If you had one day to live, would you check off everything on your bucket list, or would you fight to give yourself another day?
The latter makes up the paper-thin story of Pikmin 3, but gamers should hardly care. That's because this lovable franchise has at last returned to give us the joy of sacrificing these little creatures by the hundreds in order to survive.
For the uninitiated, pikmin are creatures with special abilities. The red ones are heavy lifters, the blue guys tackle water, the yellow handle electricity, and so on. Charlie and his shipmates only have a short time to live if they don't collect adequate quantities of fruits and vegetables. These pikmin love nothing more than scarfing this stuff down.
Armed with a trusty whistle, Charlie and company cross several sprawling landscapes, encountering beasts and food. You can usher only up to 100 pikmin at a time, so much focus is on strategizing how many of which kind of pikmin to collect and have follow you around.
You will encounter more throughout each level so you can replenish your forces. But be aware, for example, that running out of blue pikmin not long before you reach an uncrossable creek is, shall we say, a problem.
Pikmin 3 offers beautifully rendered environments and engaging audio, and expands upon what made the first two editions so popular. It is one of the best Wii U releases of the past few months.
RATING E10+ for Everyone ages 10 and older
PLOT Foraging through forests on a strange planet
DETAILS Nintendo Wii U, $59.99
BOTTOM LINE Welcome to their world