Pikmin is a real-time strategy game originally released on the Nintendo Gamecube. It was the first game in the Pikmin franchise created by Shigeru Miyamoto and was very well-received by critics. They praised the games unique use of cutesy visuals but darker themes, calling it "the game Tim Burton would make if he made video games". A version with updated controls has been released on the Nintendo Wii as part of the New Play Control series.
The game's protagonist is Captain Olimar, a resident of the planet Hocotate, and employee of the company Hocotate Freight. Taking a vacation from work, Olimar pilots his beloved ship, the S.S. Dolphin, off of Hocotate but is hit by a meteorite, causing his ship to crash land on an unknown planet (possibly Earth).
When Olimar awakens, he finds his ship has been severely damaged and is missing almost all of its parts. He also finds that the planet has an oxygen-filled atmosphere, which is deadly to his race, and is left with a life support system that can keep him alive for no more than thirty days. He explores the crash site and comes across a strange bulb-like organism which he nicknames an Onion. He appears to wake the Onion from a state of hibernation, at which point it deposits a seed. The seed quickly sprouts, and Olimar pulls the sprout out of the ground to find that it is in fact a strange humanoid creature. He calls the creature a Pikmin, as it bears resemblance to the pikpik carrots of his planet.
As Olimar sprouts and picks more and more Pikmin he finds they follow him and seem to accept orders from him, viewing him as a leader figure. He soon finds the engine of his ship, which the Pikmin carry back to the Dolphin. With it he is able to launch his rocket and with the help of the Pikmin goes in search of the vital components he needs to repair his ship, and return home to Hocotate.
Based on how players perform in the 30 days they are given, they will see one of three endings:
- 100% Ending - Should players manage to collect all the ship parts in the game Olimar will bid farewell to the Pikmin and take off in the Dolphin, back to his home planet of Hocotate. Onions of many colors can be seem rising off of the surface of the Planet of the Pikmin and when a Bulborb tries to attack the Pikmin he left behind, the Pikmin display what they have learned from Olimar by fighting back at the creature.
- Good Ending - Should players collect all the parts that Olimar's ship needs to function he will take off in the Dolphin, back to Hocotate, with the Pikmin below staring after him.
- Bad Ending - Should players fail to collect all the parts Olimar's ship needs to function, when Olimar attempts to take off he crash lands again. The Pikmin find his body and carry it back to their Onion which turns him into a Hocotatian-Pikmin hybrid so he is able to live on the planet with them. This ending is considered non-canon.
Players assume the role of Captain Olimar, and see the game from a top-down, almost isometric view point. They have 30 in-game days to complete the game before Olimar's life support system runs out, with each day lasting 15 minutes. Players choose a level to spend the day in, and from there can explore the world, looking for enemies to kill, and ship parts to collect. Players can also gain more Pikmin by taking special pellets or dead enemies to the Pikmin's Onions.
Pikmin can be dismissed, either by direct means from the player or getting too far away from Olimar. While dismissed, they stand around aimlessly and do nothing However, should certain items come into range of them when they care in this state, they will go over to it and interact with them.
The camera is controlled with the L, R, and Z buttons. L swings the camera to Olimar's back, R zooms in and out, and Z switches from an isometric to completely top-down viewpoint. This gives the player a range of viewpoints to play the game from. Shigeru Miyamoto commented that he was against the top-down view, arguing that it turned the Pikmin into mere playing pieces rather than individual beings. While he acknowledged that the top-down view makes the game easier, he encourages players to use a more close-up view, such as the default camera angle.
Players control a small marker on the ground which can be moved using the control sticks, and as the marker moves away from Olimar, Olimar will start moving in that direction.
The A button is used to throw any nearby Pikmin to wherever the marker is. Pikmin can be thrown onto enemies to make them attack them or near objects to make them pick them up.
The B button controls the whistle, which starts out with a small radius and expands the longer the button is held down. Any Pikmin within that radius will stop whatever they're doing and come back to Olimar's side, whether they are dismissed, attacking, carrying something, etc.
The Y button brings up the in-game menu, it shows the amount of Pikmin at Olimar's side, and back at the Onion, and shows a map of the area (with stars representing ship parts) once the Radar ship part is obtained.
The X button will dismiss any Pikmin currently following Olimar.
The D-pad only has one function. When down on the D-Pad is pressed Olimar will lay down, causing nearby Pikmin to pick him up and carry him to their Onion. Once there the Onion will try to suck him and he bounces off when he hits the Onion and falls back to the ground, as fireworks emanate from the Onion's flower. This has no specific function and is simply an easter egg.
There are three types of Pikmin in this game, each with their own unique abilities.
- Red - Resistant to fire, and the strongest when it comes to dealing damage.
- Yellow - The weakest, but are resistant to electricity. They are lighter than the other Pikmin and therefore can be thrown higher, into areas other Pikmin cannot reach. They can also carry Bomb-Rocks which are special rocks that can explode and destroy certain obstacles.
