Pikmin 2

That's unusual product placement...

A while ago, I played Pikmin and wasn't thoroughly impressed. I could see what it was trying to do, I could see how some players would be all over the kind of gameplay it offered, but ultimately, I just wasn't interested enough in playing it myself.

I ended by wondering whether Pikmin 2 would alter my views. And I suppose I also wondered why it, too, was on the 1001 list. Can this gameplay, of ordering sentient seeds to do your bidding, really warrant two entries on the list?

Fun Times

When you fire up Pikmin 2, you dive right in. The back story of the first game is relayed to you in a sentence or two (spoilers: you successfully make it off the planet), before the cutscene continues the story on your home planet, Hocotate.

The business isn't doing well, and now we no longer have a ship to do business with. We don't even have a say in the matter. Not that anyone has a voice - these characters mumble and make noises, nothing more.

Tossing a bottle cap on the floor, Olimar seems to have accidentally stumbled upon a solution to our problems. No jokes about Fallout, please.

I don't know what this thing is, but it has seen our bottle cap and determined that it has a value, and that means our 10,000 coin loan can start to be paid off.

So off we rocket, back to the planet we were stranded on in the first Pikmin to scavenge the land for valuable junk. How are we going to find all this junk? It probably involves silly-looking seeds, eager to do all the heavy lifting for us...

There they are. Getting eaten by a... bug... I don't know. We've lost our crewmate, Louie, averted a crash landing, and run the risk of freezing to death, but first, let's help some seeds.

Fantastic. The controls are the same as Pikmin. It looks the same. It moves the same. I'm sure if I had any memory of how the first game sounded, I'd say the game sounded the same. Why is it on the 1001 list? What is different?

We get to play as another character? We can switch between two people? Is that it?


On paper, I suppose this would be the next logical step in the progression of the gameplay. You can control different types of Pikmin, you can have them in different groups, performing various tasks. Where do you go from there? What if there were two of you?

I can see how that would add to the gameplay. I can imagine the puzzles that now require you to swap between characters on different sides of a locked door or its equivalent. In every way, this sequel seems to be set up as more of the same, and then some.

But I'm not interested in it.

Waiting around for your Pikmin to do their duty is probably intentional. It's not a hectic game, it's a leisurely endeavour. A slow time to reflect on why you're playing Pikmin 2.

With enough Pikmin plucked from the earth and pressed into service, we have enough strength to lift a Duracell battery from the snow. Lucrative junk if ever I've seen it. Let's haul it back to the ship for an assessment of its worth.

Sorry, let's slooooowly haul it back to the ship for a price check.

Paying off 280 coins is better than paying off nothing. We've had an... eventful... day. Like the first game, staying on the surface of the planet at night is a death sentence, so we rocket off into orbit for a little while. Why not into a tree, or into hiding? No idea.

No, no, I am not ready. Another day grinding away? I mean, even though all these Pikmin are doing the work, me, sat here watching, and waiting, is bordering on tedious. What is the appeal? What am I missing? Why am I not having fun?

I spy myself a boss fight, but it seems I don't have enough Pikmin to throw into danger, as one by one they are ruthlessly eaten. Following in their footsteps, I put myself in front of the beast and wait to see what happens.

Ah, lovely. A reason to leave.

Final Word

I don't know why both Pikmin and Pikmin 2 are on the 1001 list. They are damn near identical, only the sequel has another character to control. Granted, I've seen very, very little of either, but I have seen enough to know that I just don't care about what I'm seeing.

Sure, the Pikmin are still as adorably dopey as they were in the first game, but that's just not enough for me. Yes, the gameplay is sort of unique, especially on the GameCube, but that's not enough either. The theme and the setting stand out against everything else too, but you know where I'm going with this sentence as well.

There is something about Pikmin that just isn't doing it for me, and the 1001 list has seen it fit to double-check with Pikmin 2, and I can do nothing but confirm my lack of interest.

That's how it goes sometimes.

Fun Facts

The 30-day time limit from the first game was removed to relax the pace of this sequel - which ended up dragging out the game even longer.

Pikmin 2, developed by Nintendo EAD, first released in 2004.
Version played: GameCube, 2004, via emulation.