Nintendo has a habit of making demos or even full games available after Nintendo Direct streams. Wednesday’s broadcast was no exception. Right after the Direct came to a conclusion, players could go to the 3DS or Wii U eShop to purchase a unique set of short movies staring Pikmin for $4.99 each. Famed game designer Shigeru Miyamoto explained his desire to make his tiny creations come to life through more detailed animation than could be achieved in a video game. The completed short movies debuted at the 2014 Tokyo International Film Festival. Now you can download the 3D or HD versions to your 3DS or Wii U, respectively. I was nice enough to buy both versions so I could give you the pros and cons of each and ultimately settle on which is better to spend $4.99 on.
First, however, I want to go over what actually comes in the package and how the movies themselves are. Both the 3D and HD versions come with three short films: The Night Juicer (less than 2 minutes long), Treasure in a Bottle (8 minutes exactly), and Occupational Hazards (about 13 minutes). The movies can be selected individually, but there’s no option to play them all one after another. Because the HD versions are on Wii U, watching them on the GamePad is an option. In addition to the three films, a bonus section features some of Miyamoto’s storyboards on Flipnote Studio.
On the movies themselves…well, I can say that Pikmin were a good choice for this undertaking. The Pikmin are beyond cute and there are genuinely funny moments throughout. The animation is bright, colorful, and possibly on par with Pixar in terms of quality. The music doesn’t have a spotlight on it or anything, but let’s just say it makes for one especially adorable moment and one surprisingly tense moment. I find myself with a strong desire to share these with my friends and family, even the ones who don’t play video games…
So, for five bucks, I’d call this purchase a no-brainer for a Nintendo fan. The question is, which version is better? If your intuition says the HD version on the Wii U, I’d say your intuition is absolutely correct. The animation is gorgeous in HD, and seeing all the little details is far better than watching in 3D. In fact, more than the 3D, I’d say the portability of the 3DS version is the reason to download it at all. If you only go for one, make it the Wii U version.
For those of you who have already downloaded and watched the short films, what are your thoughts?