When compared to Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and even Metroid, the Pikmin series was never a runaway success, but that hasn’t stopped Nintendo from developing new installments. And we’re glad, because the Pikmin series is full of wit, charm, and originality. During the September 2022 Direct, Nintendo finally unveiled the next entry, aptly titled Pikmin 4.
This announcement came nearly a decade after the previous entry, and although we don’t know much about it, we’re excited it’s happening. The latest installment of the oddball strategy series is bringing some new features, including a brand new Pikmin type and an adorable dog companion. Positioned as the Switch’s big summer 2023 release, it has the chance to get more eyes on the series than ever before.
Here’s what you need to know about Pikmin 4.
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While fans were expecting the game to be Nintendo’s big holiday 2023 release, the sequel is actually coming a bit earlier than that. Pikmin 4 will launch on July 21, 2023, which will make it the first major Switch exclusive to launch in a post-Tears of the Kingdom world.
Pikmin is a first-party Nintendo franchise, so don’t expect to play the new installment on PlayStation, Xbox, or any other platforms. For now, Pikmin 4 is planned for Nintendo Switch, but it might also come to whatever the company’s next console is, as well — similar to the way Pikmin 3 launched on Wii U and then later came to Nintendo Switch.
The Pikmin 4 reveal trailer was brief and didn’t give us much information outside of a general look at its art and some environments. But we do know that its colorful visuals will return this time around, just like its predecessors. However, its second Direct trailer would go into much more depth.
That second clip introduces some of the sequel’s new features. Pikmin 4 will introduce a new ice Pikmin type that’s capable of freezing water, giving all Pikmin safe passage. The biggest revelation, though, is that the game will feature an adorable dog-like companion that can aid Captain Olimar. In the trailer, we see it dragging an item back to Olimar’s ship all by itself, seemingly confirming that it has the power of 10 Pikmin. Elsewhere, we see it barreling into obstacles to open up new parts of the world. That aspect is a major departure for the series and should make it stand apart from previous entries.
The final Pikmin 4 trailer shows off more aspects of the world, including home interiors. This is mostly a rehash of the premise of the game, which is to use your friendly Pikmin — and new friend Oatchi — to repair your spaceship and rescue any lost explorers you encounter.
Pikmin’s gameplay mixes real-time strategy and puzzle elements, often with a time-based mechanic that requires you to gather resources before the sun goes down. There’s often a large stage to explore, with plenty of deadly creatures to battle, along with collectibles and fruit to consume. In it, you control one of the space travelers who can command the Pikmin around the stage. The game’s stages are often varied, taking place on different planets throughout the galaxy.
Each Pikmin has different functionality, like the Rock Pikmin, which can be thrown at walls or structures to break them with ease. You use these Pikmin to traverse the levels, which eventually lead to a boss battle. There isn’t anything quite like Pikmin, as it effectively blends strategy, time management, and smart puzzle aspects that give it an original identity. This entry will take that idea further by adding the previously mentioned ice Pikmin type and dog companion, both of which will add new twists to the puzzle-strategy series.
Nintendo notes that you’ll have the ability to play from the Pikmin’s perspective, which is a first for the series. Other Pikmin games feature a three-quarter isometric view, allowing you to see plenty on-screen at once. It’s unclear if this new perspective will be its own mode or if you’ll be able to toggle it, so we’ll have to wait and see what Nintendo has planned.
Outside of the new Pikmin types, Oatchi will be a major gameplay addition. Aside from being able to fight for you, he will have new abilities you can unlock and upgrade, such as riding him in water and having him break through obstacles in the world.
Speaking of new Pikmin, the Glow Pikmin will let you explore the world at night — a first for the series. This type only shows up after dark and can combine together into a large green orb to launch at airborne enemies.
Finally, the Dandori Battles will let you compete against other players to gather the most objects within the time limit to save the castaway and win.
Pikmin 4 is now available to preorder at major retailers and the Nintendo eShop. It’ll cost $60, unlike The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The game will also be eligible to purchase with Nintendo’s Switch Game Voucher system.