At an event in a New York City hotel meeting room engineered by Nintendo to hype the July launch of the New 2DSXL, we played one of the new games also coming out that month: Hey! Pikmin. And we were left wondering, hey, why not also have these games run on Nintendo’s portable Switch?
Hey! Pikmin is a sidescrolling twist on the real-time strategy Pikmin series that launched on GameCube back in 2001, with two fun sequels on GameCube and then Wii U. In those games and this new one you control a spaceman named Olimar who can lead a troop of color-coded plant-people who he can throw at enemies or use to carry stuff. Olimar and his minions are tiny, and the visual joke of the games is that the giant things they deal with are usually small real-world things. Flowers appear to be as tall as trees. A garden trowel can serve as a bridge.
We only played a couple of levels of the game, and they were early levels, so we’re able to tell you that it controls decently but can’t speak to the complexity or ingenuity of the game’s levels. That there are levels, though, is at least one big change in addition to the side-scrolling perspective. In the video above, you’re seeing me play parts of the game’s first two levels, each with items to collect, enemies to battle and some environmental puzzles to solve.
In my few minutes with the game, I wielded fire-impervious red and electric-impervious yellow Pikmin, though I didn’t see a way to plant and harvest more. There is a Pikmin garden mode that may serve some of that function, though you also seem to obtain Pikmin by finding them and clearing levels. This game is very much a side-scroller and RTS-like ideas of planting and building units, as simple as they were in the other Pikmin games, are even more stripped down in this one, from what we’ve seen.
You move Olimar around with the 3DS’ C-stick or face buttons, depending if you’re a lefty or righty. You wield a stylus in the other hand and tap the screen to toss Pikmin around. Tap an enemy to make Olimar throw them at it. Tap loot to make the Pikmin grab it.
Until recently, it wasn’t odd for Nintendo’s new portable games to not also run on their home console. Their home consoles, after all, didn’t also work as portables. Their red-hot new one, however, does. So, heading into the Nintendo event with a Switch in my bag and recognizing the silliness of potentially carrying two Nintendo portables around, I was left wondering why, come July, I wouldn’t be able to also play this on the Switch. No Nintendo reps at the event seemed to want to engage with this question. They’ve got a new 2DS to sell, of course, but it makes sense, right?
The $300 Switch is portable, has button and touch-screen input and could surely run this game. The only problem would be aspect-ratio, since Hey! Pikmin displays its action vertically, using the 3DS’ stacked screens as one tall viewfinder into the Pikmin world.
In recent years, Nintendo has flirted with putting the same games on console and portable. The did so with the most recent Smash Bros and have ported Wii U games Hyrule Warriors, Yoshi’s Woolly World and Super Mario Maker all to 3DS. As they roll out more 3DS games, it’d be nice to see them run on what actually is Nintendo’s newest and hottest-selling portable. Could Hey! Pikmin come over? Who knows, but it’d also be nice to know how good it is. We’ll know that, at least, when it launches on 3DS/2DS on July 28.