Pikmin (JP) is a series of real-time strategy video games created by Shigeru Miyamoto (the same person who created the Mario and The Legend of Zelda franchises), stars a Hocotatian named Olimar. In each game, he somehow ends up on a planet referred to as Pikmin Planet or PNF-404 (by the inhabitants of Koppai) and needs the Pikmin to help him out with his problems. In the end Captain Olimar always goes back home to Hocotate, but the Pikmin are left behind in the planet. In the second game, Olimar managed to help the Pikmin from dying out, but each color is very close to extinction or is already extinct.
The Pikmin are plant-like creatures who are native to the Pikmin Planet. They are generally taller than they are wide, and have stalks with a leaf, bud or flower on top of their head.
If a Pikmin has a leaf on them, that means they've probably been just born, or have recently come out of a battle where they were thrown a lot, and are the slowest. If a Pikmin has a bud on their head, that means that they were left in the ground when they were born long enough for them to become a bud, or they recently had a battle where they were thrown around a bit.
Bud Pikmin are the second-fastest. If a Pikmin has a flower on their head, that means that they had recently eaten Yellow Nectar, or they were left in the ground for a long time which let their leaves grow into flowers. If all the Pikmin become extinct, the Onion can produce one seedling as a last-ditch effort.
Each different type of Pikmin have their own special abilities, and their own special features that make them unique and invaluable. The following is a list of the current known Pikmin and what they can do.
Red Pikmin have a nose as their special body feature. In Pikmin they were a little stronger than the other two types of Pikmin. In Pikmin 2 they are the second strongest Pikmin type in the game. Red Pikmin are also immune to fire.
The Yellows have ears as their distinguishing feature. In Pikmin they were able to be thrown high possibly due to their ears, which they may have flapped to make them fly higher (that isn't confirmed though) and they could carry Bomb Rocks, which were little rocks that would explode when placed on the ground.
In Pikmin 2, they lost their ability to pick up Bomb Rocks, and gained the ability to withstand electricity. This was very useful because if any other Pikmin type touched electricity, they died immediately. If any Pikmin type touched any other hazard they couldn't withstand, you'd be able to save them by Whistling to them as they ran around.
The Blue Pikmin have a mouth, which no other Pikmin have. In both Pikmin games, Blue Pikmin can walk through water and can save drowning Pikmin by pressing X nearby the drowning Pikmin to disband them. Then hopefully they'll grab the Pikmin and throwing them back to land. Beware, Blue Pikmin can only throw as far as your Captain can.
The Purple Pikmin are much more bulkier compared to other Pikmin, they have hair-like things growing out of their head, and they have a pink flower or bud. The Purple Pikmin were originally first discovered by Olimar in Pikmin 2, where they could stun enemies if thrown at them, are very slow when walking around, and can carry ten times more than any other Pikmin. Despite them being the strongest Pikmin in the game, they are also the slowest, giving the Pikmin type a disadvantage i are your trying t out run an enemy.
White Pikmin were also first discovered in Pikmin 2, and have big red eyes, and have a pink flower or bud. They are the smallest of the Pikmin, but they are the fastest and they have the ability to detect underground treasure. They are also immune to poison, and if they are eaten they'd poison the enemy and deal some damage to them.
Bulbmin are a special kind of Pikmin that first appeared in Pikmin 2. They are parasites that have taken control of a Bulborb from the inside. While they have almost full control over their host, the Bulbmin's appetite can't be stopped, resulting in grown-ups attacking the captains and their followers. Bulbmin are always seen with juveniles, which join the captains when their parents are killed. They are only found in caves, and juveniles in the group stay when the captains leave.
Winged Pikmin are small Pink Pikmin with blue eyes and the ability to fly. They do more damage to flying enemies but less to grounded enemies. While they have slow carrying speed, they do not have to follow paths and can fly over bodies of water. They can get trapped in webs which can get them eaten by spider-like enemies
Rock Pikmin are bulky and gray, with a rocky exterior. They do more damage when they are thrown and can break crystals. They cannot latch onto enemies and instead throw themselves to deal damage. They are slower than the average Pikmin.
There seem to exist many other types of Pikmin as well, though as of yet they can't be played as. These Pikmin can be seen at the ending of Pikmin. There is also Pikmar, which is a combination of a Pikmin and Olimar.
Pikmin live in Onions. Onions is a circular pod with 3 legs on the ground. Originally, the pod was the color of the color of the Pikmin type that lives within it though this changed in Pikmin 3 so that there is a single Onion with the colors mixed like a rainbow. When a creature is defeated, Pikmin carry the creature back to the respective Onion that the plurality is carrying. The onion converts the creature into Pikmin seeds and sends them into the surrounding ground. A Captain must pull out these seedlings for them to be used
The story of Pikmin begins when Captain Olimar was taking an interstellar vacation and was smashed by a meteor. His ship, the Dolphin, was shattered into thirty pieces, and Olimar's life support can only last thirty days. At the beginning of his journey, he discovers the Pikmin, who help him regain his ship pieces, move obstacles, and fend off dangerous foes.
