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Video Game / Pikmin

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"Let's make a game based entirely around micromanagement.

Let's make a game where every moment must be spent efficiently or else it can't be completed at all; any wasted time means a growing anxiety of being able to finish. All your units must be fragile enough that a literal stray wind will severely debilitate them, and every enemy must be powerful enough to steamroll through and obliterate your entire squad in an instant if left unchecked. Let's make a game that forces you to spend several hours and superfluous effort to reach a goal that, if not reached correctly, will cease to exist.

Hell, while we're at it, let's put a time limit on the whole thing.


Real-Time Strategy at its quirkiest, the Pikmin series came about from a mix of the Super Mario 128 project, Shigeru Miyamoto's childhood observations of insects at work, his hobby of gardening, and general RTS gameplay. The Pikmin games lead players into a world where they must use the different kinds of plantlike creatures called "Pikmin" to defeat enemies, produce other Pikmin, collect treasures, and survive in a strange world with even stranger creatures.

The first game's basic storyline follows Captain Olimar as he crash-lands on a mysterious planet, destroying much of his ship in the process. The parts are scattered all over the region, leaving Olimar to command armies of Pikmin to get them back. The twist? He has 30 days to do it, or he dies from the dangerous oxygen in the air! Sounds fun already, doesn't it? Enough people seemed to think so, and the game became a hit in the Nintendo community.


A sequel was soon created, Pikmin 2, in which Olimar and his partner Louie went back to the planet in search of the rare treasures it held, in an attempt to bring their company back out of debt. Pikmin 2 soon became even more critically acclaimed than its predecessor, gaining rave reviews for its improved length, reliability, clever challenges, and unique style. Despite this, for whatever reason, the series hit a snag here. The series went on a hiatus with only the vaguest clues that it was still around, with Miyamoto giving rather vague hints to a third game in the series. In the meantime, fans had to contend with nine or so years of waiting before Pikmin 3 was revealed at E3 2011.

Pikmin 3 launched on July 13th, 2013 in Japan, followed by releases on July 26th in Europe, July 27th in Australia, and August 4th in North America. It was first shown at E3 2012, and introduces a system where the GamePad can be used to have a quick look-around of the map. If you play with the GamePad alone, the game controls and looks more like a Real-Time Strategy game. Interestingly enough, the player does not step into the shoes of Captain Olimar this time around, but rather three new pilots from the planet Koppai: Alph, Brittany, and Charlie. The planet is currently suffering a massive food shortage, and in a desperate attempt at salvation the three fly to the Pikmin planet (which they dub PNF-404) to collect fruit. However, an accident before landing scatters the trio and their Cosmic Drive Key, a component critical for getting back home. The three pilots, with the help of the Pikmin, must reunite, recover the drive key, and gather enough fruit to save their race from extinction while dealing with a familiar pair of explorers that also seem to have business on the planet...


A fourth installment was suddenly and surprisingly announced to be "very close to completion" on September 7th, 2015, by Shigeru Miyamoto himself, but no word was said since because it wasn't a high priority of Nintendo's because of the Nintendo Switch coming out soon around the time.

A spin-off for the 3DS was also surprisingly announced on the 9/1/16 Nintendo direct and released in July of 2017, featuring Olimar and the Pikmin cast from 3 back in the lead roles on a 2D action platforming adventure. The story involves Olimar in his new ship, the S.S. Dolphin 2, once again crash landing, this time on a new planet that somehow also has Pikmin on it. Rather used to this by now, Olimar must use the various Pikmin colors to collect treasure in order to refuel his ship and blast off. This new title, called Hey! Pikmin, is compatible with amiibo, with its own specific Amiibo featuring the titled plant creatures releasing the same day as the game.

Another spinoff, Pikmin Bloom, is an augmented-reality location-based phone game. It was co-developed by Niantic Labs, creators of Pokémon GO, and released on October 27, 2021.

On September 13, 2022, Pikmin 4 was finally confirmed to have a release date, 8 years after Pikmin 3. It is set to be released in 2023.

The official Japanese website for Pikmin 3 can be found here, while the English version of the site can be found here.

The first two games have been ported to Wii as well, with enhanced Wii Remote controls; in 2020, the third game was ported to the Nintendo Switch with all DLC included and extra side missions starring series regulars Olimar and Louie. Olimar is also a playable character in the Super Smash Bros. series beginning with Brawl, with Alph added as an alternate costume in Wii U and 3DS. The series as a whole is represented in Nintendo Land with its own subgame, Pikmin Adventure, and is also referenced a few times here and there, like in WarioWare. It even appears as animations used to represent the transferring of your data to the 3DS and Wii U!

Like many works of fiction, there is a dedicated wiki to this series, namely Pikipedia.

Some animated shorts hinted at during Pikmin 3's development have been released for the Wii U and 3DS eShop for around five US dollars, with the Wii U version being in HD, and the 3DS version being in 3D. In 2020, Nintendo uploaded these shorts on their YouTube page, where they can be watched free of charge.

Compare to Overlord, which has a similar but darker premise. Not to be confused with the trope Pig Man, or with the short story "Pickman's Model" by H. P. Lovecraft.

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    Games in the series 

Main Series


This series provides examples of:

  • Ability Required to Proceed: A standard feature of the games has the player encounter obstacles and hazards barring access to collectibles, Plot Coupons, new areas or other forms of progression, which require the use of specific Pikmin types' abilities to cross. Specifically, blue Pikmin can swim and are needed to explore flooded areas, red Pikmin are fireproof and are needed to navigate fire hazards, yellow Pikmin are immune to electricity and are needed to tear down electrified gates, white Pikmin are immune poison and are needed to cross areas laced with toxic gas, rock Pikmin are needed to break apart glass walls and crystals and flying Pikmin are needed to access objects on high ledges. The ability barriers go further in some cases; one boss in the game can only be damaged after getting hit by a purple Pikmin.
  • After the End: It's strongly implied in the original that the Pikmin planet is Earth. The second game doesn't waste any time and outright shows Africa and Europe clearly in the opening. Whether or not there's any humans left is up for debate. Also, in the sequel, two of the items you need to open new areas are halves of a globe. In Pikmin 3, the planet resembles "Pangaea Ultima", a hypothetical model of what the Earth would look like 250 million years in the future.
  • Airborne Mook:
    • Shearwigs are relatives of the common Sheargrub enemies with wings, allowing them to fly above the Pikmin's reach.
    • Puffy and Withering Blowhogs, unlike the other two Blowhog varieties, are filled with air and float above easy fighting range.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The first day in all of the main games has no time limit and it is impossible to lose Pikmin without some sort of major glitch. Even the Dwarf Red Bulborb at the beginning of the second game cannot kill them. This allows new players to get a good grasp on commanding Pikmin without the worry that they're wasting time that could be spent doing something else. In effect, Day 1 is an Antepiece for the entire rest of the game.
  • Aquatic Mook:
    • Water Dumples are aquatic relatives of the common Bulborb enemies, provided with fins instead of legs and adapted to aquatic environments.
    • Generally, all games feature one or two enemy species that live chiefly or exclusively in the water. This can present a problem to deal with, as only Blue Pikmin can swim or survive underwater and the most powerful Pikmin types are thus useless for fighting them.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have up to 100 Pikmin outside at any one time. In the second game, the ship speculates that this may be an evolutionary strategy developed by the onions: no matter what happens on the ground, only 100 Pikmin can be lost, so the species will never die out. Even though the Pikmin short movies released years later showed far more than one hundred Pikmin on screen at certain points. On a meta level, this limit was put in place to avoid over-straining the game's AI, which obviously wouldn't be a problem when making the animated shorts. In 3 Deluxe, the Ultra-Spicy difficulty lowers the count to only 60 Pikmin.
  • Armless Biped: The Bulborbs are stout creatures that waddle around on a pair of short legs, and use their giant mouths as their only weapons.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The little creatures for which the game is named seem to be completely blind to the hazards around them. Whistle to your blue Pikmin, summoning them across water? Any reds that are too close will happily march straight across the water with them. Red Pikmin can't swim. Take a few Pikmin that you thought were all electricity-immune yellows to destroy some electric hazards, set them on the electricity, and oops. Apparently a white or two was in there as well. Too bad electricity's an insta-kill in Pikmin 2 (it was nerfed in the third so it only stuns Pikmin, but that's still an inconvenience when many enemies roam around).
    • The enemies have a bit of this as well. A Firey Blowhog just keeps on breathing fire on an idle, heat-resistant red Pikmin.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Having the max amount of Pikmin on a collectable makes them take it back to the ship/Onion quicker, but this is more of a timesink than it helps. It's better to have the minimum amount of Pikmin on a collectable so that you have a larger group overall to carry multiple collectables back at a time.
  • Baby Factory: Bulborbs, common enemies in the series, are not people, but they still amble around after food, nap during the day, and are dangerous and energetic at night. Except for the Empress Bulblaxes, which have enormously distended abdomens so swollen that their feet don't touch the ground. Unlike every other Bulborb, rather than chasing and biting attackers she can only roll and thrash and continuously give birth. This is not the natural state of female Bulborbs — it happens to the largest one in a given range in response to environmental changes — like, perhaps, Pikmin-sized Captains showing up and making the food do weird things.
  • Backstory Horror: Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that the Pikmin planet of the main games, PNF-404, is the planet Earth 250 millions of years in the future, after the extinction of most current species.
  • The Beast Master: The series is built around this trope. The Hocotatian and Koppaite protagonists of the games can only deal scratch damage on their own. Meanwhile, the Pikmin themselves will only stand still or defend themselves if not given orders.
  • Breath Weapon: Fiery Blowhogs and Watery Blowhogs breath fire and water respectively.
  • Button Mashing: Throwing multiple Pikmin onto an enemy very fast needs a good jamming of the A button.
  • Chase Stops at Water: Insectoid enemies such as Sheargrubs drown in water and will stop chasing you when you get in the water. Unfortunately averted with your Pikmin, most of whom will also drown but will happily follow you to their watery graves (unless they're blue Pikmin).
  • Color-Coded Characters: The commanders, after the second and third games add to the cast:
    • Olimar: Red.
    • Louie (and later the President on his behalf): Blue.
    • Alph: Light blue.
    • Brittany: Pink.
    • Charlie: Green.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The series usually associates a color to an element by form of the Pikmin resistant to it, with red being for fire, yellow for electricity, and blue for water. Aside from the Pikmin themselves, this shows up on enemies related to the element. Fiery Blowhogs have red snout-tips, they shoot fire. Anode Beetles have yellow on their backs, they pair up and make electric links. Poison from the second game is an exception to the Pikmin linking up to it — it's maroon, the Dweevil that spits it out is pink, yet the Pikmin resistant to it is white. Crystal, a material introduced in the third game, is often either rendered as clear or white, yet the Pikmin species that's immune to being crushed by it and can break it is dark gray.
  • Colossus Climb: Battling enemies in the series often ends up this way — naturally, since even the smallest monsters tend to be about twice your size.
  • Company Cross References: Several of the treasures in the second game are references to other Nintendo games, such as a tube of paint from Mario Paint and R.O.B.'s head.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Justified, as all playable characters are wearing space suits and Red Pikmin are Immune to Fire. It should be noted that before upgrading the space suits, the captains still take damage from being hit directly with flames. Presumably it's not enough to burn through the suit, but the heat is still dangerous.
  • Cowardly Mooks: A number of enemies — such as the leaf-insect Skitterleafs, the tadpole-like Wogpoles or the grublike Female Sheargrubs and Swarming Sheargrubs — are completely harmless and largely unable to harm either the players or the Pikmin. As such, they have the uniform tendency to run for their lives the moment you manage to harm or kill some of them, or — as in the case of the Skitterleafs — the moment you get within a certain distance of them.
  • Darker and Edgier: Zig-Zagged with Lighter and Softer. The first game is noticeably dark, with Olimar racing against the clock to survive, and has a general alien feel to it. Pikmin 2, while having the All-Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks, is much more laid-back and lax about taking your time, and being in constant contact with Olimar/Louie/Prez's family and friends negates a lot of the alien feel of the first game. The third game goes back into darker territory with a pseudo-time limit being reintroduced and the backstory being about the captains trying to prevent their planet from experiencing an Apocalypse How.
  • Daylight Horror: Most of the series takes place during the day, as the night is when enemies become more active and all of the player characters automatically retreat to their ships to avoid them. This does not prevent encountering enemies like the Smoky Progg, a creature covered in its own toxin that makes it resemble a ghost-like figure. Or giant (by the player character's standards) spiders crashing into the field. Or the final boss of the third game, a strange, shape-shifting, possibly immortal entity of "plasm" that is dead-obsessed with capturing Olimar for reasons unknown.
  • Deadly Gas: Oxygen for Hoctatians. Played with with Koppaites, who can breathe oxygen, but the oxygen levels on PNF-404 are three times higher than what they're used to, so it would still really mess with them if they didn't have their space suits on.
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: It doesn't matter how much HP that gargantuan monstrosity has, there's no foe that can't be vanquished by throwing more Pikmin at it and letting 20+ pairs of tiny fists do the work for you. Alternatively, you can attack enemies directly if your captain doesn't have any Pikmin available for tossing by punching them, which does only marginally more damage then a hit from the weakest of Pikmin. Regardless, it's actually a viable tactic against some foes (As long as you have time to spare), as a number of them are completely incapable of harming you, but can do a number on your Pikmin. Pikmin 2 even offers an upgrade to your captains' punching power.
  • Death World: PNF-404. It is actually Earth in the far future. From our perspective it's a pretty standard planet. When you are an inch tall and can't breathe Oxygen, things get a bit more dangerous
  • Developer's Foresight: The series has a hard limit of 100 maximum Pikmin in the field. Someone will make note of common ways the limit is kept if they occur, such as grown Pikmin being stored away when there are already 100 on the field. However, there are also times when a Pikmin is automatically placed into the field, usually when an Onion releases the first seed of a type of Pikmin after discovering or extincting it, and the game will forcefully put the farthest Pikmin from that location back in its Onion if needed. Additionally, when entering a cave in the second game, Pikmin that aren't buried or with the leaders are put back in their Onions. In a few caves, it is possible to obtain more Pikmin, and those extra Pikmin will be automatically put away if they exceed the limit due to buried Pikmin on the surface.
  • Door to Before: This becomes a necessity in the series, due to the time limit. You can spend one or more days exploring a particular area and, at some point, find and enable a shortcut (be it blowing up a hard wall with bombs, building a wooden bridge, or the like) so you can resume your exploration the following day.
  • Earth All Along: The first game suggests the Pikmin's homeworld to be a far-future earth, due to the presence of artificial detritus scattered about and of the remains of buildings as major environmental elements, and Pikmin 2 confirms it. Pikmin 3 has an interesting twist: it's indeed Earth, but it looks like Pangea Ultima (which is what the Earth is assumed to look like 250 million years in the future).
  • Earth That Was: Earth is clearly in the far future, and yet there are no humans to be found, with no clues as to why. Though the environment is lethal to the protagonists of the games, it still seems like it would be perfectly habitable for humans and that they would see some form of human presence while rocketing around the world. In Pikmin 3, the planet resembles a hypothetical future Earth known as "Pangaea Ultima" where continents have rearranged themselves (the first level, the "Tropical Wilds", is located in Antarctica), so it's unlikely that humanity as we know it would have continued that long, or they simply abandoned Earth and found a new planet to call home.
  • Eating the Enemy:
    • This how the grand majority of Pikmin enemies will deal with your horde. Bulborbs, with their gigantic maws, are the most iconic devourer of Pikmin and can gobble down several at a time.
    • In return, the grand majority of enemies in the series, once beaten. will leave behind some form of carcass that your Pikmin can carry back to their Onions to produce Pikmin seeds.
  • Elemental Powers:
    • The Pikmin play around with this. Red Pikmin and Blue Pikmin resist fire and water respectively, but cannot actually utilize it. Yellow Pikmin resist electricity and can safely conduct it through their bodies, but do not utilize it for any offensive capabilities. White Pikmin resist poison and are poisonous themselves, playing it straight.
    • Playing the trope straight are the various Dweevil enemies, which spew out elemental attacks when threatened.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: While there are elements, there are only a few direct examples of this. For instance, leading a Fiery Bulblax into water will cool it off for Blue Pikmin to attack.
  • Emergency Weapon: In the first game, Olimar has a very weak punch that can slightly damage and distract enemies. The second game introduces the Rocket Punch for better damage.
  • End-Game Results Screen: This is a staple in the series, where a screen that pops up after the credits shows you various stats, like your playing time, how many days it took you to complete the game, how many Pikmin were born, died (and how), or survived, and (in the first game) how many parts you collected.
  • Escort Mission: Escorting various things back to your base, while protecting the Pikmin carrying the items, is one of the main gameplay elements.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You:
    • Pikmin seem to be on the very bottom of the food chain. After all, they are part plant. However, even monsters that don't eat Pikmin still inexplicably want to kill them.
    • The Captains, too. Everything wants to eat, stomp, squash, or otherwise slaughter them just as much as the Pikmin.
  • Evil Counterpart: One in each game:
    • The Puffstool uses spores to take Pikmin and convert them to its side, sending them out against Olimar.
    • Antenna Beetles can steal Pikmin with their version of a whistle, but only distract the Pikmin rather than turn them against you.
    • The Scornet Maestro boss commands its own swarm of up to a hundred Scornets, which are small flying insects similar in size and strength to your Pikmin.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Pikmin's Onions consume pellets and the remains of defeated enemies (including things like pearls) that the Pikmin bring back to make more Pikmin. They work like real-life ant queens.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three resistances of the main three colors of Pikmin are fire, electricity, and water in place of ice.
  • Four-Legged Insect: Most arthropods have four or fewer legs. Arachnodes, spider-like enemies with a full eight legs, are explicitly noted in-universe as unusual, and this and its hermaphroditism have led to in-universe speculation that it's actually two four-legged arthropods, one male and one female, joined together.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Mixed with Pun, PNF-404 is actually a punny title: "Planet not found: Error 404".
  • Gang Up on the Human: Despite taking place on its own planet with its own ecosystem, with creatures of many different shapes, sizes, and such, the creatures of the Pikmin planet will only ever go after the captains and their Pikmin, even when it would make more logical sense to go after each other. Sometimes this results in three completely different species of enemies attacking your group at once! Olimar notes that without alien presence, Pikmin seem to be at the bottom of the planet's food chain.
  • Genre-Busting: Most people don't bother trying to classify the genre of the games, as they blend a lot.
  • Genre Shift: The first game is primarily a variant on a Real-Time Strategy game focused on racing against the clock. The second game adds Dungeon Crawling and more in-depth boss fights, and the third adds more Real-Time Strategy elements and larger maps to explore.
  • Ghibli Hills: Several of the outdoor stages are serene, almost pristine wooded areas, with soft sunlight and fitting ambient music.
  • Giant Spider: The series has both spiders that are around the size of the player characters and spiders that tower over them. In all cases it's not that the spiders are large by human standards, it's that the Pikmin and their commanders are small. A series-wide example is the Arachnorb family: They're massive four-legged spiders with round bodies. All of them attack by stomping Pikmin with their feet, except for the Man-at-Legs, which uses a laser-cannon instead.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: All creatures release a transparent spirit on death. Enemies release spirits shaped like bubbles with eye sockets, whereas with the titular critters release a small ghost shaped and colored like the deceased individual.
  • Glowing Flora: Luminescent mushrooms called Common Glowcaps appear in every mainstream game to date, and in Pikmin 3, their glimmer lightens up dark areas. They're mostly blue, but a pink variation appears in 3 as well.
  • Goomba Stomp: Certain enemies, such as Dwarf Bulborbs, Sheargrubs, and Skitterleaves, can be stomped on by any Pikmin with a precise throw, often providing a one-hit kill. Very useful even though they don't pose much of a threat. Purple pikmin in the sequel are especially suited for this, since their heaviness also stuns larger enemies that aren't killed outright by the first hit.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The games each include a large number of collectible items, such as ship parts, treasures, and fruit, which the player must ferret out and retrieve to beat the game. Each game typically only requires the player to collect a set fraction of its collectibles, but finding them all will unlock a special ending.
  • Ground Pound:
    • Some enemies in the games can do this to attack Pikmin, and because of how fragile the Pikmin are they can die instantly this way. Emperor Bulblax, the Final Boss of the first game, is so big that its Ground Pound not only kills any unfortunate Pikmin it may end up squashing with, but also depletes as much as half of Olimar's full HP. Luckily, the boss doesn't do this move in the second game.
    • Purple Pikmin are heavy enough to pound the floor when they're thrown, and can stun enemies this way.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming:
    • If all of the Pikmin die, you're subjected to a heart-wrenching cutscene where Olimar berates himself for his failure and laments their loss. Then the game gives you one new one per Onion, content that you've been properly chastised.
    • There's the heart-rending squeal the Pikmin make as they die. On top of that, if you reach the end of the day when there are Pikmin away from the onions and not following Olimar (especially if you end it yourself from the pause menu), your reward is watching the scragglers hopelessly race back to the onions only to be chomped by nocturnal wildlife. And the game keeps track of how many pikmin you lose this way, too, so it becomes a Mark of Shame on your part for the rest of the game.
    • The first time you let a/some Pikmin get blown up by a bomb rock it/one might have been carrying. At the end of the day, Olimar posts a sad journal entry about what happened, driving into the ground what you've done (be it accidental or not).
    • The marketing behind the games will probably make you feel guilty of using the Pikmin in the first place: They play up the fact that the Pikmin are sacrificing themselves to help you for seemingly nothing in return (although they actually do benefit by learning how to survive and thrive in their harsh world).
  • He Was Right There All Along: Most of the games' bosses either drop down on you from above, tunnel up from underground, or are an innocuous environmental piece until you got close.
  • Healing Boss: If you decide to take on Emperor Bulblax on any other day but the final one, his health will regenerate when he takes damage.
  • Holler Button: Just Whistle to summon your Pikmin back to you.
  • Immune to Fire: Red Pikmin are fireproof. This is suggested to be because of their noses acting as a highly efficient ventilation system.
  • Infinity +1 Element: Explosions serve as a sort of "fifth element"; no Pikmin, not even Bulbmin, can survive it, and only the most dangerous enemies have access to it. Bomb rocks also destroy the other elemental hazard generators, and can take off a third of even the toughest non-boss enemy's health with a single detonation.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Each game prominently displays a time scale showing how much time is left until sunset.
  • Instakill Mook: Electricity can kill Pikmin instantly in the second game, so any enemy attack based on this element is lethal. Same with bombs and any other explosive attack. Good thing Yellow Pikmin can use bombs in the first game and are immune to electricity in the second. Also, in Pikmin 3, electricity is nerfed so that it can only stun non-yellow Pikmin, while every Pikmin type can handle bombs.
  • It Can't Be Helped: Song of Love has this as its premise. It's all about how the Pikmin go through Hell for their leader, Olimar, yet despite the fact that it's very likely they'll die ignobly, "We don't ask that you love us". The song's single actually outsold the game itself because of how it resonated with the Salaryman public.
  • Just Whistle: Whilst out in the field, Captain Olimar can summon his hordes of Pikmin by giving a little whistle. He can also perform this move in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, to much the same effect.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Pikmin are dime-sized carrot creatures on a planet full of tennis ball sized monsters, but under your control can EAT those monsters and grow their numbers from their corpses.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: You can order your Pikmin to split into groups sorted by colour. A more fitting version of this trope is that they can, and will, split up to fight or perform tasks based on the proximity of said tasks and enemies, but only when idle and not following a captain.
  • Lilliputians: If one wants to get specific, the first game's manual pegs Olimar to be around the size of a quarter, and a Pikmin to be slightly shorter.
  • Living Gasbag:
    • Puffy and Withering Blowhogs are floating, air-filled creatures resembling nothing so much as colorful party balloons with fins, eyes, short trunks and series of holes down their sides. Their main attacks consist of blowing gusts of air out of their bodies to blow your Pikmin about, and they deflate when they die, swiftly shrinking to a fraction of their former size.
    • Jellyfloats are essentially hovering, air-filled jellyfish that suck up their prey rather than sting it.
  • Macro Zone: The setting, due to the small size of the captains and the Pikmin, consists of seemingly supersized versions of common objects, with buried crockery, pipes and tiling providing terrain, small items and gewgaws serving as collectibles, and bugs and other small animals as fearsome monsters.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Snagrets have the heads of a bird and the bodies of a snake. The Pikmin themselves are plant and animal hybrids.
  • Monster Compendium: The Piklopedia in Pikmin 2 and Pikmin 3 Deluxe. It comes with view of the enemy in its habitat (Pikmin 2 lets you toss Pikpik Carrots to see how they attack, while Pikmin 3 has a short demo video instead), and various notes depending on which captain is writing the entry:
    • Olimar, as the first Hocotatian to discover the creatures, writes out the scientific name and family of the creature, alongside a description of its biology and lifestyle.
    • Louie, a Big Eater, has a cooking recipe for each creature.
    • Alph, the Koppaite crew's engineer, notes the enemy's weak points (listed as a "structural flaw"), weight (how many Pikmin are needed to carry it), and a paragraph on its vulnerabilities, sometimes talking about his own engineering work.
    • Brittany, a botanist, usually brings up aesthetics of the creatures or other observations.
    • Charlie, the Koppaite captain, gives over-dramatic descriptions of fighting the creatures with his Pikmin, often including ideal battle strategies.
  • More Predators Than Prey: Most enemies on the Pikmin planet seem to be carnivorous, and the only thing any of them ever seem to eat are, of course, Pikmin. Or would that make them herbivorous?
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: The surface of PNF-404 can be dangerous during the day, but at night it's so dangerous that the Captains and Pikmin enter low orbit to avoid the predators that become active at that time. Any Pikmin left behind who aren't in the ground are devoured by the native wildlife.
  • Nocturnal Mooks: Played with. Most members of the grubdog family are only active at night (unless provoked), but you only have a chance to fight them in the daytime when they're asleep, as you leave the planet every night.
  • Once per Episode: Each game so far has had a Blob Monster (Goolix, Waterwraith, and Plasm Wraith), a new Bulborb type (Bulborbs as a class, Hairy and Orange Bulborbs, and Whiptongue Bulborb), and some sort of enemy counterpart to the player characters (Puffstool, Antenna Beetle, and Scornet Maestro).
  • One-Hit Kill: Bomb rocks, crushing, consumption by a Bulborb Larva, the Smoky Progg's poisonous smoke, and electricity will all instantly kill Pikmin, without the normal brief period that would otherwise allow the player to rescue their Pikmin. The last one isn't lethal to yellow Pikmin and Bulbmin, and in Pikmin 3 it was demoted to only stunning non-Yellows, while rock Pikmin (gray in color) cannot be killed by crushing.
  • Only Mostly Dead: If one of the leaders in the second and third games runs out of health, you'll see them lying on the ground in front of the ship, unmoving for the rest of the day until you leave, in which they get back up and board the ship.
  • Opening the Sandbox: The first two games after you get Blue Pikmin, as that will allow you to explore the aquatic portions of each area (they're not a problem for Olimar or any of the other playable captains, but they are for the Pikmin of the other colors except Pink). To a lesser extent, this also applies to Pikmin 3 once you get the Yellow Pikmin and rescue Charlie, since the game up to that point has been extremely linear and requires you to visit the first three areas in a specific order.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Most of the lifeforms qualify, but the ones that stand out are a lumpy stone-like thing with what appear to be tribal tattoos that loves flowers for decorative purposesnote , a goldfish on two legs with a natural glass windshield that shoots mortar roundsnote , a spider merged with a machine that shoots with a machine-gun when agitated enoughnote , a three-legged clump of marshy soil with a fruit for a head and two vines that serve as eyestalksnote , and what could be described as a "hominid" made out of water that rolls around on stone rollers and is implied to be an Eldritch Abominationnote .
  • Palette Swap: The whole series does this with some members of the Bulborb subspecies. There's red, white, black (Bulbear), and orange. Others, like the Whiptongue Bulborb or any of the Bulblaxes, have more unique features.
  • Palmtree Panic: The Distant Spring in the first game, Perplexing Pool (which is a revisited form of Distant Spring) in the second, and Tropical Wilds in the third, all areas themed around sandy beaches with multiple pools and other areas of shallow water. Due to the abundance of water, the areas are explored more easily with the Blue Pikmin. Enemies are often aquatic or amphibious and, in the Tropical Wilds, the boss is a Sand Worm fought on the beachside proper.
  • Planimal: Various creatures. Aside from the Pikmin, there are the Creeping Chrysanthemums, Bulbmin, Pellet Posies, and Candypop Buds.
  • Plant Mooks: The series is about leading an army of the titular plant/animal-like creatures to ensure your survival and prosperity.
  • Plot Coupons: Each game requires the player to collect a number of items — ship parts in Pikmin, treasures in Pikmin 2, and fruit in Pikmin 3 — in order to progress through the game.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: You won't get too far unless you utilize all of the Pikmin's strengths efficiently.
  • Puzzle Boss: Many of them. The third game takes it up to eleven, with the Vehemoth Phosbat being the most notable. What were boss material in the previous games are now miniboss material.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The games all take place on a very distant future on what seems to be Earth After the End. And yet, the various objects the protagonists find throughout the series are as good as new. Electroc devices still are at full battery, metal objects are free of any rust despite having been at the mercy at the elements probably for centuries and te food items are still edible. There are also the Ravaged Rustworks in Hey! Pikmin, the map of which looks like a well-tended industrial park.
  • Real-Time Strategy: While not a particularly orthodox example, the series mostly focuses on coordinating a large force under the player's command, making efficient use of time, resources and your troops' specific skillsets, and devising ways to efficiently defeat enemies while achieving specific goals.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: There's some of this in the first game, but it especially stands out in the second and third — many areas explored on the Pikmin planet have recognizable remains of human constructions, such as metal pipes and ceramic tiles.
  • Sailor Earth: Original Pikmin varieties are extremely popular in the series' fandom. It helps that the Pikmin have a pretty blank template to go off of. Just pick a color that hasn't been made official yet, give it some unique body feature no other Pikmin has, and then give it any power or immunity you want.
  • Sanity Slippage: For the most part, Louie starts Pikmin 2 off as a somewhat quiet, but still decent worker. But after he accidently is left behind on the planet, he goes a bit off the deep end by choosing to hide in the the final level of the game and it's heavily implied he was controlling the Final Boss. By the time Pikmin 3 rolls around, the only word he can say is food and he manages to get himself stuck on the planet again.
  • Savage Setpiece: Bulborbs by default sleep unless you a) get too close to them or b) attack them. You can find out which is which by looking at their eyes. The ones with half-open eyes have the lighter slumber.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The main protagonist of the series is Captain Olimar. In Japan, though, his name is written with the three katakana characters O-RI-MA. Write them backward and you get "Mario"; the English version retains the pun via Significant Anagram (and an extra "l").
  • Seasonal Baggage: Downplayed in Pikmin 2 and 3. In both games, each of the four seasons is present within one particular area, rather than all seasons appearing in a cyclic fashion through all areas. In the second game, Valley of Repose is set in winter, Awakening Wood is set in spring, Perplexing Pool is set in summer, and Wistful Wild is set in autumn. The third game has it like this: Tropical Wilds (summer), Garden of Hope (spring), Distant Tundra (winter), and Twilight River (autumn).
  • Serial Escalation: The Final Boss of each game tends to be more extravagant and nightmarish than the last. As this image demonstrates, the protagonists go from fighting King Mooks as the final boss to downright Eldritch Abominations.
  • Series Mascot: Naturally, the Pikmin; the little cute race of Plant Aliens that the game centers around. Nintendo likes to feature them prominently in portions of their handhelds and consoles UI, most notably with system transfers for both the 3DS and the Wii U (when transferring original Wii data).
  • Shock and Awe: Yellow Pikmin are immune to electricity in the second game and can conduct it in the third game. Several enemies can also produce electricity, like the Anode Beetle, the Electric Cottonade, and the Bearded Amprat.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Japanese script, Olimar is a Sdrawkcab Name of Mario. Louie = Luigi is not as clever, but seems thematically appropriate for Olimar's second fiddle.
    • The Poko symbol looks a lot like the coins from Super Mario Bros.. The Mario games later returned the favor in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, where Chapter 2 has Mario leading a swarm of tiny creatures around to aid him.
  • Significant Anagram: Captain Olimar's name in Japanese is Orima, an anagram of Mario.
  • Sleepy Enemy:
    • Bulborbs are nocturnal and thus typically found laying down in the open and snoring away. If awoken, they will pursue you and your squad but return to their sleeping spots if you lose them. Sneaking up on them is complicated by the fact that they're usually found alongside dwarf bulborbs, which unlike them are diurnal and will wake the larger creature with their cries if startled.
    • In the first game, Spotty Bulbears are also found sleeping much like their bulborb cousins, being woken up when approached or when a Dwarf Bulbear lets out a squeal. Later games would drop this and instead have them roaming the area.
  • Species Title: The series involves the titular plant-based creatures that obey the command of the Player Character of each game to fight the dangerous beasts of the initially unnamed Planet, later named PNF-404, and explore the planet and sometimes perform the The Great Repair of their ship so the Player Character can leave.
  • Speculative Biology: A core part of the series that makes it so endearing. The franchise as a whole deconstructs the trope of Mooks being Always Chaotic Evil by portraying them as simple animals roaming around their territory with the closest thing to a real antagonist in any of the games is either a predator that just wants to eat and go on with its day or a creature just trying to defend its territory, or by socioeconomic warfare outside the Pikmin planet as shown in 2's side story. All of this is not even mentioning the Piklopedia which where most of the game's reputation of being this trope comes in.
  • Speed Run: The Pikmin series has a very notable and active speed running community based around the games, even outside of the challenge runs. One of the most famous challenges in the Pikmin series is trying to beat the games in the very bare minimum days required. In Pikmin 1, the bare minimum number of days you can do the game without cheating or abusing glitches is nine days. In Pikmin 2, it's eight, and in Pikmin 3, depending on whether you're going for all fruit or not, it's either sevennote  or 10note .
  • Stalked by the Bell: In every game in the series, you have a limited amount of time in any given day. At the end of the day any Pikmin that isn’t with you, in a certain radius of an onion, stored in the onion, or underground gets left behind and killed by nocturnal creatures.
  • Stone Wall: The bramble/dirt walls found above ground are mostly harmless, but they can take far more damage than the generic enemy can; the toughest have more effective health than most minibosses.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Only Blue Pikmin can swim. The other types only flounder around for a while before drowning. If you call them, they can possibly flounder on over to the bank and survive. Or you can disband your Blues, who will then act as lifeguards and throw any drowning Pikmin onto dry land. The captains can also go underwater just fine, but this might be due to the fact that all of them wear space helmets.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Poison is usually brightly colored, and generally purple.
    • The first game has the Smoky Progg, which leaves a trail of instant death green sludge.
    • Poison gas in the second game is purple, as are Munge Dweevils, so you can tell them apart from the other three species.
    • The third game uses either an inky black (for aquatic enemies) or a neon pink (for the Vehemoth Phosbat) for poison.
    • Hey! Pikmin uses lakes of bright purple poison as terrain obstacles.
  • Timed Mission: The entirety of the first and third games. The original Pikmin is about Olimar trying to escape the planet before his air supply runs out, while Pikmin 3 is about Alph, Brittany, and Charlie working to save their dying home planet of Koppai by using food from the Pikmin's planet as a resource. Specifically, they're taking the seeds of the fruit back to their planet to cultivate. The fruit they find on the planet is turned into juice that is used to sustain themselves in their search. If they run out of juice, that's Game Over. Adding up all the obtainable fruit, they have ninety-nine days, or fifty in the case of the ultra-spicy difficulty in Pikmin 3 Deluxe, though both of those are much more generous than the first game's thirty days.
  • Trilogy Creep: Originally, Miyamoto stated he wanted Pikmin to be a trilogy. However, merely two years after 3's release, he confirmed that Pikmin 4 was close to completion.
  • Ugly Cute: A lot of the enemies, like the toady bloyster, ranging bloyster, dweevils, and even the emperor bulbax with its little eyes and flopping tongue.
  • Underground Monkey: Several, though the differences often range beyond color and ability. Typically you see alternate-elemental forms of certain enemies, or ones that are just plain tougher such as the cave-dwelling Wollywogs.
  • Updated Re-release: The "New Play Control!" Wii versions of the first two games, which primarily iron out bugs, tweak controls, and improve graphics, audio and other technical details. The third game got a Deluxe remaster for the Nintendo Switch, implementing the original's DLC into the base content, bringing back the Piklopedia, and adding a new story segment (Olimar's Comeback).
  • Variable Mix: The games subtly change the music depending on what time of day it is, whether or not you're in combat, carrying items back to the ship, or just walking around, and — in 2 — who you're currently playing as and how deep into a dungeon you are.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Zero death runs, which are quite difficult to do in any of the games — sometimes it's not for the challenge, but because some players just can't bear having any of their adorable little friends die on them.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Want to drown, electrocute, burn, poison, or let Pikmin get eaten up by predators? Go ahead. You monster.
  • Water Is Blue: Averted for the actual water, which is transparent as in real life but almost anything associated with water but not aquatic itself (Watery Blowhogs, Caustic Dweevils, the Blue Pikmin themselves, etc.) is blue.
  • We Have Reserves: You can have far more Pikmin in the onions and ship than the hundred allowed in the field at once, and building up their numbers is rarely difficult, allowing you to draw on functionally inexhaustible reserves of troops to recover from losses.
  • We Need a Distraction: The ability to switch between two captains allows for the use of one to lure away monsters into a convenient position for a Zerg Rush led by the other captain. This is required for the Ranging Bloyster in the second game which deliberately goes after the active captain, though just spamming the captain switch button even as a single group will also leave it too confused to fight back. The Scornet Maestro in the third game is another boss that only goes after the active captain, though unlike the Bloyster this isn't required.
  • What the Hell, Player?: It's possible to make the Pikmin extinct, but it probably won't happen unless you do it intentionally. If you do manage to kill them all, you get a depressing "Pikmin Extinction" cutscene followed by Olimar beating himself up in his journal for letting it happen. It won't end the game, but you are forced to start over with just a single seed. It's still possible to cause an extinction in Pikmin 3; however, the Onion simply produces a single seed and acts like nothing happened.
  • You Bastard!:
    • Ai no Uta is a song dedicated to this.
      Uprooted, we'll gather and be thrown to our deaths
      But we won't ask you to love us.
    • Averted with its sister song, Namida ga Afureta. Olimar does care for the Pikmin greatly, but just Cannot Spit It Out.
  • Zerg Rush: Basically the entire premise of the series. The C-stick in the game is used to direct the mass of pikmin following you in a more precise direction, and when facing an enemy, is circled around to rush the entire pack in even faster. There's nothing more satisfying than swarming a tiny little Bulborb with all 100 of your minions from all sides.

    Pikmin Bloom 
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Non-blue Pikmin have no problem traveling across water across long distances without drowning in this game, unlike what other games established. In fact, they walk on it.
  • Achievement System: The game has a few badges that are earned from certain milestone tasks such as walking distance, Pikmin grown, and total flowers bloomed.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The reward for leveling up a Pikmin to four hearts is them obtaining a themed accessory, which varies depending on the real-world area from where they were found.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: While Pikmin on Expeditions to faraway locations take a long time, sending postcards to friends takes considerably less time since you're often sending them to someone who lives in a different country.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: It takes 5 minutes to plant more flowers in the same place on the map, so it is encouraged to keep moving for the counter to keep going up, otherwise it's just a waste of petals.
  • Augmented Reality: There is a feature in the game where players can view Pikmin in the real world through their phone's camera.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: Blue Burger Shop Pikmin wear soda cups for outfits, with the liquid still inside.
  • Cap: The player level limit is 60, and they can store 30 seedlings (can be upgraded to 100), 300 Pikmin (can be upgraded to 2,000), and 200 petals/nectar each (upgraded to 1,000).
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The color of the Pikmin is determined by what color seedling is found and obtained.
  • Com Mons: Roadside Pikmin are by far the most common decor types most players will find, being found by anywhere else that the game doesnt recognize as one of the other establishments, so usually streets and rural areas.
  • Company Cross References: Linking a Nintendo account will give the player a blue decor Pikmin wearing a Mario hat.
  • Digital Avatar: The player is represented using a Mii.
  • Edible Theme Clothing: Some Decor Pikmin wear scraps of food as accessories:
    • Pikmin found by supermarkets wear either mushroom caps or banana pieces.
    • Ones found by bakeries wear pieces of bread.
    • Sweetshop Pikmin wear colored macarons as hats.
    • Movie Theater Pikmin have Popcorn stuck to their heads.
    • Hamburger Shop Pikmin wear burgers or fries (Blue Pikmin wear soft drink cups.)
    • Café Decor Pikmin wear cups of coffee filled with cofee beans for outfits. The yellow and rock Pikmin even have whip cream on top of their heads.
  • Endless Daytime: It's always day on Pikmin Bloom's map.
  • Exergaming: Pikmin Bloom encourages players to decorate the in-game map with flowers by walking in the real world. Pikmin themselves are also grown by the number of steps taken.
  • Eye-Obscuring Hat:
    • The red and blue Park Decor Pikmin have parts of the vines they wear cover their right eyes.
    • The banana peel for the Super Market rock Pikmin covers its left eye.
    • The "Station" white Pikmin wears a paper train costume that covers their whole body, except for their stem.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: A few of the decor cosmetics aren't symmetrical, such as the Park Decor Pikmin.
  • Fertile Feet: When blooming, flowers spawn around the player's feet as they walk, leaving a trail wherever they go.
  • Fill It with Flowers: One of the main focuses of the game is to populate the (at first) barren in-app map with trails of flowers by walking in the real world. The flowers disappear from the world after a week, encouraging players to keep going out.
  • Fungus Humongous: Some landmarks are represented by clusters of massive mushrooms that the player must send their Pikmin to destroy for rewards.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The game can be really bad at recognizing certain establishments; maybe you can be right in the middle of a supermarket and only luck will decide if Pikmin Bloom registers it as that or as a roadside.
  • Garden Garment: Park Decor Pikmin wear vines as a cosmetic.
  • Improvised Clothes: Some of the "accessories" for the decor Pikmin include wearing things like acorns, popcorn, and toothpaste on their heads.
  • Mushroom Man: Park Decor Pikmin get different mushroom caps as hats, making them look like this.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Getting a Big Flower to spawn as pansy or a rosenote  is possible, but it mostly depends on luck.
  • No Antagonist: So far, there are no enemies for the Pikmin to fight or defend themselves against, with the only "battles" available being against inanimate mushrooms.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The game itself doesn't have a real story, but as a fitness app where the purpose is to go out to bring some color into a blank and grassy world, it doesn't really need one.
  • Photo Mode: The AR mode lets you see Pikmin in the real world with your phone.
  • Play Every Day: Players get one free Detector and a chance to earn up to 30 coins every day.
  • Relationship Values: Leveling up Pikmin hearts makes their attacks for expeditions stronger, leveling them to four hearts makes them go on an expedition to obtain a cosmetic.
  • Something about a Rose: Pikmin can be fed rose nectars to replace their normal flower with a colored rose, which is not only difficult to obtain but is the strongest of the main flower types.
  • Sticks to the Back: Some Decor apparel, such as the fishing lures for the "Waterside" Pikmin, or combs/scissors for "Hair Salon", just cling to the backs of the Pikmin.
  • Towering Flower: Some landmarks are represented by giant daisy-like flowers many times the player figure's height.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • Pikmin travel at real-world time, so if the player found a Pikmin when they were traveling several miles away, and they're ready to get their 4-heart cosmetic, it could take days or even weeks for that one Pikmin to travel back and return.
    • Winged Pikmin are noted to be faster than the other types, but if they're paired with at least non-Winged Pikmin on an Expedition, the ETA increases since they have to move the same speed as the slower walking Pikmin.
  • Visual Pun: Decor Pikmin found near zoos wear dandelions around their heads that look vaguely look like manes. Because lions.
  • Walk on Water: No bodies of water, including the oceans, will stop the Pikmin from carrying their fruit and pods back to the player. It's best not to think too seriously about this one.
  • Your Size May Vary: Pikmin in the main games are about an inch tall. They're slightly bigger when feeding them nectar and in AR mode, yet their stems reach to the player's torso when following them in the overworld.

    Animated Shorts 
  • Adaptation Deviation: "Occupational Hazards" has a few notable differences from the games:
    • White Pikmin can spit a highly corrosive acid, whereas in the games they can do nothing of the sort.
    • Olimar has a horde of thousands of Pikmin working on disassembling the tractor, far in excess of the games' hundred-Pikmin headcount limit.
  • Black Humor: A lot of the visual humor in "Occupational Hazards" revolves around droves of Pikmin dying in various accidents, such as one getting electrocuted when touching a string of electrified yellows or a group being getting eaten by a Bulborb that then snorts their ghosts out of its nostrils.
  • Bloody Smile: Made to look like this in "The Night Juicer" after three Pikmin see (what they think) is Olimar blending a chopped-up red Pikmin and drinking it. He then turns around and gives a smirk as they see the red liquid remains on his teeth. Turns out it's just Pikpik carrot juice, but the Pikmin are still freaked out.
  • Circling Birdies: In "Treasure in a Bottle", the Yellow Pikmin's plan is to use a Bomb Rock to free the Red Pikmin trapped in the bottle. It works at first, but the Red Pikmin falls back into the bottle. When the three Pikmin go to the bottle, the Red Pikmin that was stuck is now dazed and the Red Pikmin has circling stars around its head.
  • Company Cross References: In "Occupational Hazards", a red Pikmin comes out of a green pipe with some gold coins while wearing lint resembling Mario's hat, nose and moustache, then hops out replicating the plumber's iconic jump, complete with the first seven notes of some very familiar overworld music.
  • Dramatic Drop: In "Occupational Hazards", when a yellow Pikmin goes into a cave and accidentally wakes up a large and angry Bulborb, the Pikmin drops the two bolts it was carrying in shock.
  • Hollywood Acid: The White Pikmin's acid spit in "Occupational Hazards" is vivid purple and can melt solid steel into nothing in seconds.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: In "Treasure in a Bottle", a red Pikmin manages to accidentally get itself trapped in a bottle, and it calls for help from two other Pikmin, who luckily just happen to be walking by, to get it back out.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: In "Occupational Hazards", a Red Bulborb tries to get a group of Pikmin out from under a wheel by kicking it. The problem is that a Bulborb's feet are not that strong (not to mention the wheel being buried partially underground), so it ends up hurting its own foot instead, causing it to jump in pain.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • "The Night Juicer": When the three Pikmin thought Olimar has eaten one of their own, and then starts walking towards them.
    • "Treasure in a Bottle": After the red Pikmin realizes it trapped itself within the bottle and when the small group see's the yellow Pikmin returning with a bomb rock to blow up the bottle.
    • "Occupational Hazards": The yellow Pikmin's reaction on seeing that it woke up a huge bulborb, the other Pikmin's reaction when it starts chasing all of them, and the bulborb itself on realzing it can't parachute its way down from a long fall like the Pikmin can.
  • Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat: The red Pikmin starts sweating a lot after realizing it has no way of escaping the bottle in "Treasure in a Bottle".
  • Pixellation: In "Occupational Hazards", after the Bulborb is incapacitated, a horde of Pikmin swarms over it. When they retreat, the Bulborb's carcass is heavily pixellated and almost impossible to see properly, implicitly because it was given a nasty mauling.

Alternative Title(s): Pikmin Bloom