Pikmin 2, originally released for the GameCube back in 2004, has now been re-released on the Wii as part of the Nintendo Selects program. The original Pikmin got the same treatment in 2009, with revamped controls to take advantage of the Wii Remote. Like the previous title, Pikmin 2 is built around the idea of exploring an unknown world through the eyes of a microscopic character. Through the help of indigenous creatures known as Pikmin, you guide Captain Olimar and his coworker, Louie, to locate and collect treasure of varying value in an effort to pay off the debt of the of the shipping company they work for, Hocotate Freight.
Featuring a top-down view that you can tweak, the game focuses on controlling your group of Pikmin to perform various tasks such as defeating enemy creatures, destroying obstacles, or retrieving valuable items such as cans or batteries. There are five distinct types of Pikmin, each represented by a different color. Three types of Pikmin appeared in the original game: Red, Blue, and Yellow. Red is resilient to fire, Blue to drowning, and Yellow to electrical hazards. Two new Pikmin types were introduced in this game: Purple and White.
Purple Pikmin are stronger than other Pikmin, but don’t have immunity to any type of hazards. White Pikmin can resist poisonous gases and are slightly faster than the other types. Purple and White Pikmin are also not bred like the other types and are a result of converting existing Pikmin by throwing them into rare flowers littered around the distant world. These varied capabilities and the limit of 100 active Pikmin mean that there is a level of strategy involved in selecting the right mix of Pikmin necessary for each task.
The game is broken up into days, forcing you to return to your ship to avoid being eaten by the nocturnal creatures on the surface. Any Pikmin that are not returned to their Onion by nightfall, the ship that stores your extra Pikmin reserves, will be eaten. Unlike the first Pikmin, there is no limit on the number of days you can take to locate all 201 pieces of treasure. Another noticeable change in this game is the ability to control two discrete teams of Pikmin, with Louie and Olimar each serving as a separate leader should the task require it.
While much of the game occurs on the surface of the distant world, there are also caves that can be explored. Caves are often multiple levels deep and feature much stronger enemies and bosses that must be defeated to progress. While time doesn’t pass in the caves, giving you an unlimited amount of time to explore, you are limited to the squad of Pikmin that have entered the cave with you, so use them wisely.
The Nintendo Selects release of Pikmin 2 is virtually identical to the GameCube counterpart, with the updated control scheme the only noticeable enhancement. Having played the GameCube version extensively, the Wii controls are a change, but not one that took a ton of getting used to. After a few minutes, being able to point on the screen versus using an analog stick to collect and direct my Pikmin was a welcome change.
This release of Pikmin 2 feels like it was meant for the Wii. If you haven’t had an opportunity to play through this one before, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t at least give this one a thorough look. (With it being a Nintendo Selects title, it won’t break the bank either.)
Pros: Great gameplay, improved controls, low price
Cons: Starting to show its age just a bit