In the end, Olimar escapes, but meanwhile, his company named Hocotate Freight ran into financial difficulties... Upon Olimar's return, the President of the company explains that during his absence, another worker named Louie was delivering Pikpik Carrots to a far off-planet. During his trip, he was attacked by ravenous space bunnies, and the Pikpik Carrots were eaten! The loss of all of the carrots cost over 10,100 pokos! Olimar's ship is forced to be sold, and in shock, he drops a bottle cap, which was to be a souvenir for his kid.
A near by ship detects that it is worth one hundred pokos! That's more than a year's salary! The President quickly rushes Olimar off with Louie back to the Pikmin planet to gather more treasure! There, they mees two new Pikmin, many new creatures, and dangerous holes full of deadly beasts. Once Olimar and Louie finish their quest for the remaining 10,000 pokos, Olimar leaves immediately. But... where did Louie go!? He was left behind and taken away by a hideous beast known as the Titan Dweevil. Olimar tells the President the news, and the President decides to join Olimar in his mission to rescue Louie! In the end, they succeed, but when they rescue Louie, he doesn't seem to have been in any danger.
The President managed to make Hocotate Freightfall into deficit once more and send Olimar and Louie on the Pikmin planet for the fourth time while he go on vacation. The two Captain rapidly run into troubles when they want to explore the Formidable Oak and Olimar is captured by the Plasm Wraith while Louie stay on his own.
Meanwhile, the Koppaites ran into a food crisis and sent the SPERO probes to find planets that harbor edible matter. The probes eventually find the Pikmin Planet that they name PNF-404. Alph, Brittany, and Captain Charlie are then sent to PNF-404. They crash on the planet and are separed from the S.S. Drake, Alph manage to go back to the ship and notice that the Cosmic Drive Key is missing and that the crew is trapped on the planet. After reuniting with the rest of the crew, Alph and the others learn that Olimar found the key and try to find him.
They run into an unconscious Louie in the Twilight River and believe that he is Olimar and take him back to their ship for the night. Louie regain consciousness during the night, take control of the ship and escape with all of the Koppaite's food. They manage to find him a second time and capture him after defeating the Quaggled Mireclops. They learn from him that the real Olimar is at the top of the Formidable Oak and decide to go there. They discover that Olimar was captured by the Plasm Wraith and after a fierce battle they save him and get the key back.
The crew then propose to take both Hocotatians to their planet but somehow, Louie manage sto escape from the ship and stay on the planet.
The creation of the Pikmin concept
The very concept was based on Shigeru Miyamoto's idea to do a game based on the idea of having many ant-sized people carrying various items from a point to another. According to some interviews, he had this idea after seeing a line of ants marching past his feet and carrying leaves to their nest while he was gardening. He then thought about how the ants always have a leader, this idea would bring forth the idea of having Captain Olimar as a controlable character.
The original Pikmin is also completely based on the Super Mario 128 technical demo shown during Nintendo Space World 2000. This demo was initially created to develop a sequel for Super Mario 64, the demo featured rapid generation of numerous entities (the 128 Mario) and the ability to make those entities walk on 3D generated spheres. The project of a Super Mario 64 sequel was canceled and the different aspects of the demo were gradually used in future projects. The 3D sphere walking technology was used in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and as the main gameplay concept of Super Mario Galaxy.
The ability to generate more than 100 entities was, however, used right away in Miyamoto's new project. This gave him the tools to create a game where many ant-like people with their own independent behavior. The project was initially called Adam and Eve and was supposed to be a God-like where the player watched over two characters and could influence their choices but without controlling them directly. The developers eventually run into trouble when they realised how little the player would be involved with the game. They then came up with the idea of using the C-Stick to control the characters and the idea of having a leader with directly controlled and with the ability to toss the creature.
The concept of the whistle was then introduced before being tossed away and then reintroduced when Miyamoto realised that the sound was like teacher calling his or her children back to the school when they're playing outside and as such it would be recognized all over the world. The concept of a leader evolved into the character of Olimar, a captain who crashlanded on a mysterious planet and discovered the Pikmin, an indigenous species who helped him to fix his ship before 30 days or else the toxic atmosphere of the planet would kill him. The character of Olimar himself was based on another of Miyamoto's characters, Mario, they both share huge noses and Olimar's name is an anagram of Mario's name.
