Pikmin 3 Deluxe is one of multiple titles rumored to be on the near horizon for Nintendo. As one of the best titles on Wii U, it’s an exciting prospect for the Switch that could introduce millions of players to the series. Additionally, with its tendency to split gameplay up into short, 15-minute “days,” the Pikmin series has always been a natural candidate for portable play. The deluxe version’s existence is still a rumor, of course, but Pikmin 3 is an absolutely perfect choice for a port.
The mere concept of a Switch port is tantalizing because Pikmin 3 is already an incredible game. With the right tweaks and additions, however, Pikmin 3 Deluxe could do more than just woo series newcomers and Wii U skippers. It could instead iron out and build on the original experience in such a way that entices even the most diehard Pikmin fans to give the game another go on Switch. Here are five ways that I think Nintendo can make that reality.
Side challenges are quick, fun, and creative ways to expand your time with a game. Specific hair-pulling scenarios and bite-sized encounters made for a great set of challenges in Pikmin 3‘s Mission mode, ending up a favorite aspect of the title for many players. Beyond simply packing in all of the DLC missions, one of the best ways to add new content without overhauling or tampering with the intricately crafted single-player campaign is to throw in a handful more missions. I want to see what sort of uber-challenging, especially sadistic situations the developers can concoct for series veterans.
Return of Pikmin 2’s marble multiplayer
The battle mode in Pikmin 2 provided a fantastic competitive multiplayer experience that would beautifully juxtapose Pikmin 3‘s chaotic, fatally random Bingo Battle multiplayer mode if the two were available side by side in Pikmin 3 Deluxe.
For those who didn’t try Pikmin 3 or didn’t dabble in its multiplayer, Bingo Battle is an exceptionally fun mode where players are given a bingo card full of items that can be retrieved from the map. Unfortunately, those randomly generated bingo cards take the fun out of longer play sessions. On numerous occasions throughout my Pikmin 3 multiplayer experience, matches ended nearly instantaneously when one lucky duck had an entire row of their bingo card within a two-second walk of their Onion. This isn’t a debilitating flaw, but considering what Bingo Battle followed up, it proved too hard to ignore.
Alternatively, Pikmin 2‘s multiplayer is nearly impossible to put down. It tasks players with a CTF-style showdown where victory is awarded to the first player who either snags four yellow marbles from the field or steals the lone red or blue marble from the opponent’s base. While some level layouts are asymmetrical, it’s quite rare that a match will end early because of one player having unfair marble access. The consistency and reliable competitiveness are what kept my friends and I stuck to Pikmin 2 even once Pikmin 3 was out.
It feels like a pipe dream, but the more balanced multiplayer of Pikmin 2 would enhance the multiplayer suite of Pikmin 3 Deluxe while lifting up Bingo Battle. I found that Bingo Battle came up just short of standing up on its own, but positioning it alongside a more complete and competitive mode takes the pressure off and fills a need for dumb, random fun that still maintains some Pikmin strategy and action.
Nintendo is behind the times with online multiplayer. I imagine that carrier pigeons somehow factor into the company’s normal operations, nobly fulfilling a role otherwise threatened by pesky, no-good innovations like fax machines and email. Regardless of the reason, Pikmin 3 did not have online multiplayer. Online play is a no-brainer improvement for multiplayer-capable games like Pikmin, especially in COVID times. Online play could even elevate the status of the series as a legitimately great multiplayer experience, so long as Nintendo puts the work in to ensure that its servers can handle hundreds of Pikmin and other creatures moving about in violent battle. It’d be an absolute necessity in Pikmin 3 Deluxe.
Tribute to the first Pikmin’s challenge mode
The original Pikmin had an excellent challenge mode in which you strove to raise as many Pikmin as possible within a single day. It was great fun and a wonderful way to spend 15 minutes. That would be especially addictive on the go, which is why I want some version of this single-day Pikmin-farming challenge to land in Pikmin 3 Deluxe. As with my suggested inclusion of Pikmin 2‘s multiplayer mode and maps, such a feature could help the port celebrate the entire series. That’d be a fantastic move considering how many first-time Pikmin players would likely arrive for a Switch port of the third entry in the series.
Reliable non-pointer controls
One of my biggest disappointments with Pikmin 3 was its shoddy GamePad controls. It made comfortably using the GamePad (and its trusty map) completely nonviable. Nintendo has already proven that it knows how to make the game work on a standard controller with the GameCube, so I’m really not sure why the controls were such a problem on the Wii U GamePad. I just don’t want a similar problem playing Pikmin 3 Deluxe on the Switch, something that I play almost exclusively in handheld mode.
Pikmin 3 on Wii U was luckily salvaged by Wii remotes and pointer controls, which function like a dream and leave the subpar GamePad controls as a distant memory. Although pointer controls are a godsend with this series, Pikmin 3 Deluxe on Switch would suffer immensely if it were not comfortable to play in handheld mode. (Can you hear the Switch Lite owners rioting?) This seems like one of the most simple requests on this list, but having played the original already, if Pikmin 3 Deluxe did not correct non-pointer controls, I’m not sure I’d be in any hurry to pick it up.
What did you think of the original Pikmin 3? What needs to change for you to double-dip for the rumored Pikmin 3 Deluxe? More single-player content in the campaign? Are you fine with a handful of additional challenges and online multiplayer? Or do you need something else entirely? Let us know in the comments below.