While Pikmin has often been considered a flagship franchise for Nintendo, it has yet to achieve the same mainstream popularity of its fellows like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Animal Crossing. Pikmin are widely-recognised and beloved gaming icons, but reported sales figures for the franchise have always been fairly underwhelming. It seems like Nintendo hopes that will change with Pikmin 4.
The company appears to be making a concerted effort to introduce younger and newer players to the world of Pikmin, with the latest sequel arriving with a sweet early demo, and an adorable introductory video aiding curious players. Both serve as great touch points for the franchise, and give a clearer idea about what exactly Pikmin offers.
The game’s demo, now available on the Nintendo eShop, provides a colourful and wholesome glimpse into the world of the game – and while returning players have flagged that it ‘holds your hand’ a bit too much, it serves as a great and memorable introduction for everyone else. It’s well worth checking out if you’ve yet to dive in.
The newly-released ‘Your First Expedition with Pikmin’ is an equally warm first meeting.
This Nintendo-produced video plays out like a guided tour of Pikmin 4‘s miniature environments, with soft music playing out as a narrator introduces individual Pikmin, and how they function in gameplay.
Each Pikmin’s delightful antics are explored in-depth in the video, with their ability to carry, find, and build objects spotlighted – as well as their (slightly ineffectual) combat style, which requires players to throw dozens of Pikmin at roaming beasts.
It’s fairly easy to make a case for Pikmin 4 when its stars are so downright delightful – and it’s great to see Nintendo playing into the franchise’s major strengths. While the Pikmin franchise has yet to nab the accolades and success it deserves, there’s hope this concerted push and focus on accessible gameplay will inspire fresh interest in the long-running franchise.
That’s not to mention that with Nintendo‘s new Pikmin and Pikmin 2 re-releases on Nintendo Switch, the entire franchise is now fully playable on modern consoles. It’s a pretty good time to get into the Pikmin franchise, even if it’s for the first time.
When Pikmin 4 launches for Nintendo Switch on 21 July 2023, there’s hope it will engage a brand new audience alongside returning fans, elevating the franchise from its semi-cult status.
Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows.
You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.