Hey! Pik­min 3DS

EDGE - - GAMES - De­vel­oper Arzest Pub­lisher Nin­tendo For­mat 3DS Re­lease Out now

Our ex­pec­ta­tions were so low you’d have needed an army of Pik­min to ex­ca­vate them. The past form of de­vel­oper Arzest didn’t ex­actly au­gur well; an un­der­whelm­ing re­veal and medi­ocre demo hardly helped. But while this side-scrolling spin-off is cer­tainly no clas­sic, it does cap­ture the main­line games’ gen­tle, bu­colic essence. The clas­sic strat­egy and mi­cro­man­age­ment might be miss­ing, but the se­ries’ off-kil­ter per­son­al­ity is just about in­tact.

It all be­gins in fa­mil­iar fash­ion with a space­ship crash and a re­pair job for Oli­mar, surely the galaxy’s un­luck­i­est as­tro­naut. He needs an en­ergy source called Spark­lium to power his stricken craft: seeds are in abun­dant sup­ply, but house­hold de­tri­tus, as ever, proves much more valu­able. Per tra­di­tion, the Pik­min du­ti­fully fol­low their bul­bous-nosed leader in tight for­ma­tion. You guide Oli­mar with the Cir­cle Pad and tap the screen to throw his charges – us­ing them to smash crys­talline ob­sta­cles, pull vine plat­forms, and for their crude, but ef­fec­tive, com­bat tech­nique of vi­ciously head­but­ting en­e­mies to death en masse. Some trea­sures are ei­ther in­side or be­yond these crea­tures; the rest re­quire some light en­vi­ron­men­tal puz­zling to lo­cate, per­haps by re­mov­ing a sandy ob­struc­tion to let in sun­light, or

‘MIN-MAXING

Any Pik­min you bring back can be pressed into ser­vice while you ex­plore else­where. Ar­eas around the crash site hold more Spark­lium: send your re­cruits to un­earth it and they’ll usu­ally take a level or two to fin­ish the job. Scan cer­tain Ami­ibo, and they’ll ap­pear as stat­ues to be re­trieved in rather ba­sic, self­con­tained puz­zles. You’ll only get a mea­gre boost to your Spark­lium tally, but it’s worth the ef­fort for the amus­ing flavour text ac­com­pa­ny­ing their en­try in your ship’s data­base. us­ing the sparks from an elec­tri­cally charged cater­pil­lar to un­furl a flo­ral plat­form.

If its mea­sured ex­plo­ration is rem­i­nis­cent of the Yoshi’s Is­land games, the need to keep a watch­ful eye on both screens brings the won­der­ful Yoshi Touch & Go to mind, par­tic­u­larly when you find your­self gaug­ing the tra­jec­tory of a throw from the lower to up­per dis­play. Let your fo­cus drift, and you might not see a bur­row­ing grub fall­ing from the ceil­ing to crush one of your tribe. You don’t need them all to survive, but you’ll want to keep them alive for more than just a gold em­blem: that high-pitched squeak and mourn­ful wail as the poor mites per­ish re­mains deeply up­set­ting.

At times it’s al­most so­porific, though Arzest finds the oc­ca­sional way to break the plod­ding pace. Your jour­ney is punc­tu­ated by short, funny skits, such as a quar­tet of tot­ter­ing rock Pik­min drop­ping a glass tum­bler, or a yel­low scar­ing his friends with a leaf mask. And, mirac­u­lously, its un­der­wa­ter and air­borne sec­tions are cause for cel­e­bra­tion, not least since fly­ing and blue Pik­min re­turn to Oli­mar with a sat­is­fy­ing elas­tic snap.

The clos­ing stages raise the threat level from mild to mod­er­ate peril, es­pe­cially dur­ing a cli­mac­tic bat­tle against a hor­ri­fy­ing el­dritch mon­stros­ity. Oth­er­wise, this is a sooth­ing lul­laby of a game: a leisurely bit of counter-pro­gram­ming that, con­trary to fore­casts, doesn’t dis­grace the se­ries’ good name.

Usu­ally you’ll throw Pik­min to higher plat­forms to re­trieve ob­jects, but you’ll also need them to pro­vide a route for Oli­mar to col­lect them in­stead. An air-brake in his boots will cush­ion his land­ing if his jet­pack runs out

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.