Mini-Guide: Pikmin 3

LQ: 9.1


Brain grade: 8.7
Fun score: 9.5

Pikmin 3
Game Type: ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ Platform/Console: LWK Recommended Age: 10+ Thinking Skills Used: , , , Academic Skills Used:

Wii U

Pikmin 3 is a Wii U exclusive in which the player controls three aliens as they explore a new planet. They receive help from some cute, native plant-like creatures called Pikmin. As the player explores the planet they will search for the missing parts of the aliens’ crashed spaceship. They will discover various Pikmin, predators, and obstacles. The player will also collect giant fruit to turn into juice in order to survive. There is also a mission mode and a bingo battle mode in addition to the story mode. The ESRB gave Pikmin 3 an Everyone 10+ rating due to mild cartoon violence. We stand by this rating.

Pikmin 3 helps kids practice and improve the following skills:

PlanningPikmin 3

Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.

In Pikmin 3, the obstacles that the player faces will require planning and problem solving to overcome. This can require the player to use more than one of the main characters or multiple types of Pikmin. It may even mean a player has to postpone solving an obstacle in order to gather more fruit or grow more Pikmin first. Regardless of the obstacle, in order to be successful in this game the player must evaluate the obstacle, figure out a plan of attack, and then follow through.

Time Management

Being efficient and aware of our use of time and effort.

Pikmin 3 is a real-time game, complete with an in-game timer that breaks the alien adventure into 13-minute days.  At the end of the day, any Pikmin that are not in a squad or within the safety radius of their onion will be left behind and eaten by predators. This means it is important for the player to be aware of where their Pikmin are and what time of day it is. It is also necessary for the player to keep in mind how much juice they have left. If the juice runs out, the aliens die and the game is over. To stay successful, the player must know when they need to find juice, prioritize finding fruit, and ensure that they have gotten the needed fruit before the end of the day.

Working Memory

Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working.

There are several working memory cognitive skills that will be worked by Pikmin 3. First, it is important to be able to remember and follow directions, especially early in the game. The main characters will guide the player towards  certain goals that must be met in order to advance further in the game. If the player can't remember what they are doing, they will end up running out of things to do for the day and not advancing the game. To win the game, the player must improve their forgetfulness and direction following skills. It is also important for the player to exercise  their visual memory skills. Throughout the game they will find fruit and obstacles that they do not have the Pikmin necessary to overcome and gather. To maintain a high store of juice, the player needs to be able to remember where they saw the fruit and what obstacle was in their way. If they don't, they will run out of juice and the game will end.


Pikmin 3 will require the player to exercise their reading skills at a high rate of frequency. While there is technically a voice over when the characters speak, they speak in a made-up language. In order to understand what they are saying, the player must be able to read the text boxes that pop-up on screen. The player will also collect data files to read with helpful game-play tips on them. Also, at the end of each day, one of the main characters will write a journal entry into the ship's log. Not all of these reading opportunities are necessary to be successful at the game (although some of them are), but they are all helpful and add to the ambience of the game.

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