Pikmin last edited by MrSensible on 07/11/18 10:15AM View full history

Overview

Olimar and his Pikmin army
Olimar and his Pikmin army

Pikmin is a real-time strategy game developed by Nintendo EAD and originally released on GameCube in 2001. After crash-landing on an uncharted planet during his interstellar vacation, Captain Olimar discovers an indigenous species of small plant-like humanoids called "Pikmin" capable of following his commands. Olimar must utilize these helpful creatures in order to re-gather the parts necessary to repair his spaceship and escape the planet within thirty days before his suit's life support system fails.

This is the first game in the Pikmin franchise and was generally well-received; most critics praised the game's visuals, especially the detailed and naturalistic environments. A direct sequel, Pikmin 2, was released in 2004.

A newer version of the original game with updated controls was released on Wii as part of the "New Play Control" series.

Story

The game's protagonist is Captain Olimar, a resident of the planet Hocotate and captain of his own spaceship, the S.S. Dolphin. A "well-known navigator of the stars," Olimar supports himself and his family by hauling small freight and mineral shipments between planets. Olimar's tendency to overwork himself leads to exhaustion, so one day he decides to take a long-overdue vacation alone to recuperate and blasts off from Hocotate with no set destination in mind. However, just after enabling the Dolphin's auto-pilot, Olimar's ship is struck by a meteoroid, causing it to crash-land on a nearby planet (possibly Earth).

A stray meteoroid strikes the Dolphin
A stray meteoroid strikes the Dolphin

When Olimar awakens, he finds his ship has been severely damaged and is missing almost all of its component parts. He also discovers that the planet has an oxygen-rich atmosphere, an element deadly to his race, forcing Olimar to rely on his spacesuit's life support system which can only function on its internal battery for thirty days. While exploring the crash site, Olimar comes across a strange bulb-like organism which he nicknames an "Onion". Approaching the Onion seems to awaken it 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 his favorite brand of "Pikpik" carrots back on Hocotate.

S.S. Dolphin and the Onions
S.S. Dolphin and the Onions

As Olimar sprouts and picks more Pikmin, he finds that they all follow him and accept his orders, appearing to regard him as a leader figure. Olimar soon locates the Dolphin's missing main engine near the crash site, which the Pikmin carry back to his ship. Once this critical part is reinstalled, Olimar is able to launch and pilot the Dolphin, albeit only across the surface of the planet. His hope for survival restored, Olimar resolves to locate the remainder of the vital components needed to repair his ship with the help of the Pikmin.

Endings

Based on how players perform in the thirty 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.

Gameplay

Olimar and Red Pikmin
Olimar and Red Pikmin

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.

Camera

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.

Main Control

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.

No Caption Provided

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.

Pikmin Variants

There are three types of Pikmin in this game, each with their own unique abilities.

The three Pikmin Types
The three Pikmin Types
  • 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.

Challenge Mode

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.

Locations

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.

Ship Parts

This is a full list of all thirty parts of the Dolphin, where they can be found, how many Pikmin are needed to carry it and if they are necessary or not.