From a Standalone game to a series
Pikmin was oficially shown for the first time at E3 2001 with a trailer that reveal the core gameplay mechanics of this new franchise. One of the most interesting point of the trailer is that it is the first appearance of the Bulborb, which is the last remaining enemy from the Adam and Eve project. According to the developers, the Bulborb was originally intended to be the equivalent of a mammoth while the small creatures would be similar to caveman. The Bulborb would become a much more terrifying creature, however. The Bulborb became the signature predator of the Pikmin and one of the most iconic enemy in the series with many variations and one of the most dangerous enemies at the beginning of each Pikmin game.
Later this year, another trailer focussing on the interactions between the Pikmin and the environment, they build stairs and are even seen bringing down a wall. A third trailer focussing on the story was then released to the public, this trailer shows the main goal of the game: finding the pieces of the S.S. Dolphin after Olimar crashed on the planet and how the Pikmin can be used to transport those items. The game released in most of the world in 2001 before finally reaching Europe in June 2002.
As soon as December 2002, a sequel to the original Pikmin was confirmed to be in development by Shigeru Miyamoto himself. During E3 2003, Pikmin 2 was revealed and showed Louie for the first as well as the new gameplay possibilities the two playable characters brought to the table. Still during E3, gameplay of the Challenge was shown. A year later, during E3 2004, a new trailer was shown, but little new informations were given by it.
The game released in most of the world in summer 2004. Pikmin 2 switched the time limit for a most open and explorable world that allow the player to explore the caves in whatever order they like as soon as they have all types of Pikmins. Those caves acts as dungeons with many floors and a boss at the end, additionally two new types of Pikmin, the White Pikmin and the Purple Pikmin, were added to give the player more options and create new hazards to take advantage of the poison resistance of the White Pikmin.
The plot of the game center around the financial deficit of Hocotate Freight, Olimar's company, as soon as the Hocotatian return on Hocotate he discover that Louie failed his first mission and managed to loose all of their Golden Pikpik Carrots to a space bunny. The two employee are then sent back to the Pikmin Planet after their president discover that the treasure brought back by Olimar is so valuable.
The road to Pikmin 3
After the release of Pikmin 2, the series was involuntarily put on hiatus due to many aborted projects and technical diificulties conserning what would become Pikmin 3 almost a decade later. The Pikmin team mentioned that they originally tried to make a Pikmin game for the Nintendo DS after the release of Pikmin 2, but that the hardware was not powerful enough to suport the gameplay of a strategy game where you control 100 different entities and all attempt resulted on a very basic game that was not what they aimed for. In 2007, Miyamoto hinted at the possibility of a potential Pikmin 3 in the future.
In 2008, Super Smash Bros. Brawl released and featured Captain Olimar as a playable character for the first time. Additionally, all the types of Pikmin known at this time were part of his moveset and a stage called Distant Planet was based on the Pikmin series and featured an enormous Bulborb that tried to eat the fighters. Later this year, during E3 2008, Miyamoto announced that Pikmin 3 was in development for the Wii. In early 2009, the two original Pikmin games were ported to the Wii and adapted to the new controls of the console. During E3 2009, Miyamoto said clearly that Pikmin 3 was still in development.
During E3 2011, Nintendo announced that the game would be pushed back to release on the Wii U, Nintendo's first HD console. This forced the Pikmin Team to rethink the game for an entirely new platform. It was not until E3 2012 that Nintendo would reveal gameplay of Pikmin 3 for the first time.
Pikmin 3 and beyond
During E3 2012, a concept art depicting four captain was shown by Nintendo, this piece of artwork is quite important in the history of Pikmin 3 as it show that at one point the game was supposed to have four playable characters, but character D was removed from the game. The three other seems to be early version of Alph, Brittany, and Captain Charlie; three characters that are indeed the protagonists of Pikmin 3. The trailer shown at E3 2012 also introduced a new type of Pikmin known as the Rock Pikmin.
The different game modes and the Winged Pikmin where shown in Nintendo Directs and even during E3 2013 since the release date of the game was pushed back to mid-2013 when it was originally supposed to release along with the Wii U. The game return to the model of the original Pikmin and bring back the time limit that is symbolised by the number of fruit juice the player has. The fruit juice is obtained by collecting fruits, which is a major plot point since the characters need to collect their seeds and bring them back to Koppai, their starving homeworld. It is also during this game that the Pikmin Planet gain the name of PNF-404, which is choosen by the Koppaite.
In early 2013, Miyamoto stated in an interview that he also planed to created a series of short animated movies based on the Pikmin series. Olimar was also confirmed to be a returning playable character in the new Super Smash Bros. installment, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, one day before the Japanese release of Pikmin 3. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U finally released at the end of 2014 and featured a new stage in the Wii U version, Garden of Hope, which is based on the Garden of Hope, one of the area of Pikmin 3. The Peckish Aristocrab also make an appearance as a stage hazard that will try to run over any characters standing on its path. The Red Bulborb and the Iridescent Flint Beetle also make an appearance as enemies exclusive to the Smash Run mode of the 3DS version. New trophies based on Pikmin 3 are also featured alongside Alph who serves as Olimar alternate costume.
