A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hey! Pikmin is an action puzzle game for the Nintendo 3DS. The game is the latest entry in the popular Pikmin franchise and the first to arrive on the handheld system. Players collect and direct a group of small creatures, called Pikmin, who work together to help collect items and bypass obstacles for the player. The game has basic, easy-to-learn controls, though it can be difficult for younger gamers to figure out certain puzzles or to aim accurately. While the violence in the game isn't graphic, players do throw Pikmin to attack enemy creatures, which can sometimes result in Pikmin deaths. Small spirits rise up from defeated Pikmin and enemies to signify their death.
What's it about?
HEY! PIKMIN is the handheld debut of the popular Pikmin series, finally bringing the treasure hunting adventures of Olimar and his army of eager helpers to the Nintendo 3DS for the first time. Once again, our intrepid Captain Olimar has crash-landed on a mysterious planet with no hope of rescue. Instead, Olimar must search for valuable treasures that can be converted to Sparklium, the fuel for your interstellar travels. Luckily for Olimar, a few familiar friends have also made their home on this planet. Once again, Olimar can count on the support of Pikmin, small plantlike creatures fascinated by shiny objects and always willing to lend a hand. With the help of the Pikmin and their unique skills, you must guide Olimar throughout this new world. Help him to recruit Pikmin, uncover wild new treasures, and refuel his ship so that he can make his escape to return to the home and family he's left behind.
Is it any good?
When taking a franchise in a different direction, the challenge is to add something new to the formula while staying true to the familiar original. Hey! Pikmin takes some of the key features from the previous Pikmin games and tries to condense them into a portable experience with mixed results. You're still seeking out Pikmin and tossing them around as needed to do the grunt work and pick up shiny new treasures, but this time you're doing it as a side-scrolling platformer. The change can be a little jarring for fans of the original, especially when it comes to using the stylus and touchscreen to aim and toss your flowery companions. It's effective, but it definitely takes some getting used to. It doesn't help that playing the game for extended periods of time while holding the console from one side can get uncomfortable. That said, the game still has a lot going for it.
Hey! Pikmin is a Pikmin game through and through, and a great entry point for those new to the series. It doesn't rely on knowledge of past games to take players on a new adventure, yet it still has the same bright, colorful, and cheery personality that fans have come to know and love over the years. It's packed full of charm and humor, hitting all the silly notes of previous games. It's got a fair amount of challenge without ever becoming too difficult. It might not have a lot of replay value, but it manages to keep things interesting enough to play to the end. In the end, Hey! Pikmin feels like a spinoff with just enough to bring new players into the fold and to tide longtime fans over until the inevitable release of a "true" Pikmin sequel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about strategy and solving puzzles. What are some ways to apply the skills needed to solve game puzzles in the real world? How can games help a person think creatively?
Talk about the ways we use animals for help. What are some of the positive uses of animals in service? How do we balance the needs of people against the needs of the animal?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: July 28, 2017
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Mild Cartoon Violence
- Last updated: March 16, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.