Nintendo Just Updated Pikmin 3, And It’s Practically a New Game

Remember when reviewers complained that Pikmin 3 did nothing to justify the GamePad, since the Wii Remote & Nunchuk was its most advanced control option? Nintendo just issued a major update to Pikmin 3 – it’s now being billed as Ver. 2.0 – that seems to have been designed specifically for them. Now Pikmin 3 supports full stylus controls. You still control your captains with the analog stick, but you can now tap the screen to aim and throw your Pikmin, giving the GamePad the same precision control available through Wii MotionPlus.

pikmin-3-stylus-exampleYou can check out the stylus interface at left – I’m playing Off-TV, here, so you can get the full effect. I’m controlling the targeting cursor with the stylus. As long as you’re dragging along the screen, you’ll adjust your aim. Tapping the screen causes you to throw the Pikmin (or captain) that’s currently in your queue.

For other actions – like dismissing your group, opening the map menu, or activating a special spray – Nintendo’s added touch-sensitive icons. You’ll toggle Pikmin using the squad icons at the bottom-right, and switch between available captains using their icons at the bottom-left.

So far, I’ve found it takes some getting used to, but adds the unique GamePad-oriented control I think many were looking for at launch (as well as parity with Nintendo Land‘s Pikmin Adventure). It also reiterates that Pikmin can definitely double as both a home console game and a handheld title – hence my comment about it feeling almost like a whole new game.

Given that Nintendo’s about to offer Pikmin 3 as one of the free game downloads to Mario Kart 8 owners – many of whom will be children who are new to the system but experienced at touch-controlled games – this update couldn’t have come at a better time.