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Pikmin 4 survey teases "intense" night-time missions

Growing potential.

Nintendo has sent out a teasing fan survey, detailing the long-awaited Pikmin 4.

In it, Nintendo asks respondees to rate their knowledge of the Pikmin series so far (fairly strong), their impressions of Pikmin 4's recent marketing (it's been OK), and what they'd be keen to hear more about as its 21st July release date nears.

This last part is most interesting to me, as it touches on a few features Nintendo has only hinted at so far. This includes "delving into puzzle-filled caves, and carefully managing your resources until you escape" plus "embarking on night-time missions that feature new and intense gameplay".

Caves! Night! A Pikmin dog! Pikmin 4 has them all.Watch on YouTube

Caves were shown briefly in Pikmin 4's latest trailer, though it was unclear how much they might feature. Pikmin 2 used them extensively, and it appears the mechanic of going in with a set number of Pikmin and trying to make it out the other side is back.

Even more intriguing is the mention of "night-time missions", which seem likely to feature the red-eyed bulborb enemy also seen in the game's recent trailer. As a reminder, the Pikmin series has always forced you to leave the planet's surface each evening as monsters descend. I'm keen to find out what different kinds of gameplay await after night falls.

Other new features listed are more expected, such as "exploring a brand new set of environments", "utilising the new Ice Pikmin to freeze enemies or create frozen paths on top of water", "encountering brand new enemies", "following a brand new Pikmin story and meeting new characters" and finally "teaming up with your Space Dog companion, Oatchi, who can help with a variety of tasks".

Nintendo's garden strategy series has always been something of a cult hit, not gaining the attention of the Mario, Zelda and Animal Crossing titles released over the years. It's also always been released initially on the Nintendo hardware generations that have done less well (GameCube, Wii U). But with the Switch's enormous install base ready for Pikmin 4... who knows? I'm keen to run away from some evil bulborbs, anyway.

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