Despite its tendency to include multiple controllable captains, the Pikmin series has typically only allowed players to experience the games together in various co-op and competitive side modes rather than the main campaign. That all changed in the recent Pikmin 3 Deluxe rerelease, which boasted full-blown cooperative play in the main story mode for the first time. With Pikmin 4’s release coming at the end of the week, many fans will likely want to know ahead of time whether or not the game includes similar co-op functionality. At the very least, some may just be curious about the specific multiplayer features Pikmin 4 has.
Is co-op play in Pikmin 4?
Although Pikmin 4 does technically allow for co-op play in the main story, it does not come in the form you might expect. Rather than controlling a separate captain, the second player operated an on-screen cursor that can toss pebbles to stun foes and interact with objects as well as throw items to aid Player 1. As others have pointed out, this feature, dubbed the Pebble Pitcher, resembles the assist-style co-op modes seen in various Wii games, such as Super Mario Galaxy, Zack and Wiki, and Sin and Punishment 2.
If you want a more robust co-op experience, however, you will have to look to Pikmin 4’s new Dandori Battle mode. The story mode does have you engaging with this feature from time to time, but you can actually experience it outside of the campaign with a friend if you’d like. This mode sees players cooperating against a CPU or competing against each other as they scramble to gather items within the allotted time.
Pikmin 4’s lack of a fully-featured co-op story mode has understandably disappointed players who loved Pikmin 3 Deluxe’s co-op feature. The multiplayer elements that did make it in are certainly better than nothing, especially considering the usual absence of these elements in similar games, but it can still easily be seen as a wasted opportunity.