Pikmin 3

Common Sense Media says

Fun and colorful strategy/puzzle game is a Wii U must-have.

Age

2
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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game encourages curiosity, exploration, discovery, and puzzle solving. Its story contains themes of courage and loyalty. It may lead some thoughtful kids to consider and contemplate natural ecosystems and the circle of life.

Positive role models

The astronauts are a good bunch, exploring the galaxy to find food to feed their people. And they care for and help each other when in danger. They like and care for the Pikmin as well, but they also tend to treat these intelligent and obedient creatures as disposable soldiers. They feel bad when they die while helping them, but that doesn't stop them from sending more out to their doom the next day. The game's cartoonish presentation masks this slightly disturbing behavior.

Ease of play

The game provides ample direction via in-game dialogue and lightly hidden text files that offer tricks and tips on how to make proper use of your Pikmin and how best to deploy them. Much of the time players must simply explore and experiment, but it’s all straightforward and intuitive. Battles against boss animals can be challenging, but there's rarely a risk of the player's character getting seriously injured. At worst, players may simply need to retreat and spawn more Pikmin.

Violence

Pikmin frequently assault and are attacked by various bugs, fish, and animals. They attack by batting their petals against foes, and enemies attack in return via wind gusts and by gobbling up the colorful creatures. Pikmin emit a little moan when they perish, and their bodies turn into ghosts that float into the sky. When the attacking animals die, their bodies remain and can be carried away by the Pikmin to help them reproduce.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is part of Nintendo's decade-old series of Pikmin games.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Minor privacy or safety concerns. This game connects indirectly with Nintendo's Miiverse, where players can create, post, and view messages in a community.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Pikmin 3 is a cartoonish strategy game starring a trio of astronauts. They encounter colorful, intelligent plant life (Pikmin) on a strange planet and subsequently command them to perform various tasks or fight wild life. The game's primary focus is on exploration, discovery, and puzzle solving. Its astronaut heroes are clearly good people trying to help keep their home planet fed. That said, hundreds of Pikmin will die through the course of the game. Their bodies turn into ghosts that float into the sky. There is no blood or gore, but the crew's willingness to allow Pikmin to die in service to them is slightly disturbing. Thankfully, the game's bright and cartoonish nature -- plus the cute Pikmin's propensity to quickly repopulate -- keeps the action from becoming dark. This game has an unusual timer, where the campaign mode can only be played a limited amount each day and must be completed within 100 days.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • animals
  • life cycle
  • plants

Hobbies

  • gardening

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • analyzing evidence
  • applying information
  • solving puzzles

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Gorgeous graphics and cute sound effects will help draw kids in, but what will really grab them is the game's clever design, which encourages curiosity and pushes players to explore and discover.

Learning Approach

Kids will learn through observation and experimentation. Puzzles are baked into the world, waiting for kids to find them and figure them out using reasoning and experience -- from both real life and within the game.

Support

Instructions and clues are found throughout the game world in the form of dialogue and discoverable data files containing tips. Kids can also check out Miiverse to find help from the community.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • animals
  • life cycle
  • plants

Hobbies

  • gardening

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • analyzing evidence
  • applying information
  • solving puzzles

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Kids can learn about puzzle solving, strategy, logic, analyzing evidence, and applying information in this smart game of conundrums and tactics. Players need to examine the world they explore, taking note of the properties of objects and the abilities of the flower-like creatures they discover in order to solve contextual puzzles. They'll also have to figure out strategies for fighting off attacking bugs, determining and exploiting weak points and moments of opportunity with the proper Pikmin for the job. Pikmin 3 offers an organic puzzle solving experience that encourages kids to experiment and discover solutions on their own.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Three tiny astronauts crash land on a strange planet in PIKMIN 3. The trio quickly discover a species of intelligent plant life called Pikmin -- colorful sprouts with arms and legs that obediently follow their every command. They use these creatures to help them tear down walls, construct bridges, harvest the fruit they need to survive, and even battle the local aggressive bugs, small animals, and fish that occasionally attack. They find new breeds of Pikmin as the game progresses, including those that can fly and swim, which allow them to access new areas and discover more kinds of fruit. Eventually they learn that there is another alien on the planet -- Captain Olimar from the first two Pikmin games -- and realize that he may hold the key to their escape from this alien world.

Outside of the campaign, players can engage in competitive and cooperative one-off missions to collect items and battle monsters. Another bonus mode sees players using Pikmin to collect fruit matching the lines of a Bingo card. All multiplayer is local and for a maximum of two players.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's been nearly a decade since the last time we saw a new Pikmin game, but it's been worth the wait. Nintendo's overlooked series returns in beautiful high-definition, and its strange but intuitive strategic play remains as engaging as ever. Players still control Pikmin by whistling to grab their attention and then tossing them onto objects or enemies of interest. But the introduction of new types of Pikmin -- such as the black rock Pikmin, which are great at smashing crystals, and pink flying Pikmin, which can carry objects over water -- help create plenty of new play scenarios. Plus, players can now switch between three astronauts each with their own Pikmin squads, using the Gamepad map as a means to keep track of all their multitasking efforts.

The game has a few minor niggles. It can be hard to move and properly target your Pikmin for landing using a control stick, and the timer (each day of exploration only lasts about 15 minutes) means you'll often need to leave tasks unfinished from one day to the next. But on the whole, Pikmin 3 is one of the most original, unusual, and just plain fun games available for Wii U.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about puzzle solving. Do you enjoy word puzzles and riddles, or do you prefer more contextual puzzles in which you must analyze your environment and figure out objectives, obstacles, and how to overcome them?

  • Families can also discuss how people use animals. What sorts of jobs are appropriate for the animals in our lives? How do you know if a job goes beyond a harmless task and becomes cruel? Is it ever okay for animals to die in our service?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii U
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:August 4, 2013
Genre:Strategy
Topics:Science and nature, Space and aliens
ESRB rating:E10+ for Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo Wii U)

This review of Pikmin 3 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old August 7, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Good

As a kid, I played the original Pikmin 1 & 2 . I haven't played it yet but i can be sure there is no language, s*x, drinking or anything like that
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 8 years old August 9, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Really want

I SO want this game
Kid, 8 years old October 7, 2013
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Pikmin

I love the pikmin series.I think 2 is really good,pikmin is a dream like fantasy with lots of cute creatures called pikmin to help you through puzzles,monsters,and the pikmin help you break down fences and stuff
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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