Best Pikmin Games
Image: Nintendo Life

We're republishing this list in celebration of Pikmin 2's 20th anniversary today, 29th April. Enjoy!

It's now a decade since Pikmin 3 first sprouted on Wii U in its non-Deluxe form, and with the release of Pikmin 4 and the previous mainline entries in Shigeru Miyamoto's garden-inspired real-time strategy series on Switch, it seems like the perfect time to look back at all the variants of Pikmin that have bloomed over the years.

The original game launched on GameCube back in 2001, and since then we've seen three mainline sequels and a couple of Pikmin spin-offs, not to mention re-releases and remastered versions with different control options and other features.

But which Pikmin game is best? That's what we're here to find out, all thanks to you. Below you'll find a list of every Pikmin game ranked, as rated by Nintendo Life readers according to each game's User Rating in our database.

You'll notice that we've included all versions of all the games. For example, the original Pikmin appears three times: the initial GameCube release, the New Play Control! Wii version, and the latest HD re-release on Switch (renamed Pikmin 1). We've kept all the versions because each one has its merits, be they better controls or crisper graphics, and it's intriguing to see how the individual versions rank against each other, as well as in the context of the overall series.

Remember: This list is not set in stone! It is subject to change even now as each game's User Rating fluctuates over time. If you haven't rated any or all of the games below, you can do so right now by clicking on the star icon in each game's banner (or heading to its game page) and assigning a score out of 10.

Ready to dig in? Form up! *blows whistle*

9. Hey! Pikmin (3DS)

A 3DS spin-off developed by Arzest, Hey! Pikmin eschews the RTS mechanics of the mainline series in favour of some lighthearted 2D action-platforming, serving as a cute and accommodating introduction to the franchise but one that's lacking in the fundamentals for series veterans. It has that feel of a 'second-tier' Nintendo release, not helped by the limitations that 2D play places on the core concept. It's solid but uninspiring, fun but unsurprising, approachable but lacking in witty design.

Younger gamers — or those that want a gentle introduction to the world of Pikmin — will likely get the most pleasure and mileage out of it. For everyone else, it's worth going in with low expectations.

8. Pikmin Bloom (Mobile)

Pikmin Bloom is much more of a life companion app than something to feverishly devour as long as your battery permits — it feels like a far 'healthier' experience for body and mind than many free-to-play games, and Niantic accomplishes its goals well. It lacks the compulsive pull of Pokémon GO, but where that game can feel like an insurmountable climb if you've put it down for any length of time, with no hope of catching 'em all, Pikmin Bloom is more like an old friend you haven't seen in years — you just pick up where you left off. Fire it up with appropriate expectations, and you'll likely have a bloomin' good time with it.

7. New Play Control! Pikmin (Wii)

Who says that Switch is the first Nintendo system to plunder its less successful predecessor for choice 'deluxe' re-releases, eh? The 'New Play Control!' series brought back a host of GameCube titles with Wii Remote enhancements and other additions for a new audience, and if you never played Pikmin originally on the lil' purple box, this was the perfect way to catch up.

Thoroughly disappointing box art, though. It's like the Player's Choice boxes — does anyone actually like those? "Hmm, well you weren't cool enough to play it the first time around. No problem, we'll give it to you again, but you get the boring box this time..."

6. Pikmin (GCN)

Shigeru Miyamoto takes up gardening and before you know it he's cracked out Nintendo's inimitable version of the real-time strategy genre. Featuring for the first time those tiny little plant creatures that you order around in groups to pick up rubbish, harvest fruit, and battle bugs and other beasties, it's disarmingly charming and utterly bloodthirsty at the same time.

You become very protective of the little critters that do your bidding and there's an immense feeling of guilt when you accidentally command a legion into a watery grave or awaken a nest of sleeping monsters that proceed to munch through great swathes of your army. The sequel might have had some great refinements and additions — and did away with the finite time limit — but there's something to be said about the taut design and focus of the original Pikmin. We like it a lot.

5. New Play Control! Pikmin 2 (Wii)

Some might say this is the finest version of the finest Pikmin game, offering the best of all worlds with Wii Remote pointer functionality and a surprisingly good multiplayer component, too. The sequel might make the fruit look tastier in gorgeous HD, but Pikmin 2 is still the gold standard of the series in our book, whether you play on GameCube, with some New Play Control! on Wii, or on Switch.

4. Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Switch)

Visually, Pikmin 3 Deluxe doesn't push the boat out much further than the original Wii U version did. Where its changes lie are in its revamped control system and the addition of a new Side Stories mode. Neither are necessarily transformative enough to warrant double dipping if you're perfectly happy with your Wii U copy, but if you're one of the vast majority who don't have a Wii U copy, this Switch update is unquestionably the best way to play it.

3. Pikmin 3 (Wii U)

Beautifully crafted and filled to the brim with exciting gameplay features, Pikmin 3 is a worthy instalment in Nintendo's quirky strategy series. The core gameplay mechanics remain true to the GameCube originals, but were further enhanced by the unique features of the Wii U GamePad, although you could still use your Wii Remote and Nunchuk (honestly, the 'Deluxe' Switch port offers further proof that the GamePad really was a peripheral option here).

A few minor issues here and there arguably prevented it from reaching the heights of its predecessors, but the Wii U's HD sheen made the fruit hauled by your little plant-based helpers look more delicious than ever.

2. Pikmin 2 (GCN)

Removing the 30-day time limit that so irked players in the first game, Pikmin 2 expands on the original in every way, creating a larger adventure with more of everything you liked before, plus a host of extra modes (including a surprisingly addictive two-player component). Wingman Louie joined Captain Olimar this time around and the game also introduced White and Purple Pikmin, expanding the puzzling possibilities and the options available to you as the diminutive spacemen and their plant-based charges ran around gardens fighting beasties and collecting tasty-looking fruit, discarded objects, and ship pieces. Some players might miss the tight focus of the original, but this is an excellent sequel and absolutely worth digging up.

1. Pikmin 4 (Switch)

Pikmin 4 is a sumptuous strategy adventure that serves up tons of fun for returning fans of the franchise whilst also adding lots to entice new players into giving it a try. Oatchi is the star of the show in our eyes, a very good boy who is woven cleverly into the core of the puzzle action. Series-best dungeons, a hugely inventive overworld, night missions, Dandori battles, and post-credit goodies only sweeten the deal. Yes, the co-op is disappointing, and the campaign's not gonna be challenging enough for some diehard fans, but overall Nintendo nailed it here, serving up a magical Pikmin adventure tailor-made for Switch.

Surprised by the result? Happy to see the Switch getting so much Pikmin love? Let us know your personal favourite below.