North American box art
|Release date(s)||Nintendo GameCube
Pikmin 2 (ピクミン2 Pikumin Tsū?) is a 2004 real-time strategy video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube video game console. The game is the direct sequel to the 2001 game Pikmin and is the second game in the Pikmin series.
Like its predecessor, Pikmin 2 focuses on exploring the surface of an unknown planet from a microscopic perspective, where the player directs and delegates tasks to a horde of tiny plant-like creatures called Pikmin. The Pikmin can be directed to destroy obstacles, defeat enemies, and retrieve objects. Pikmin 2 introduces many gameplay mechanics not seen in Pikmin, including the ability to control two different leaders of the Pikmin at once and the addition of new Pikmin types.
Pikmin 2 received critical acclaim, gaining aggregate scores of 89.60% and 90 on GameRankings and MetaCritic, respectively. Many critics praised the additions to the Pikmin gameplay, such as the removal of the 30-day time limit imposed in the original game. The game (and its predecessor) was ported to the Wii in 2009 as a New Play Control! title. The sequel to the game, Pikmin 3, was released in 2013 for the Wii U console.
Pikmin 2 expands on the gameplay introduced in its predecessor, Pikmin. The player controls both Captain Olimar and Louie from a third-person microscopic perspective in a mission to retrieve treasures (which consist of human waste such as scrap metal and broken toys) from the surface of an unknown planet (called the "distant planet"). The gameplay focuses on leading and directing a horde of plant-like creatures called Pikmin to accomplish this mission. The Pikmin follow behind Olimar and/or Louie as they move around the field. The player can quickly throw individual Pikmin at enemies and obstacles, where they automatically engage in combat, destroy obstacles, or build bridges. The player can also direct the entire mob (or a subdivision) to swarm and attack enemies en masse. Because the player controls two leaders simultaneously, the player can have the leaders separate with their own Pikmin hordes and accomplish numerous tasks in the field at once. While the player can amass a limitless number of Pikmin, only up to 100 Pikmin are allowed on the game field at any time.
Because Pikmin are small and weak, they can be easily killed by hazards or devoured by enemies when mis-directed or left unattended. The player can also only explore with his Pikmin during daylight, one day at a time— the player begins each day at sunrise and needs to finish all tasks and re-collect all stray Pikmin before sunset. Pikmin that are left behind at sunset are immediately lost to ferocious nocturnal predators. This mechanic is also a major feature in Pikmin. Unlike Pikmin however, in which the player must complete the game in 30 game days, Pikmin 2 gives the player an unlimited number of days.
The Pikmin themselves appear in five distinct colors, which indicates their strength or immunity to hazards. Red, Blue, and Yellow Pikmin, which originally appeared in Pikmin, are resilient to fire, drowning, and electric hazards, respectively. Two new colors, Purple and White, are unique to Pikmin 2. White Pikmin are swifter than the other types and can resist poisonous gases and will poison enemies if devoured, and can locate hidden treasures buried in the soil. Purple Pikmin, while not immune to any hazards, are slower but stronger than the others. Because of these differing characteristics, the player must choose the appropriate Pikmin that are best-suited to the task at hand. The stalk on a Pikmin's head, topped with either a leaf, bud, or flower, indicates the Pikmin's swiftness and strength, growing upon consumption of nectar harvested from various sources. More Pikmin can be bred when they carry pellets or enemy carcasses to their respective "Onion" motherships, where they can be safely stored and extracted. Purple and White Pikmin do not have their own Onions and are stored inside the Hocotate Ship. They also cannot breed; these Pikmin are created by throwing existing Pikmin into rare flowers. Pikmin 2 also introduces a sixth Pikmin type, Bulbmin, which are resistant to all hazards but are in the player's possession only temporarily.
The player is able to explore four distinct locales on the distant planet, which vary in theme, enemies, and treasures found. He is also accompanied by the Hocotate Ship's artificial intelligence, which gives the player hints and input. When a treasure is found, the Pikmin must carry it back to the Hocotate Ship, where it will be placed into the ship's cargo hold and its worth calculated. In addition to exploring the surface of each locale, there are underground caves scattered throughout the landscape in which the player, his Pikmin horde, and the ship's AI can enter. Caves contain multiple treasures and enemies spread across multiple sub-levels. While inside a cave, time does not pass on the surface due to a time warp caused by a strong geomagnetic field, allowing the player to explore for an indefinite period of time before sunset. However, the Pikmin Onions do not follow, meaning that the player can only utilize the Pikmin brought with him. Caves are also home to larger, stronger enemies that serve as the game's bosses, which upon defeat often award treasures that bestow new abilities to the player characters. The player completes the game upon collection of all 201 treasures.
In addition to the main single-player game mode, there is both a two-player competitive mode and an unlockable challenge mode. In the competitive game mode, Olimar and Louie are each controlled by a player. In a capture the flag style gameplay, the player's objective is to either retrieve four yellow marbles or claim the opponent's marble using his Pikmin. A player can launch attacks against the other's Pikmin in an effort to hinder his or her progress. When a player collects a cherry, an advantage is gained, such as gaining or changing Pikmin or launching larger, more potent attacks at the opponent.