After the release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, the Pikmin shorts created by Miyamoto finally released. In September 2015 Miyamoto stated in an interview that Pikmin 4 was in development. Meanwhile, the Pikmin team tried to make a Pikmin game on the 3DS since they failed to do so with the DS a few years ago. The 3DS was, however, still too weak to handle a traditional Pikmin game so they decided to switch the formula and create a spin-off which would take the form of a 2D platformer.
This game was shown for the first time in a Nintendo Direct broadcasted in September 2016. The game center around Olimar crashing on a new Unknown Planet who also host Pikmin, but where many of the enemies are entirely new or greatly different from their PNF-404 versions. The game, named Hey! Pikmin, retain the Pikmin based puzzles, but in 2D and with a 20 Pikmin limit to avoid any technical difficulties. Olimar also gained a jetpack that allow him to hover for some time and got a new ship called the S.S. Dolphin II, which is based on his original ship, but with the ability to speak. Olimar must find treasures containing Sparklium, the fuel needed to have his ship leave the planet. During E3 2017, Miyamoto confirmed that Pikmin 4 was still in development but that he wasn't allowed to say more about the game. Hey! Pikmin would release in July 2017 worldwide.
List of video games
- Pikmin - GameCube, the first game in the series. There are only three types of Pikmin in this game.
- This game launched alongside the GameCube, and was one of the highest rated game during the release.
- Pikmin 2 - GameCube, the second game in the series. There are five types of Pikmin, two more than the original.
- New Play Control! Pikmin - Wii, the same as Pikmin, with new controls on the Wii to make directing Pikmin easier.
- New Play Control! Pikmin 2 - Wii, same as Pikmin 2, but with new controls to make it easier.
- Pikmin 3 - Wii U, 3rd game in the series, introduces a new cast of 3 captains (Alph, Brittany, and Charlie) and two new Pikmin types (Rock and Flying). First Pikmin game to have DLC
- Hey! Pikmin - Nintendo 3DS, a platformer that mark the first iteration of the Pikmin series on a handheld device. (It is not Pikmin 4)
- Pikmin 3 Deluxe - Nintendo Switch, an enhanced port of the third game that adds a new side story about Olimar's return to PNF-404
- Pikmin (Mobile) - Mobile, an upcoming mobile spin-off.
- In Super Smash Bros. Melee, there are two trophies that have Pikmin characters on it.
- In Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, you will see Pikmin jump out of the ground if your ball lands in a patch of flowers.
- At the Second-hand Store in the game Nintendogs, on the top screen at the right is a stuffed Red Bulborb
- In the Deepwood Shrine from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, there are Mushroom enemies called Puffstools. These were also found in the first Pikmin game as a mini-boss who held the Omega Stabilizer.
- In the Wii game Super Mario Galaxy, there is a floating ship that looks just like Olimar's ship.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Captain Olimar and his Pikmin appear as playable characters. A host of other references to the Pikmin series are also present, such as a stage (Distant Planet), a multitude of trophies and stickers plus music from the series.
- In Animal Crossing: City Folk, a Pikmin themed items have been released as downloadable content, although every item is available only for one or two weeks: Pikmin Hat in February 2009 (when New Play Control: Pikmin was released for the Wii), Dolphin model in July 2009.
- In WarioWare D.I.Y., one of the staff-made microgames has the player chucking a Red Pikmin on a rock.
- On the Nintendo 3DS, when you transfer DSi stuff to the 3DS, Pikmin will run across the screen, the Pikmin are also on an AR Card, and there is a hat you can unlock for your Mii character in StreetPass Mii Plaza.
- On the Wii U, when you transfer data from the Wii to the Wii U, Pikmin are seen carrying the save data between the two consoles.
- In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, there is 3 Pikmin hats for the 3 main types, the Dolphin and a row of planted Pikmin
- In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Olimar and Pikmin return as a character with Alph as an alternate costume. The Bulborb is a Smash Run enemy. The Garden of Hope from Pikmin 3 appears as a stage. Brittany and others appear as trophies.
In other Medias
Pikmin Short Movies
A trio of animated films called the Pikmin Short Movies were premiered On October 25th, 2014 at the Tokyo Film Festival before being released in February 2015 for North America and in March 2016 for Europe.
- The series was started from Miyamoto's new hobby of gardening.
- There was once Pikmin games in development for the DS and 3DS. They were cancelled because they felt like unit management, controlling by the stylus. They felt the series was too action-oriented for just stylus control.