Future Pikmin Games Should Shake Up The Formula a Bit

Highlights Pikmin 4 is a treat for fans with its unique world, polished gameplay, and adorable Pikmin characters, fulfilling fans’ expectations after a 10-year wait. While the game stays true to the series template, it introduces new features that make it stand out; however, it may play it too safe in certain aspects. The franchise’s story has always been a weak point, with each game following a similar plot structure. It would have been nice if Nintendo had tried something new with the narrative in Pikmin 4.

The long-awaited Pikmin 4 has finally arrived, and it has been a treat for fans of the franchise so far. The world is as unique as ever, the gameplay feels polished, the Pikmin are adorable, and it feels like everything fans have been wanting for 10 years. It not only stays true to the series template but also introduces a plethora of new features that help make this entry stand out. However, some parts of Pikmin 4 may play it a bit too safe.

Players have been able to go on a unique journey across four iconic RTS titles, but the actual story has never been the franchise’s strong suit. Almost every Pikmin game seems to have a remarkably similar plot structure that seldom deviates, and Pikmin 4 is no different. While the game is still a blast to play, it would have been nice if Nintendo had tried something new with its narrative beats.

It is Time for Pikmin to Change A screenshot from Pikmin 4 showcasing the player and their pikmin encountering a red bulborb.

The first Pikmin game shined with its unique puzzle-solving gameplay, but its story was never the strongest part. Players took control of franchise mascot Captain Olimar as he crash-landed on a mysterious planet filled with Pikmin. He had to utilize these Pikmin to help him explore the world, gather various ship parts, take out hostile creatures, and escape the planet in 30 days. Once players gather everything they need, Olimar leaves the planet and races off into the stars.

While Pikmin 2 told a very different story, Pikmin 3 returned to the tried-and-true template of the first game. Players took control of three brand-new characters after they crash-landed on a new mysterious planet. They once again have to use Pikmin to navigate the world, solve various puzzles, collect resources, and also save Captain Olimar from peril. The initial setup may be different, but the actual story feels terribly similar.

Pikmin 4 has once again redone the crash-landed storyline with a new cast of characters. This time, players control their own custom character as they help save the Rescue Corps that crash-landed on a mysterious planet. They must use these Pikmin to explore the levels, solve all sorts of puzzles, collect various treasures, and also ultimately save Captain Olimar from danger. While Nintendo added a slew of new features to help reinvent the gameplay, the story should be awfully familiar for series veterans.

There is nothing wrong with having a simple story, but Nintendo could do a lot more with the Pikmin series if it really wanted to. There is a vast sci-fi galaxy out there brimming with unique stories to tell and new Pikmin to discover. Players may have to take on a vile being bent on destroying the galaxy, they may have to save a planet from disaster, they may have to traverse the galaxy looking for lost secrets, or they could simply help Captain Olimar finally retire. There are so many different things Nintendo could do with the concept, and hopefully Pikmin 5 is when it decides to do that.

The crash-landed story is fine, but players have crash-landed on mysterious planets for three games now. Eventually, these characters’ pilot licenses should be revoked, and a new type of story should enter the scene. It does not have to be on the level of The Last of Us, but it should at least be unique. Telling a new Pikmin story could go a long way in reinventing the concept and injecting new life into the series, and it may even help introduce new players to one of Nintendo’s most overlooked franchises.

Pikmin 4 is available now on Switch.

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