Pikmin 4 – Review
Follow Genre: RTS, Puzzle game
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Pikmin 4 – Review

Site Score
Good: Oatchi is a brilliant gameplay addition
Bad: Main campaign could have been more challenging
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(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s difficult to fathom that a decade has passed since Pikmin 3 debuted on the ill-fated Wii U. The Pikmin games may not have enjoyed the same massive success as Nintendo’s bigger IPs, but it hasn’t felt exactly dormant either compared to other titles such as Star Fox or F-Zero. This is mainly because the previous Pikmin games have been ported to the Switch and Pokémon Go creator Niantic has kept the IP in the public consciousness with their mobile game Pikmin Bloom as well. As such, Pikmin 4 may not feel like the long-awaited return of an IP thought dead, but it’s still a title that fans of the series have been clamoring for for a very long time. Was it worth the wait for them? And is Pikmin 4 a game that newcomers can enjoy as well?


Although the opening scenes of Pikmin 4 see players reunite with the familiar face of Captain Olimar, this turns out to be a bait-and-switch on the player’s behalf, as the real protagonist of Pikmin 4 turns out to be a self-created astronaut. Captain Olimar has crashed on the planet PNF-404 and sends out a distress signal, which is picked up by the Rescue Corps, who dispatch a crew to save the famous explorer. Things go awry though, and the Rescue Corps ship must also make a crash landing, with the crew ejecting right before this happens. This leads the Rescue Corps to dispatch their newest recruit, the player character, to head to PNF-404 to find the crew members as well as Olimar. Fortunately, they won’t have to do this alone: PNF-404 is inhabited by colorful creatures known as Pikmin, who are more than eager to lend a hand to the player.


Being a first-party title with cartoonish aesthetics, Pikmin 4 fits the Nintendo Switch like a glove. The game looks absolutely fantastic and runs buttery smooth, with the only visual hiccup being that the draw distance is limited, so objects pop in occasionally. The world is filled with rich and lavish details. There’s also a character creator, tying into the idea of making your own main character, although it’s rather limited. A particularly nice touch is that the chosen color scheme for your own intrepid astronaut applies not just to the player character but also to your spaceship and NPC crew uniforms as well.


Continuing the series’ tradition, Pikmin 4’s characters talk in gibberish, which is fitting for visitors from another planet. The “voice work” is impeccable, with characters expressing emotion through intonation, in a similar vein to Animal Crossing. Likewise, other sound effects and environmental ambiance are good, but the crowning achievement of Pikmin 4’s soundscape is of course its amazing soundtrack. We caught ourselves humming the cheerful piano tunes long after we closed the game, which is a testament to just how catchy they were.


If you’ve never played a Pikmin game before, you might be wondering what the fuss is about and perhaps more importantly, whether or not Pikmin 4 is a good entry point into the series. Rest assured that newcomers and veterans alike will feel right at home here, with Pikmin 4 being perhaps the most accessible entry yet. For the uninitiated, the Pikmin games offer a rather unique hybrid of real-time strategy and environmental puzzle gameplay, where you must guide the titular creatures through a world that resembles a supersized version of a real-life backyard and home. Pikmin themselves are helpful plant-like creatures that possess different abilities. They are color-coded for your convenience too, so it’s easy to identify their type at a glance. Blue Pikmin can walk through water, for example, while Red Pikmin are fireproof. The various Pikmin types are used to overcome environmental obstacles and enemies, allowing you to fully explore the world around you as you seek out useful objects.

The opening hours of Pikmin 4 ease players into how the game works, introducing the various types of Pikmin as well as the true star of this entry: the dog-like creature Oatchi, who takes center stage when it comes to solving puzzles. That’s an impressive feat given the slew of non-Oatchi-centric content included here, including two new Pikmin types and a menagerie of new enemies to deal with. Oatchi serves a number of roles: he can transport both the player character and a whole bunch of Pikmin on his back, sniff out hidden treasure, and is able to jump across barriers. He’s also a helpful companion in combat, able to charge enemies and stun them. As you progress, you’ll also be able to upgrade and unlock new abilities for Oatchi, making him an essential part of your expedition.

If there’s one area where Pikmin 4 could have used a little more oomph, then it would be its difficulty level, especially compared to previous entries. Veterans will immediately notice that the day limit has been removed, meaning players won’t have to worry about having to outrun the clock in the campaign. Not only that, but the game has also implemented a rewind feature, which lets players undo mistakes and judgment errors. The Pikmin series has always been more about strategizing and figuring out the puzzles the game throws at you rather than quick reflexes and action gameplay, so this direction does make sense. Even so, there is something that can be said about completing a level by the skin of your teeth rather than not having to worry about what the game throws at you. It’s the careful balance between accessibility and challenge, and while we’re still not entirely sure whether or not Pikmin 4 gets it exactly right, this more casual approach will appeal to mainstream audiences a lot more than previous Pikmin titles.

While the campaign will take roughly 30 hours to complete, there are plenty of hidden collectibles as well as a sizable amount of post-game content to keep you coming back to the game. Pikmin 4 also offers a co-op mode, but in all honesty, it’s best enjoyed as a single-player experience. Not only because playing the game in co-op makes things even easier, but also because the game isn’t very fun for the second player. Rather than taking control of a second astronaut or even Oatchi, the second player acts more like an invisible assistant, appearing as a floating icon that can throw pebbles at enemies. If you’re a parent wanting to play Pikmin 4 with a young kid, then this could work great to assist them, but for most players, co-op mode simply feels like a redundant addition. It doesn’t diminish from Pikmin 4 as a single-player experience, of course.

If you do manage to complete the campaign, then there is an additional mode to get stuck in, called Dandori Battle. This mode is where Pikmin 4 gets a chance to let its multiplayer shine. Here you can take on friends in an arena, with the aim being to secure as much treasure as possible. It’s a fun little break from the mainline formula and a much more enjoyable way to experience the game with a friend, especially since you can also take on the computer together in addition to PvP matches. Finally, there is an additional campaign, Olimar’s Shipwreck Tale, which unlocks upon completing the main story. This is probably where long-time fans will find the most enjoyment, as this campaign ramps up the difficulty significantly compared to the main story, although it never quite reaches the level of challenge from previous entries. It all adds up to a sizable and attractive package.


A long overdue and welcome return for the series, Pikmin 4 is perhaps its most accessible entry yet. The blend of environmental puzzles and RTS gameplay remains as captivating as ever, and Oatchi proves to be a fantastic addition to the formula. If there’s one issue we have with Pikmin 4, it’s probably that its main story could be a tad more challenging. As a way to unwind and relax, however, Pikmin 4 will be one of our go-to titles for a while to come, at least until we have found every hidden treasure buried in our virtual backyard. If you’re still on the fence, a free demo is available on the Nintendo eShop but trust us when we say that this is one expedition you’re going to want to embark on.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Pikmin 4 - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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