Resisting the urge to write a tome on why the Wii console deserves a better place in history than it seems destined to receive, I’ve decided instead to throw a bone to a pair of Wii discs that fit the theme of this article series. (Do two entries spaced almost a year apart qualify this as a ‘series’?) Prepare for 900 words on the awesomeness that is New Play Control Pikmin and Pikmin 2!

PIKMIN2

It’s a game for kids. Obviously.

 

Beginning in 2009, Nintendo re-released a series of Gamecube titles in North America via Wii disc with controls altered to fit their then-new system. Where once you had analog sticks and big green and red controller buttons to push and press, you now had spiffy Wii remote and nunchuck controls for Gamecube best sellers such as Mario Power Tennis and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.  The idea was to reintroduce Wii controls to players using familiar titles and concepts where the Wii remotes made logical sense. As an extension of this line of repackaged legacy titles, the US also received Metroid Prime 1 and 2 with Wii controls styled after Prime 3: Corruption via the Metroid Prime Trilogy (not-so) limited edition, while Japan was the recipient of Wii Chibi-Robo.

Bratz_Rock_Angelz

I’m still waiting for New Play Control Bratz.

 

While Mario Power Tennis and DK Jungle Beat seemed like natural fits for the Wii, and the Metroid Prime games are incredibly fun with the point controls, it was Pikmin 1 and 2 that really benefit the most from the update. To be honest, I haven’t actually played the Gamecube versions of either game, but after spending so many hours pointing at exactly where I want to throw a Pikmin with a Wii remote, I can’t imagine a traditional controller doing the job any better. Maybe you’ll disagree and, true, I have no basis with which to counter, other than to argue that the New Play Control Pikmin games are the rare type of game that will make you lose all track of time while playing, only stopping when you realize you need a bathroom break or your foot’s fallen asleep. Not since the first Sims game on PC have I lost my sense for the cycles of day and night while playing as I had while playing Pikmin. At least now I won’t miss out on meals like I did in college playing all night and forgetting to make it to the dining hall before it closed. I was popular in college and had lots of friends. No, really! I even talked to a girl once.

 

weirdsim

Perform an image search for ‘Sims weird.’

Horrible, horrible nightmares.

 

Some of that immersion comes from the core game design that hasn’t been touched in the transition to newer hardware. The story, graphics, sound and objectives are still the same, which is a good thing for the most part. The first game’s unfortunate time limit requiring completion within only 30 in-game days continues to dampen the experience a bit. In fact, I restarted my game file about 12 days into the campaign the first time I played it, as it took me about that long to realize how to play the game well and realize the mess I’d made of things to that point. Thankfully, Pikmin 2 is structured so that you can explore and treasure hunt at your leisure, only needing to recall your Pikmin back to base before the moon rises each day.

indytreasure

Dude, you could get 50 Pikmin to take care of that for you.

 

The core gameplay mechanics of building your Pikmin army, collecting ‘treasures’ and defeating all sorts of bugs, grubs and spiders is still in place in the Wii games. Being able to perform all of these tasks with the precision of the new control scheme is freeing and fluid. Using the Wii remote to fight bulborbs and snagrets is incredibly satisfying. Point at the bad guy and launch Pikmin. Simple as that. You’ll have to avoid spamming most of the more advanced enemies with Pikmin, as they’ll squash or eat the little guys, but recalling them back with your whistle is, again, as easy as pointing at the screen and pressing the B trigger.  Bringing enemy corpses and found treasures back to your ship is just as easy, responsive and fun. Rarely do games push me to go for a full 100% completion, but Pikmin 2 in particular gave me such an urge. The thought of more treasures hiding out in caves or buried in the dirt drove me to seek out as much as I could find.

completionist

Nothing funny to say here. I just love Jirard.

 

With the release of Pikmin 3 in 2013, the recommended control scheme did not make heavy use of the WiiU’s gamepad controller (though the option is there). Instead, it was the  Wii remote and nunchuck experience of the NPC Wii titles that many players preferred. This likely has a lot to do with Pikmin 3’s origins as a Wii title during early development, but once you’ve played Pikmin this way, it is tough to imagine a better setup, helpful second-screen maps aside.

club-nintendo-poster3

Stealing fruit and murdering animals. Only on Wii U.

 

If you’ve only played the originals on the Gamecube you owe it to yourself to give them a second chance on the Wii. Players who had a good time the first go-round will have a new appreciation for the intuitiveness afforded by a Wii remote and nunchuck. Newcomers to the series, like I was before playing these reworked versions, will find a new favorite franchise – a real time strategy game cloaked in a colorful candy shell, a technique for introducing games to new audiences that Nintendo is so gosh darn good at.