The Definitive 50 GameCube Games: #21 Pikmin

The series so far: The Definitive 50 GameCube Games.

On today’s show, we’re once again returning to GameCube’s historic launch window. Just a few weeks after its North American release, the Cube got one of its best written, most original, and most charming games.

Not a title driven by world-ending cataclysm or intergalactic war, but rather, a game about the small things. A game inspired by the walks its creator took through his garden. Of course, I’m talking about Pikmin.

The game follows the noble struggle of Captain Olimar on his quest to rebuild his damaged spaceship and return to his home planet of Hocotate.

Olimar’s ship, bearing the name Dolphin, an homage to the GameCube’s codename, is struck by a meteor and its captain ends up crash landing on an Earth-like planet filled with deadly, deadly oxygen. Poor Olimar has just 30 days to gather his ship’s missing parts and get home. The consequences for failure are dire, Olimar risks never see his wife and children again.

Luckily, Olimar comes to discover an otherwise helpless group of creatures known as Pikmin, who he recruits and organizes into his own personal army of garden warriors.

Pikmin plays as a simplified real time strategy game perfect for a console controller. You come to command a small troop of Pikmin of varying colours and abilities who you must march or toss at enemy creatures and environmental obstacles.

The goal is always the same, open up new areas of the game’s levels, discover hard-to-reach ship parts, and have the Pikmin bring the items back to your ship. It’s not always simple though, it’s a dangerous world out there, and Pikmin can and often do get hurt in the line duty. The agonizing scream of a Pikmin reaching his end is one of the hardest sound effects in gaming to hear.

Even though Pikmin is about tiny creatures struggling to survive in their own tiny world, the game manages to compel with its touching story and “just one more day” gameplay.

Pikmin went on to inspire an even grander sequel which ditched its predecessors frustrating 30 in-game-day time limit that managed to retain the charm of the original. Pikmin 3, meanwhile, is one of Wii U’s most anticipated titles.

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