Digital Foundry takes a tech deep dive into Pikmin 4

One of Nintendo's best-looking games...ever?

06 August 2023
by rawmeatcowboy 0

A tech overhaul is afoot at Nintendo with Pikmin 4 making the jump to Unreal Engine - doing away with its in-house engine. The results impress: it moves to a dynamic 900p, boosts lighting and material quality and adds a host of post-effects to the experience. All round, the result is one of the Switch’s best looking releases.

Needless to say, the lighting and geometry of Pikmin 4 are a huge step up over what came before. Material variety is bolstered with the Unreal toolset; notably on Oatchi there’s a fuzzier, fur-like material which diffuses oncoming light, while spacesuit helmets and the chitin shells of insectoid enemies have a glossy porcelain finish. Terrain reacts beautifully with light too, from the mossy undergrowth of the opening garden to the rocks in the sublevels. There’s even a convincing reflective sheen to scratched metals and treasures.

One extra nice touch is seeing the details beyond the garden. Even filtered by the bokeh depth of field, we now see the house and scrapped tires looming over. Again, all of this helps create this sense of Pikmin 4’s action within a miniature-scale world.

If you’d like to read more about how Pikmin 4 uses Unreal Engine to achieve the series’ best visuals, you can check out a full breakdown here.

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