- Blue - Can go into water without drowning due to their single gill. Mid-tier strength.
The Pikmin also have different stages, including Leaf, Bud and Flower. With each stage they increase in swiftness and are able to carry back food and ship pieces faster.
The game includes a Challenge Mode where players can try and sprout as many Pikmin as possible before the day ends. This mode features longer days, and enemies that appear in locations where they would not normally appear during the story mode. Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that the mode be included as a way of introducing a casual play option for players.
The Impact Site
The Impact Site is where Olimar's ship first crashed. It was here that he first met the red Pikmin. The Impact Site is the least hostile environment in the game, having few enemies. There are many available pellets, and the region is good for building up the Pikmin's numbers.
The Forest of Hope
The Forest of Hope is the next region that Olimar is able to visit, and is where yellow Pikmin are first found. The forest is home to hostile beasts, most notably Spotty Bulborbs. The Forest of Hope is a fairly open level, and contains features such as empty cans and a cardboard box to give the sense of a backyard-like environment.
The Forest Navel
The Forest Navel is a large, dim region, where blue Pikmin are first found. As its name implies, it lies in the heart of a large forest. The level features some of the more bizarre fauna on the Pikmin Planet, such as the Fiery Blowhog and Puffstool. The Forest Navel was created to challenge players to carry ship parts across large distances.
The Distant Spring
The Distant Spring is a land covered mostly in water. Therefore, blue pikmin become particularly important in locating ship parts. The level contains many dangerous enemies such as Yellow Wollywogs and Spotty Bulbears, a fact that is made worse by roaming distractions such as Swooping Snitchbugs and Puffy Blowhogs. A notable feature of this region is its puzzle elements, most notable in the paths to the Chronos Reactor and UV Lamp. The game's creators wanted to focus more on multi-tasking than puzzles, but chose to leave these few elements in.
The Final Trial
The Final Trial, as the name implies, is the final region visited by Captain Olimar in his quest to repair his ship. The central feature of the level is Emperor Bulblax, the sole enemy of the level, who holds the final ship part. The rest of the level consists of hazards, requiring all three types of Pikmin to clear the way to the final battle.
This is a full list of all 30 parts of the Dolphin, where they can be found, how many Pikmin are needed to carry it and if they are necessary or not.
|Main Engine||The Impact Site||Yes||20||25|
|Positron Generator||The Impact Site||Yes||20||40|
|Eternal Fuel Dynamo||The Forest of Hope||Yes||40||60|
|Whimsical Radar||The Forest of Hope||Yes||20||40|
|Extraordinary Bolt||The Forest of Hope||Yes||30||50|
|Nova Blaster||The Forest of Hope||No||30||50|
|Shock Absorber||The Forest of Hope||Yes||30||50|
|Radiation Canopy||The Forest of Hope||Yes||30||50|
|Geiger Counter||The Forest of Hope||Yes||15||25|
|Sagittarius||The Forest of Hope||Yes||20||30|
|#1 Ionium Jet||The Forest Naval||Yes||15||25|
|Gravity Jumper||The Forest Naval||Yes||25||45|
|Automatic Gear||The Forest Naval||Yes||15||25|
|Space Float||The Forest Naval||No||25||40|
|Anti-Dioxin Filter||The Forest Naval||Yes||40||60|
|Libra||The Forest Naval||Yes||15||25|
|Analog Computer||The Forest Naval||Yes||20||40|
|Omega Stabilizer||The Forest Naval||Yes||30||50|
|Guard Satellite||The Forest Naval||Yes||20||40|
|Repair-Type Bolt||The Distant Spring||Yes||20||40|
|Massage Machine||The Distant Spring||No||20||50|
|Interstellar Radio||The Distant Spring||Yes||20||40|
|Gluon Drive||The Distant Spring||Yes||50||70|
|UV Lamp||The Distant Spring||No||10||25|
|Zirconium Rotor||The Distant Spring||Yes||30||50|
|Pilot's Seat||The Distant Spring||Yes||25||45|
|Bowsprit||The Distant Spring||Yes||30||50|
|Chronos Reactor||The Distant Spring||Yes||20||40|
|#2 Ionium Jet||The Distant Spring||Yes||15||25|
|Secret Safe||The Final Trial||No||40||95|
New Play Control Version
Pikmin, along with it's sequel Pikmin 2, was released as part of the 'New Play Control' franchise created by Nintendo to rehash Gamecube games to include Wii controls for re-release on the Nintendo Wii. Pikmin 'New Play Control' utilizes the Wii Remote and lets the player point and click on the screen using the IR tech on the Wii controller, instead of moving the character with the control stick. The game also saves day-by-day records of the player's achievements, allowing the player to restart from any previous recorded day of their choosing. It also includes widescreen and 480p for all regions support (PAL versions of the GameCube release did not support 480p/progressive scan).
Pikmin received both the E3 2001 Game Critics Awards for Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor game, and the 2001 Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence Award for Interactive Art.