The challenge mode is unlocked during the single-player game. One or two players can play this mode cooperatively. Each selectable level takes place in caves of varying depth. The objective is to locate a Key treasure, used to open access to the next sub-level, within the specified time limit. The player completes the level upon finding the exit out of the cave, and is scored based on the treasures collected, the number of Pikmin surviving upon exit, and the time taken to complete the level.
After escaping the distant planet in the first game, Captain Olimar returns to his home planet Hocotate to learn that the company he works for, Hocotate Freight, is in severe debt, after a payload of golden carrots was supposedly stolen. Because of this debt, the company was forced to sell everything, including Olimar's ship. Shocked, Olimar drops the bottle cap that he brought back from the planet. The nearby Hocotate Ship determines that the bottle cap Olimar retrieved from the distant planet has a considerable value of 100 pokos. The company president, hearing this, decides to send Olimar and his co-worker Louie to seek out the planet where they quickly reunite with the Pikmin creatures, who help in scavenging the treasures, in order to pay off the debt. Upon doing so, Olimar departs for Hocotate but leaves Louie behind. Upon telling the president, he decides to help Olimar find Louie and claim any additional treasures still left undiscovered. Louie is later discovered and rescued from a deep cave. Upon collecting all the treasures, the trio depart the distant planet.
In an unlockable video, it is revealed that the golden carrot shipment mentioned at the game's beginning was not actually stolen, but in fact, consumed by Louie, who had been sent to deliver the freight but couldn't contain his hunger. Realizing his mistake, Louie turned back and fabricated a story of the cargo being stolen by space bunnies, thus setting in motion the events of the game.
In December 2002 a year following the release of Pikmin, game designer Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed a sequel to be in development. Pikmin 2 was directed both by Shigefumi Hino, who focused on the graphics design, and by Masamichi Abe, who focused on game design. Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka worked as producers. Hajime Wakai composed the game soundtrack while Kazumi Totaka worked as the sound director; Totaka's Song is hidden in the game as an Easter egg. The 30-day time limit imposed in the original Pikmin was removed in order to allow players to explore the game world at a leisurely pace, which in turn increased the overall length of the game. Cooperative two-player gameplay within the main single player game was experimented, but it was found that it imposed limits on the overall game design. Multiplayer was thus relegated to a separate game mode. Pikmin 2 was first released in Japan on April 29, 2004 and then in North America, Europe, and Australasia later in the year. Nintendo e-Reader cards compatible with Pikmin 2 were released only in Japan, which contained additional minigames.
Sequel and re-release
In 2009 both Pikmin and Pikmin 2 were re-released for the Wii as part of the New Play Control! series, a selection of ported Nintendo GameCube games with updated Wii Remote controls. Although New Play Control! Pikmin 2 was released in Japan, Europe, and Australia that year, it was not confirmed for a North American release until three years later in the June 2012 issue of Nintendo Power and was later confirmed for a June 2012 release. Pikmin 2 re-released in North America for the Wii as a Nintendo Selects game along with the Nintendo Selects re-release of Mario Power Tennis.
In a developer round table discussion at E3 2008, a new Pikmin title was confirmed to be in development for Wii. At E3 2011, Miyamoto announced that development of the Pikmin game shifted from the Wii to its successor, the Wii U. At E3 2012, Pikmin 3 was formally announced and demonstrated in playable form; the game was later released in Summer of 2013.
Pikmin 2 garnered critical acclaim, gaining an aggregate score of 89.44% on GameRankings based on 58 reviews, and an aggregate score of 90 on Metacritic based on 54 reviews. The February 2006 issue of Nintendo Power rated the game as the 47th best game made on a Nintendo System in its Top 200 Games list, and was also rated 29th on Official Nintendo Magazine's 100 greatest Nintendo games of all time. GamePro labeled it one of the top five GameCube games. It is among the GameCube's top 20 rare games.
Many critics considered the title to be superior to its predecessor Pikmin, expressing that Pikmin 2 addressed many problems or issues seen in the original game. The removal of the 30-day time limit originally used was applauded by many critics for increasing the game's longevity, though Nintendo World Report had mixed opinions, feeling that the lack of urgency might encourage players to be "lazy." The addition of a separate multiplayer mode was praised, though the lack of LAN online-play was a disappointment to some.
Pikmin 2's strategic and puzzle-oriented gameplay was praised by many. The artificial intelligence of the Pikmin was noted by GameSpot as improved over the original, though IGN remarked on reoccurring shortcomings, such as Pikmin getting stuck behind walls or breaking away from the group.
The graphics and presentation in Pikmin 2 were highly praised; many critics felt that they were greatly improved over the original game. IGN stated that "it's highly refreshing to see a Nintendo-created game with such undeniably high production values," noting the "photorealistic" environments, particle effects, character animation, and the observation that the game constantly runs at 30 frames-per-second. GameSpot agreed, expressing that "from a performance viewpoint, Pikmin 2 stands as an impressive achievement on the GameCube, especially since the improved visuals still move at a solid frame rate despite the increased detail." Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer called Pikmin 2 "relentlessly and giddily gorgeous." Other critics, such as X-Play, did not agree about the graphics, feeling the improvements were "marginal" at best. In addition, many reviews voiced minor complaints regarding the game's camera system, which was often obstructed by large objects in the playing field when positioned at certain angles.
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