Want to know how Pikmin 4 compares to Pikmin 3 Deluxe?
The Pikmin 4 release day marked the return of Captain Olimar after a long hiatus and the debut of new Pikmin types. Pikmin 3, meanwhile, expanded on the basic ideas of the previous games, introducing thought-provoking puzzles and a darker story that focused on survival in a world abundant in fruit.
Both games arrived on the same console, so it’s only fair to wonder how Pikmin 4 compares to the enhanced Pikmin 3. The two games couldn’t be more different, with Pikmin 3 Deluxe favoring the more complex gameplay of the original and challenging the player to think their way through some nightmarish puzzles. The story, too, is a character-driven narrative with mystery elements that left us wishing for a Pikmin 3 sequel.
Pikmin 4, in contrast, is a soft reboot that leaves the formula unchanged but takes the series in a new direction. The story is more player-driven, with the player rescuing a rescue team and encountering numerous castaways on the planet. Pikmin 4 might have the upper hand in this comparison, but there are a few areas where Pikmin 3 Deluxe still reigns supreme.
Pikmin 4 vs Pikmin 3 – story and setting
Pikmin 3 Deluxe’s story is a challenging and sophisticated take on the series’ trademark fetch quests. The player guides a group of Pikmin on a quest to find food on a planet that is, as the name suggests, abundant in fruit. The story is told through cutscenes, which are sparse compared to the previous games, but it’s a character-driven narrative that focuses on Alph and Brittany’s search for their missing family members.
Pikmin 4, meanwhile, is a soft reboot of the series that sees Olimar crash land on the same planet, but this time he’s on an archaeological expedition. The story is far less sophisticated, with the player controlling a rescue team that is trying to help Olimar. Almost all of the story beats are predictable, but the game does have a charming sense of humor.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe is also the more challenging game, with hunger mechanics and new difficulty settings that add a newfound level of complexity to the gameplay experience. This is in sharp contrast to Pikmin 4, which is less challenging and far more relaxed.
Pikmin 3 vs Pikmin 4 – level design
Pikmin 3’s level design is better than Pikmin 4’s in almost every way. The distinct environments of Pikmin 3 Deluxe are far more memorable than the areas in Pikmin 4, which blend together. Pikmin 3 Deluxe’s levels also feature far more challenging puzzles, while Pikmin 4’s puzzles are simpler and take place in separate caves.
Pikmin 3’s dodge mechanic also adds to the gameplay experience in a way that Pikmin 4’s open design simply doesn’t. The sense of momentum that comes with a well-timed dodge in Pikmin 3 Deluxe is something that’s sorely missed in Pikmin 4, where combat is clunky and lacks a strong sense of progression.
Pikmin 4’s night expeditions are an interesting addition, but they don’t compare to Pikmin 3’s legendary “Bingo Battles.” While Pikmin 4’s version of co-op is a nice addition, it’s far less impactful than Pikmin 3 Deluxe’s story mode co-op, which allows both players to have a meaningful experience.
Pikmin 4 vs Pikmin 3 – battle and creature design
Pikmin 4’s creature design is solid, but it pales in comparison with the varied enemies of Pikmin 3 Deluxe. The bosses in Pikmin 3 are also far more memorable, with the Whimsicot, the Waterwraith, and Quaggled Mireclops standing out as some of the best in the series.
Pikmin 4 does have the advantage of night expeditions, but these aren’t particularly challenging or rewarding. Pikmin 3’s dodge mechanic also adds a sense of momentum and progression to the gameplay experience that isn’t replicated in Pikmin 4.
Pikmin 4 vs Pikmin 3 – co-op
Pikmin 4’s co-op is a completely different experience to Pikmin 3’s “Bingo Battles.” While one player controls the game, the other can throw pebbles to help their partner. It’s an interesting feature, but it doesn’t compare to Pikmin 3’s team-based gameplay.
Pikmin 4 also lacks challenging boss battles, while Pikmin 3’s boss battles are among the best in the series.