No Caption Provided
Main Engine | Location: The Impact Site
The very first part recovered allows the Dolphin to blast off and reach other areas.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Positron Generator | Location: The Impact Site
An electric generator used by Olimar to heat his "Instant Space Noodles".
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Eternal Fuel Dynamo | Location: The Forest of Hope
A part resembling two batteries wired together which provides an inexhaustible energy supply.
Weight: 40 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Whimsical Radar | Location: The Forest of Hope
This important part enables the Map feature, allowing Olimar to view the locations of other parts in an area.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Extraordinary Bolt | Location: The Forest of Hope
A seemingly ordinary bolt that only a "true connoisseur" can appreciate.
Weight: 30 | Max. Carriers: 50 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Nova Blaster | Location: The Forest of Hope
An energy weapon capable of destroying most kinds of matter with a dazzling burst of light.
Weight: 30 | Max. Carriers: 50 | Optional
No Caption Provided
Shock Absorber | Location: The Forest of Hope
Counteracts most of the turbulence experienced during a typical spaceflight.
Weight: 30 | Max. Carriers: 50 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Radiation Canopy | Location: The Forest of Hope
The Dolphin's cockpit cover protects its pilot from the harmful effects of deep-space radiation.
Weight: 30 | Max. Carriers: 50 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Geiger Counter | Location: The Forest of Hope
Olimar describes this as a "noisy gauge," apparently unfamiliar with its purpose of detecting radiation.
Weight: 15 | Max. Carriers: 25 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Sagittarius | Location: The Forest of Hope
A keepsake from Olimar's son attached to the Dolphin's starboard side.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 30 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
#1 Ionium Jet | Location: The Forest Navel
One of two twin attitude thrusters, this one is mounted to the Dolphin's starboard side.
Weight: 15 | Max. Carriers: 25 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Gravity Jumper | Location: The Forest Navel
A gravity manipulation device that aids the Dolphin's acceleration to faster-than-light speeds.
Weight: 25 | Max. Carriers: 45 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Automatic Gear | Location: The Forest Navel
Conveniently automates basic piloting functions, allowing Olimar to focus on other tasks during spaceflight.
Weight: 15 | Max. Carriers: 25 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Space Float | Location: The Forest Navel
A device for "swimming in space" kept by Olimar in case of emergencies.
Weight: 25 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Optional
No Caption Provided
Anti-Dioxin Filter | Location: The Forest Navel
This rocket exhaust port cover filters carcinogens to keep the Dolphin environmentally friendly.
Weight: 40 | Max. Carriers: 60 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Libra | Location: The Forest Navel
A keepsake from Olimar's daughter attached to the Dolphin's port side.
Weight: 15 | Max. Carriers: 25 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Analog Computer | Location: The Forest Navel
Analyzes "vague data" gathered by the Dolphin's main computer and bolsters its artificial intelligence.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Optional
No Caption Provided
Omega Stabilizer | Location: The Forest Navel
One of the Dolphin's four stabilizer fins, this part helps the ship maintain a straight trajectory during flight.
Weight: 30 | Max. Carriers: 50 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Guard Satellite | Location: The Forest Navel
A mobile point-defense system for guarding against space pirate attacks.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Repair-Type Bolt | Location: The Distant Spring
An automated repair device that can fix nearly any other broken part inside the Dolphin.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Massage Machine | Location: The Distant Spring
Fits around Olimar's waist to provide therapeutic relief from his chronic lower-back pain.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 50 | Optional
No Caption Provided
Interstellar Radio | Location: The Distant Spring
Emits a constant distress signal and receives deep-space broadcasts.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Gluon Drive | Location: The Distant Spring
A complex yet integral ship part, the inner workings of which remain an utter mystery to Olimar.
Weight: 50 | Max. Carriers: 70 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
UV Lamp | Location: The Distant Spring
A handheld light source often used by Olimar for recreational sunbathing.
Weight: 10 | Max. Carriers: 25 | Optional
No Caption Provided
Zirconium Rotor | Location: The Distant Spring
A rust-proof ship component that Olimar paid "a lot extra" to have installed.
Weight: 30 | Max. Carriers: 50 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Pilot's Seat | Location: The Distant Spring
Nothing more than a comfy cushion, but Olimar greatly values its presence.
Weight: 25 | Max. Carriers: 45 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Bowsprit | Location: The Distant Spring
The "face" of the Dolphin, this sleek nose cone was designed by Olimar himself.
Weight: 30 | Max. Carriers: 50 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Chronos Reactor | Location: The Distant Spring
An advanced part that converts space-time into energy, much to the amazement of Olimar.
Weight: 20 | Max. Carriers: 40 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
#2 Ionium Jet | Location: The Distant Spring
One of two twin attitude thrusters, this one is mounted to the Dolphin's port side.
Weight: 15 | Max. Carriers: 25 | Mandatory
No Caption Provided
Secret Safe | Location: The Final Trial
Olimar's most prized possession contains a small fortune in hard-earned funds.
Weight: 40 | Max. Carriers: 95 | Optional

New Play Control Version

The 'New Player Control' Pikmin controls.
The 'New Player Control' Pikmin controls.

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).

Awards

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.

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