Pikmin 4

This is an image from the video game Pikmin 4 (Nintendo). (OSV News photo/courtesy Nintendo)

(OSV News) — A brand famous for its family-friendly titles scores again with “Pikmin 4” (Nintendo). Some thoroughly stylized mayhem and a vague innuendo aside, this extension of a franchise that first appeared more than two decades ago is safe for older kids and entertaining for grown-ups as well.

The game follows the mission of a team dispatched by an organization called the Rescue Corps to locate Captain Olimar, the space traveler who served as the protagonist of the original adventure released in 2001. The crew crash lands on their target planet at the start of the narrative, however, and so must rebuild their resources before setting out on their quest.

The player controls the Rescue Corps’ latest recruit who goes in pursuit of both the captain and his would-be deliverers. He’s aided by the titular beings, tiny humanoid creatures capable of gathering materials and treasures, exploring new areas and attacking enemy aliens.

The Pikmin are divided into different color groups, each possessing special properties and skills. These need to be coordinated when solving problems.

Red Pikmin, for example, are resistant to fire, yellow ones can fly while those who are blue-hued are adept at swimming. Additionally, new Pikmin types have been added for this outing, including an ice variety and others that glow at night.

Gamers are also accompanied – and assisted – by Oatchi, a dog-like companion who can carry both the rookie and the Pikmin. Oatchi, moreover, proves an invaluable asset when solving certain puzzles.

Pikmin speak an alien language interpreted via subtitles. The combat in which they engage is frenetic, playful and silly as they merely latch onto adversaries and swat them with their antennae.

Cooperative and local multiplayer modes allow for two-gamer partnerships. This feature offers opportunities for parents and children to complete objectives together or to fight united against an AI opponent.

The implicit comparison implied by calling a peach-shaped treasure the Mock Bottom stands out amid the otherwise innocent ingredients of this congenial strategy game. Those making purchasing decisions for youngsters will have to determine whether this labeling, and a fleeting remark about it, will fly over their heads or prove a discordant note not to be ignored.

Playable on Nintendo Switch.

The game contains cartoonish violence and a mature anatomical reference. The OSV News classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is E10+ – everyone 10 and older.

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