Pikmin 3 Deluxe's new Olimar missions are fun but lightweight
Pikmin 3 includes a handful of extra side-missions starring original series protagonists Olimar and Louie, showing what they were up to while the game's main campaign takes place elsewhere. But while these are a nice addition, they're not hugely substantial.
Each mission essentially acts as another time-limited treasure hunt of the type found in the game's existing Challenge mode. Four of these act as a prologue to the events of the game, and each begins with a brief text message from the President, Olimar and Louie's boss last seen in Pikmin 2, ordering the tiny spacefaring duo to go collect more loot.
You then get to see a piece of Pikmin 3 I'd wager a lot of people missed first time around - the funny videos starring Olimar which you could unlock via an extremely laborious collectible hunt that required multiple save files and a website only accessible via the Wii U console's Internet Browser. Or, y'know, you could just go watch them on YouTube.
These videos, which showcase each main Pikmin 3 area from Olimar's point of view, have been repurposed here into introductions for each these new treasure hunt missions. The action then takes place on the corresponding main Pikmin 3 map, rather than on smaller Challenge mode areas, but with various bits and pieces of the level blocked off so you're only playing in a corner.
Gameplay is as you'd expect - a rush to grow Pikmin, take down obstacles, defeat enemies and gather loot before your time limit (usually around 10 minutes) expires. You're then treated to the usual Challenge mode ending screen, where your performance is graded.
There are a couple of extra flourishes here I'm a fan of - notably the mention of Pikmin 2's bossy President, who will grade your progress and hand out various medals based on how much treasure you acquired. Olimar and Louie will also regularly make observations about each area throughout the time you spend in each, with different dialogue depending on who you are playing as at certain points, encouraging multiple attempts to see it all. And the fact you can actually see Olimar's introduction videos in the game, rather than on a website, is a welcome move.
I'm still to unlock Olimar's last few missions, which Nintendo previously said will act as an epilogue to the main campaign, but it doesn't take much to guess that's where the last couple of those Secret File videos will be placed to play out. Six were made for Pikmin 3 in total.
While the missions are nice to have, as Pikmin 3 Deluxe's standout new addition they feel a thin addition to the overall package. I don't think Pikmin 3 Deluxe will feel lacking overall - its main campaign is not overly long but it has various encouragements to return and improve your performance, as well as its time attack Challenge and competitive multiplayer Bingo Battle modes to dabble in. And it's worth mentioning this Deluxe package also includes the extra packs of Challenge levels originally sold as DLC, padding out the overall package further.
But still. I had slightly higher hopes for the long-awaited return of Olimar and Louie, back centre stage here for the first time in over a decade. I had thought there might be a smattering of genuinely new areas, treasure or enemies, rather than remixed content. Maybe in Pikmin 4.