strategic puzzles. This time though Nintendo have made a few choice additions to the franchise. Olimar is no longer alone, Looie, Olimar dim-witted but brave assistant, joins him. Also you can now sacrifice any of the traditional 3 Pikmin into a flower changing them into brand new Pikmin. The ickle whites are fast, locate treasure and immune to poison. The purple Pikmin are strong and can lift with the power of 10 Pikmin. Nice. There is also the opportunity to control mini-bulblaxs (a variety of enemy in the game). Kill the mother and the little critters are yours and they are immune to everything, fire, poison, electricity, water... you name it. You can only use them in the caves though.
The caves are a key feature to the new game. Time does no pass in these zones, which adds length to the game, which was a serious complaint about the original title. You also are unable to replenish Pikmin in these zones as well though and so you must get from beginning to end, defeat the baddies, collect the items and raise the cash for your debt ridden company (which is the rather comical storyline). The size of the game is very important; to free your company from debt takes no longer than the original yet you are given the opportunity to continue, save lost Looie and raise more money. The later part of the game is tough and for real Pikmin enthusiasts, the later levels even contain parts of the original game. Which is fun to spot.
The game is very similar to the original. It has had enough new ideas injected into it to keep it feeling as fun as the first but you are in similar territory. Berries can be made into potions, which can create super Pikmin or freeze baddies with the touch of the D-pad. Some puzzles have changed, yellows no longer carry bombs and there are a lot of new challenges with the new Pikmin coming into use (the whites are needed to locate buried treasure for example). The multiplayer is extremely good fun and will keep you coming back again and again. The overall time limit has gone and Looie allows you to tackle two problems and once. But these are still extras built around a solid award winning formulae invented in the first game.
You really won't find a much better game on the Gamecube. Picking up the various items (from peanut butter to batteries) and seeing the rather amusing titles given to them by the talking ship, listing to the Pikmin chant as they walk, the lush graphics all make this a must own for any Nintendo fan.