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While of the topic of death, a player will really start to feel emotions for the little guys, especially when he also makes the tragic mistake of leaving a group of them on the planet as darkness sets in.

They frantically look for their onion spaceship, with terrified peeps and start to get devoured by some of the ferocious creatures as you fly away. It’s just heartbreaking.

By the way, that tragedy occurs due to that tight schedule to explore each day. That is still, by far, the biggest annoyance to the action.

It is so fun to just look around and find new areas that I often hit the “retry day” button and started all over.

Thankfully the 30-day limit is gone (seen in previous games), so as long as the juice flows, so does the action.

The magical Wii U GamePad tablet and its big touch screen is also just not a controller here but a much more visual and integral part of the game play.

Now named the KopPad by the explorers, its used as primarily a GPS, with an option to tap a location on the pad and have the troops scurry there, but also a resource to house archived information on fruits, creatures and tips for the game as well as even a way to watch a replay of the day’s work to hone strategies

However, what continues to impress for the Pikmin legacy is the care to bring this colorful universe and its inhabitants to life.

Hovering jellyfish, purple puffy blowhogs, shaggy long legs, bug-eyed Bulbords, to name just a few of the dozens of indigenous life forms, roam the five lands.

Giant flower pots, pools of clear water housing odd-shaped amphibians, boxes tethered to ropes and water falls with a hidden peach obstruct access.

Deep, dark caverns, glazed-tiled bridges, sand beaches and snow-covered terrain are commonplace while searching for a tasty Heroine’s Tear (mango) or Face Wrinkler (lemon). It’s a beautiful playground for the 10-year-old to take part in.

Youngsters who finish the main, roughly 15-hour-long campaign have two extra modes to continue to enjoy.

A simple mission mode requires going out on timed hunts (7 to 10 minutes) to either collect items or fight creatures (with a co-operative element available).

Or, the much more competitive Bingo Battle where two players go on a scavenger hunt with specific recovered objects filling up their card (on a 4x4 grid) to try to get a “bingo” while thwarting the opponent. In both modes, the illusive pudgy purple and white Pikmin are also available for use.

Considering Nintendo’s Wii U has been getting more negative than positive press these days, it’s nice to report a game exists that really makes the console worth owning. Pikmin 3 is both a wonderful, family friendly real-time strategy, experience-boasting clever game play and gorgeous design throughout.

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