Justin is back to tackle another sugary Nintendo treat.
Kung Fu Tea has done it again! That’s right, another Nintendo promotional beverage for 2023 is here. I guess last year’s Kirby inspired beverage from the boba franchise did well enough to entice them to take on Pikmin. After barely surviving the previous beverage, I had to come back for more to tackle the Pikmin Tropical Punch and Slush.
First, I just want to thank Kung Fu Tea for having the guts to back Pikmin in such a way. I know it’s not one of Nintendo’s most known franchises, but it’s for that reason it feels all the more special. Pikmin 4 is a great game and well deserving of its own speciality drink.
Anyway, onto the Pikmin beverage adventure. Kung Fu Tea isn’t the biggest chain, so I do have to go a bit out of my way to even get to one. Luckily the first store I called claimed to have all items included in this special promotion, so I excitedly headed off. Upon arriving, I noticed that the store had a poster for the two advertised Pikmin drinks, in addition to having these drinks appearing on in-store screens to help sell them.
I ordered one Pikmin Tropical Punch and two Pikmin Tropical Slushes. Why? There are three different cups–that sane people would throw out–displaying the Red, Blue, or Yellow Pikmin on them. Additionally, there are three special Straw Toppers that can be collected that depict each stage of a Pikmin’s strength, so there are the Leaf, Bud, and Flower toppers.
The good news is that I was able to acquire all three Straw Toppers. Sadly, even after being told the store specifically had them all, and asking for them when ordering, there was only the Red Pikmin cup to be found at this location. I was upset, but took the prizes I did have outside for a few pictures. The cups look cool especially with the collectable Straw Toppers that serve little purpose afterwards, but I’m sure Nintendo lunatics like myself will be clutching them to the grave.
First up in my taste test I tackled the Pikmin Tropical Slush. The beverage tastes like a slushy version of fruit punch; it was really good! The downfall, in my opinion, is that the bubbles used in this drink were a bit different than the ones in last year’s Kirby drink. I remember the Kirby bubbles being chewy, but the bubbles in the Pikmin Tropical drinks are like a thin sugary film filled with goo. Upon popping them in my mouth I felt the flavor gush out, but that film still remained to be eaten. This is fine overall, but as someone who doesn’t drink much boba I’m not used to these variances.
The worst part of the drink is that these bubbles are filled with mango flavor. I’m not big on mango and was worried going in. That said, the flavoring in these bubbles wasn’t super strong, and I even came to like them a little. It wasn’t the overpowering mango I’m used to in other products. Still, I wish they would have chosen a different fruity flavor to complement the icy cold drink.
Another thing I noticed was that I didn’t feel like death while making my way through the drink like I did with last year’s Kirby’s Fruity Flurry. I’m just going to assume that the Pikmin Tropical Slush has less sugar or that I’ve somehow built up a tolerance for drinking these surely unhealthy treats. Thinking about it, it’s kind of strange that a drink based on vegetable creatures isn’t better for you.
I sampled the Tropical Punch on the first day but dove in on day two after it had sat in the fridge for a night. Honestly, I think the two drinks are about the same, and it just comes down to how you want to consume them. If you prefer slush drinks, go with the slush option. If you want the beverage to be more like a special fruit punch, go with the punch. Drinking the punch is easier though and goes down smooth. It also still has the same mango bubbles. Those looking to try both on a budget could drink half of the slush and then try letting it melt into its punch form. Maybe there’s more of a difference, but I couldn’t really tell.
Overall, I think the Pikmin Tropical Slush and Punch drinks are decent, but I definitely enjoyed Kirby’s Fruity Flurry more. I say that knowing full well that I definitely felt way worse after drinking Kirby, so there is that caveat to the comparison.
Anyway, even after I enjoyed my first beverage on day one, I knew my quest wasn’t over. I still needed the Blue and Yellow Pikmin cups. I then traveled to another nearby Kung Fu Tea location in a crowded area with awful parking. That right there should tell you my desperation. When I got in I told them my story and the guy behind the register responded with a mix of shock and confusion, “You’re trying to collect the cups?”
Sadly this location also only had the Red Pikmin cups. The employee was nice though and told me to try back in the coming weeks and then asked if I had the Kirby cups. I coolly replied, “You know I do.” The clerk estimates that the Pikmin drink will last for about two months, but those interested probably shouldn't wait. Who knows how long those straw toppers will hold out. Good luck out there Pikmin fans. Hopefully we can all return to our Onions with the treasures we desire!