Captain Olimar and his Pikmin pals are at it again in Nintendo‘s latest puzzle platforming adventure that spans the globe in Hey! Pikmin for the Nintendo 3DS.

The tiny space pilot has crash-landed on an unknown planet. While his ship—the SS Dolphin 2—remains intact, it has run completely dry of the Sparklium needed to fuel it. Captain Olimar must collect sources of Sparklium scattered throughout the planet to restore his ship and get him home. Luckly, there are plenty of native Pikmin around to aid Captain Olimar in his quest!

Players take control of Olimar in this side-scrolling adventure and traverse a variety of different areas, each with multiple levels and a boss at the end, to collect Sparklium. Throughout any given level, there will be Pikmin hiding away that players can recruit to help them. This ever-growing army of Pikmin can assist with a variety of tasks, such as lifting or moving heavy objects, retrieving something in the distance, or even dispatching enemies from afar. The colors of each Pikmin also indicate certain abilities; red Pikmin are fiery and can quickly dispatch enemies, while yellow Pikmin can be thrown at exceptionally high distances. Different puzzles and tasks will call for varying types of Pikmin. However, Pikmin can easily fall against enemies or get eaten by bigger creatures, meaning players will have less to work with and may lose access to secret areas. Protect all of your Pikmin as you move forward so you can grab as much Sparklium as you can!

When not scavenging for Sparklium, players can check out the SS Dolphin 2 for some extra fun! Here, players can revisit previous levels and secret areas to redo missions and try to collect any hidden goodies. Viewing the Logs allows players to view the different types of Pikmin they’ve recruited or the special items that they’ve collected. The SS Dolphin 2 also grants access to the Pikmin Park, where players can send out Pikmin search parties on independent missions to find Sparklium while Olimar continues on the main quest. The ship itself will tell players when their Pikmin have found anything to add to their Sparklium count. As players and Pikmin collect more Sparklium, they can unlock more features on the ship. Players can also use exclusive Pikmin amiibos to summon more Pikmin and unlock secret areas.

Hey! Pikmin takes a new perspective on the Pikmin franchise, which has thus far been largely real-time strategy based. The side-scrolling platform action of Hey! Pikmin likens the game to some of its classic Nintendo predecessors like Kirby and Yoshi titles, which is never a bad thing. While it’s markedly different from the first three games, Hey! Pikmin loses none of its charm in the transition to side-scrolling. It’s often a delight to see the cute little army of Pikmin become enormous, and it surely pays off when they help topple a monster or pave the way to a secret area. It’s also incredibly easy to get attached to the Pikmin and their adorable antics, making it that much more rewarding to make sure they all make it to the end of a level. Replay value is in abundance, as some of the more perplexing secret puzzles scattered throughout a level will definitely have players going back for more as they progress.

The only word of warning I might offer to players is to stretch out your stylus hand well, because aside from the analog stick and D-pad for movement, the game completely relies on the stylus for any action. But if you can get past the lack of any face buttons, then you’re in for a treat.

With complex side-scrolling challenges and adorable armies at your side, Hey! Pikmin is a fresh and welcome continuation to Captain Olimar’s adventures.

About the author

Carlos Cadorniga

Carlos Cadorniga

Carlos Cadorniga is an editorial intern at Adventure Publishing Group and a recent journalism graduate from Stony Brook University. He crafts weekly toy reviews for The Toy Insider and contributes to the Toy Book trade magazine. His hobbies include watching cartoons, singing, playing video games, creative writing, and bragging about his trip to Japan. His favorite color is pink and he will not let you forget it, and his favorite sport is seeing how many episodes of The Office he can rewatch on Netflix in one sitting.