The Definitive 50 GameCube Games: #10 Pikmin 2
The series so far: The Definitive 50 GameCube Games.
The first Pikmin game took 21st on the Definitive 50. That title was a serious stroke of innovation, and brought some real character to GameCube’s launch window, but it did have its problems. I have to give its sequel, Pikmin 2, a spot on this list for outdoing its predecessor so thoroughly and charmingly.
Pikmin 2 begins shortly after where the first game left off. The great vacationer Olimar has managed to make it home in one piece, but there’s trouble. His employer, Hocotate Freight, has fallen on hard times after a job delivering golden carrots went awry. The company has racked up some serious debt, and the only way out is by hawking the kinds of treasures that Olimar’s old refuge planet is littered with.
Olimar is accompanied back to the earth-like place of his recent nightmare by a lankier coworker named Louie, and it’s up to the two to gather all the bottle caps, batteries, fruit, broken video game hardware, and other garbage that they can.
Of course, the pair are not alone. All the heavy lifting is done by Olimar’s trusted personal army, the pikmin. This game reunites the space man with the red, yellow, and blue pikmin of his first adventure, and two new types are also added. White pikmin can spot hidden underground items and dig them up, while purple pikmin are a whopping 10 times stronger than standard pikmin, making them ideal workhorses for carrying hefty treasures.
The benefit of having Louie along for the ride, is that the player can now control multiple groups of pikmin in separate areas of levels by switching between control of the two aliens.
Pikmin 2 borrows the day-night cycle of its predecessor, but does away with the often criticized time limit which forced players to grab as much as they could within 30 in-game days. There’s also plenty more to do with your time, as each full-sized level also includes multiple smaller sub-levels that take place inside caves stuffed with enemies and treasures.
In addition to the already much expanded campaign mode, Pikmin 2 also adds two additional modes. There’s the competitive 2-player mode, in which players are pitted against each other in an effort to steal marbles from one another, and the one or two player cooperative challenge mode, in which players are tasked with conquering small levels under time restraints and burdened with high score aspirations.
Just as with the first Pikmin, this title tells its simple story with a flair and charm rarely achieved in gaming. Each item recovered by the pikmin is given a clever, or even heartwarming name. An NES directional pad is dubbed “Stone of Glory,” while a Game & Watch is referred to as a “Dream Architect.” Many non-Nintendo branded items also make appearances, like a Duracell battery, called the Courage Reactor.
Olimar, Louie, and the other Hocotatians are played in an endearing, amusing fashion, and high quality cut-scenes tie the whole game together with serious laughs.