Pikmin 4 Review – Longer Days, Stronger Nights

August 1, 2023

Some people call Shigeru Miyamoto a genius, others don’t play video games. The Pikmin franchise has entered its third decade and finally its first fully fledged Nintendo Switch title has hit the shelves. Join Olimar and his space-dog Oatchi on another adventure as you take control of squads of Pikmin to explore new areas and rescue members of the Rescue Corps, along with other treasure hunters and explorers that have gotten themselves lost along the way. After approximately a decade of development, Pikmin 4 is arguably the most advanced game of the series, and might just be the best one yet.

Loyal, curious, and ready to go! For those new to the franchise, Pikmin are a half-plant, half-animal species that will do your bidding as you explore a mysterious planet and complete missions for the Rescue Corps. There are now nine types of Pikmin, up from seven in previous games, with a new Ice Pikmin which can freeze enemies and water, and a Glow Pikmin which will light your path and blind underground enemies. We found that the Ice Pikmin add a whole new element of gameplay, being able to freeze even the largest pools of water to create new, albeit temporary, pathways. Glow Pikmin however were mostly only useful in Night Expeditions which we’ll get to a little later.

Pikmin 4

Your journey begins hunting Red Pikmin in a starter area before landing at the Rescue Command Post. Here, you meet your trusty pup Oatchi who immediately becomes your best friend. Oatchi has basic abilities to begin with, but after a few days of exploration he grows up into a space-dog at which point Olimar and the Pikmin can ride on his back while he runs, paddles, and charges his way through objects and enemies. There are several upgrades available for Oatchi, with even more powerful ones becoming available as you unlock them via the trainer at the Rescue Command Post. The Rescue Command Post area becomes more populated the further you get into the game, with an item vendor, treasure vault and creature database NPC’s to name a few.

The game operates on a day/night cycle where Olimar must return to his base with all of the Pikmin that he wants to keep before the sun sets. Each day lasts around fifteen minutes, but don’t worry, there’s no overall time limit and a decent countdown to guide you. Time also slows to around 1/6th speed in caves, meaning you can spend a lot more time exploring caves without having to worry about what’s happening on the surface. We actually found that the day never ended while exploring underground, but instead upon returning to the surface the sun would be almost set, providing Olimar with enough time to return to base with your Pikmin and treasure. Night Expeditions add another layer of exploration to the later game, allowing you to revisit areas at night and encounter unique enemies in a tower-defence style mode.

Pikmin 4

Pikmin 4 has a useful rewind system allowing players to reverse any damage they may have caused to their Pikmin by choosing how far back to rewind. This feature is great for treasure hunters that might lose a couple of a certain type of Pikmin before realising they’re needed in a later area, or simply to retry some of the more challenging parts of the game. While most of Pikmin 4 is tailored towards a casual gaming experience, completionists will find some of the late-game content challenging enough to satisfy. In fact, although the premise of the game seems simple, the developers have done a fantastic job at providing many different challenges and modes that slowly become available and more difficult throughout the story.

There are two different multiplayer options in Pikmin 4. The first is a very limited and mostly disappointing co-operative mode which allows the second player to control a crosshair on the screen and shoot pebbles at enemies, as well as some useful items that are gathered as you progress. We somewhat hoped that Olimar would get a friend, or that Oatchi would be controllable, although having just a crosshair does allow even the most amateur of players to join in. Fortunately, this mode is drop-in/drop-out, though as far as couch co-op goes, there are far better offerings on the Nintendo Switch. Dandori Battle is the other multiplayer mode. In this mode, you can team up or compete with a friend to see who can collect the most items/treasures within a time limit. This mode, although simple, can be quite hectic as you attack the enemy’s Pikmin and dog to steal items, while manically trying to figure out where your own Pikmin are.

Considering Pikmin 4 has been in development for so long, it’s understandable that some parts of the game look better than others. While the surface environments look great and create a feeling of immersion, most if not all creatures and character models look like they were made for an early-generation Switch release. Treasures look great, such as the GameBoy Advance which Olimar retrieves very early on, but effects like explosions and fire almost look like they belong on the Wii U. Our other main gripe with Pikmin 4 is the lacklustre soundtrack. With big Nintendo composer names like Nagata, Hayazaki and Abe, we were expecting far more whimsical pieces but instead found a lot of the tunes to be repetitive to the point of wanting to turn the volume down. With lengthy dialogue scenes and no voice acting, there was actually little reason to turn the volume up.

Pikmin 4 is like a lolly bag filled with all of your favourites and a couple of duds. In other words, you’d take the bag regardless. It’s arguably the best game in the franchise, and quite possibly the second best Switch exclusive of 2023. Read our review of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. While some might find the mechanics of Pikmin games confusing, Pikmin 4 does a great job at introducing new players to the series while also providing plenty of challenging and new content for its loyal fans, and let’s be honest: once you play Pikmin, you become Pikmin.

Rocket Chainsaw reviewed Pikmin 4 on Nintendo Switch with review code provided by Nintendo. For more information, head to the official website.


- A diverse range of Pikmin provides a diverse range of gameplay
- Lots of challenges and modes throughout the story
- A beautiful world filled with memorable creatures and treasure.


- Co-op mode feels like an afterthought
- Pikmin and character models could look better
- Soundtrack gets repetitive.

Overall Score: