Pikmin is an RTS-based series of games where you command adorable little plant creatures called Pikmin to fight and collect a range of objects. The plots mainly consist of, trying to escape an uninhabited planet, or collect the planet’s valuables, or even gather food. Each game follows one after the other — so I thought to get new players ready for the 4th entry, why not go over the plots for each game! While each game’s plot’s are relatively similar and simple they each have their own unique quirks. With a small character cast, plots are very easy to connect together to create a chronological timeline.
Recently, after almost a decade a new main entry will be released in 2023, and with how the games follow after each other I wanted to give new and old fans a refresh on the events of the 3 main games plus the spin off. I want to mention the mobile game Pikmin Bloom quickly here, being a AR game like Pokémon GO it doesn’t really have a place in the canon. Some do place it as the first part of the timeline as the Pikmin world is a post-apocalyptic version of ours. So if you want to be apart of the Pikmin canon feel free to get Pikmin Bloom on your mobile device.
Pikmin 1 (Gamecube/Wii)
Released in 2001, Pikmin 1 follows the story of a microscopic human-like creature called a Hocotatian, named Olimar. While piloting his ship on a galactic vacation Captain Olimar hits an asteroid causing the S.S. Dolphin to end up crash landing down to a planet nearby named later as PNF-404, a post-apocalyptic earth.
In the crash the S.S. Dolphin loses a bunch of its necessary parts and so now it’s up to Olimar to find the few required parts and escape the planet within 30 days before his life system runs out, as PNF-404 contains a deadly air for the Hocatatians.
Not far from his ship he discovers this ship-like object which he names an Onion, this Onion sprouts a little creature that looks like a food called a Pikpik carrot from Olimar’s planet and hence he names it a Pikmin. These Pikmin were on the edge of extinction due to needing leadership, but luckily Olimar starts commanding them and they work together to save each other. The way Olimar helps repopulate the Pikmin is by collecting the bodies of the creatures of this world and getting the Pikmin to take them back to their Onion to produce more Pikmin. They can also do this with flowers called Posey Pellets.
Captain Olimar continues exploring the planet’s surface finding different colored Onions, making sure that at nightfall he escapes the planet’s surface to avoid the predators that come out at night with the Onions following close behind. After collecting 25 of the 30 parts lost from the crash Olimar is able to head back home to Hocotate. There is a bad ending which is not canon in which Olimar dies on the planet and the Pikmin take his body to the onion to rebirth him as a Pikmin-Hocotatian hybrid.
Released in 2004, Pikmin 2 follows Captain Olimar once more but this time his adventure to PNF-404 is intentional. Taking place directly after Olimar returns to Hocotate,the President of the company Olimar works for tells him that a “Space Rabbit” ate a delivery of golden Pikpik carrots that his co-worker Louie lost. This has caused the company to have a huge debt of 10,000 Pokos (Hocotate’s currency). With nothing to pay this debt off they sell Olimar’s ship, however it is not enough. Olimar brought back a bottle cap from PNF-404 which ends up being worth a large sum of Pokos. So, the President sends Olimar and Louie back to the planet to gather treasures to pay off the debt.
The treasures Olimar and Louie find range from Nintendo references to real world branded product placement such as Duracell batteries or Dr.Pepper bottle caps. They find these treasures with the help of the trusty Pikmin. Exploring both the surface and caves which have tons of hidden treasures and new Pikmin types. Once the debt is made up Olimar returns to Hocotate. Unfortunately, he forgets Louie and so now he must return with the President’s help to find Louie. After collecting even more treasures and exploring more caves they find Louie who secretly controls the monster which has taken him hostage and tries to destroy the President and Olimar. This fails allowing Olimar’s mission to finally be over with the company of Hocotate Freight saved.
If all the treasures are collected the Player is treated to an epilogue which tells us that Louie ate all the Golden Pikpik carrots himself, making him really seem like a self-centred psychopath after the events of the game.
Pikmin 3 (Wii U/Switch)
Released in 2013, Pikmin 3 sees 3 characters from the planet Koppai on the search for food to feed their starving planet. The Koppaite’s Brittany, Alph and Charlie pilot their ship the S.S. Drake to PNF-404 however it strangely malfunctions causing them all to be separated and the only thing that can get them back to Koppai the Cosmic Drive Key goes missing.
Upon waking Alph finds the S.S. Drake landing nearby him. He discovers the Red Pikmin’s Onion as well as many Data Logs left behind by Captain Olimar. He also manages to locate where Brittany landed. By using his new Pikmin friends he frees her. Nearby they locate a fruit which ends up being consumable for the Koppaites. Meaning they have their new goal. After finding Captain Charlie, the group set their sights on gathering enough food, while also following mysterious signals in order to find Olimar and their Cosmic-drive Key.
In the midst of their search, they happen to find Louie and mistake him for Olimar. Louie like his usual animal like self, ends up taking all of the food they have collected and escapes. This causes the Koppaites to have to find him and then tie him up in their ship in-order to force him to reveal Olimar’s location.
The crew find Olimar at the top of the Formidable Oak where he is taken hostage by the Plasm Wraith. A mysterious parasite-like gelatinous creature that can change the properties of its body at will. After an intense chase sequence, the Koppaites are able to defeat it and reclaim Olimar who gives them their Cosmic-drive Key after realising it is not treasure. Alph, Brittany and Charlie give Olimar and Louie a ride back to Hocotate and all is well… That is what you would think. Alas Pikmin 3 Deluxe released.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe
In 2020, Nintendo ported Pikmin 3 to the Nintendo Switch with a new version called, Pikmin 3 Deluxe. This version adds stories telling us more about Louie and Olimar’s happenings on PNF-404 during Pikmin 3. At the end of Pikmin 3 a ship can be seen crashing back down to PNF-404, which before Pikmin 3 Deluxe had players assuming this was alluding to Pikmin 4’s plot. However, we now know that it was just Olimar and Louie getting sent back down to repair their ship and return it back to Hocotate after they left it there.
There is a fan theory for how the plot begins. This is that the delivery of Golden Pikpik carrots Louie lost in Pikmin 2 was heading for Koppai. Hence why they have a sudden need to explore other planets for food. Kick starting the whole adventure’s existence.
Hey! Pikmin (3DS)
Released in 2017, the first non-RTS game in the series Hey! Pikmin sees Olimar platforming his way around with the Pikmin by his side. Captain Olimar manages to be the worst pilot ever again by getting hit by a meteor shower. Causing his new ship, the S.S. Dolphin II to fall to the nearby planet. This planet shares many similarities to PNF-404 including Olimar’s beloved friends, the Pikmin.
This time he needs to collect 30,000 Sparklium to refuel his ship while also finding the Sparklium Converter. Which the ship needs to convert the things Olimar finds into energy. Reaching the final area Olimar finds the Sparklium Converter after defeating a parasite-like creature called the Leech Hydroe. Which resembles the Plasm Wraith from Pikmin 3. He is then able to return home once more, hopefully with no issues on return.
What Can We Expect From Pikmin 4?
Seeing how the series definitely likes to follow on after each game. Pikmin 4 could very easily see a new crew exploring this planet found in Hey! Pikmin more thoroughly and in a more traditional Pikmin way. With the Leech Hydroe being so mysterious, the series’ time on that planet is over. Will new characters crash land into orbit? Or will the familiar series faces return? Expect new Pikmin types as well to make puzzles even more interesting.
Some are hoping Pikmin 4’s gameplay will have almost open world-esque style to it as well. This would fit the series well. Although considering how long it has been since an entry, will Pikmin 4 push the series forward or stick to what fans love? We will have to wait till 2023 to find out!