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Throwing is one of the main ways of giving instructions to Pikmin, the others being moving the group and dismissing. The player can aim where the thrown Pikmin land at, by use of the cursor, and if a Pikmin lands near a task, it will begin working on it; it will remain idle on the spot, otherwise. If a Pikmin hits an enemy during its flight, it will latch on to it, if it can, and begin attacking. To throw, the current leader must be close to a Pikmin on their party, and the player must press / , on the first two games.
Pikmin are thrown upwards at an arc, leaving spark particles through their trajectory. The cursor estimates the landing location of a thrown Pikmin, but if there is a wall or object in the way, the Pikmin might bump into it and fall short. One of the traits Yellow Pikmin possess is the ability to be thrown higher than other types. This allows them to reach ledges otherwise unreachable. The throw arc of Purple Pikmin is slightly different from the rest: they are thrown faster than the others, so that the apex of their jump is located somewhere above the cursor. When the cursor is reached, the Pikmin loses its horizontal momentum and drops down with a great impact. Upon landing, besides homing in on enemies and causing high damage, they can also cause the creatures to bounce up, making them unable to move for less than a second, or stun them altogether for a few seconds.
In all games besides Pikmin 3, Blue Pikmin can also throw drowning Pikmin: if an idle Blue Pikmin finds a drowning Pikmin nearby, it will grab it, carry it near the surface, and throw it to solid terrain. In Pikmin 2's 2-Player Battle mode, leaders can also grab and throw bomb-rocks.
Before throwing, it is possible to hold on to a Pikmin by keeping the button pressed. While held on, the Pikmin will make a sound indicating that it is ready to be thrown; in Pikmin 2, this sound is repeated several times with varying pitches, until thrown. The leader can move around with the Pikmin in their hand, which can be useful if one wishes to bring a single slow Pikmin with them. When a Pikmin is being held on to, all other Pikmin in the group will be organized by type, so that those of the type of the currently held Pikmin are at the front of the line – this allows the leader to throw several of the same type of Pikmin in a row.
While holding, it is also possible to press / to swap the currently held Pikmin for one of a different type in the party, if available. / can also be used to swap for a different maturity in the same type. Both of these features are not present in the original Pikmin, for the GameCube.
The leader cannot perform any of the following actions while holding a Pikmin:
- Switch leader
- Lie down
- Use sprays
- Move the group
- Pluck, punch, or any other action that requires pressing the throw button
While it is not possible to move the group, the player can make it thiner and longer by holding in any direction, in the GameCube games. In New Play Control! Pikmin, holding will make the cursor flash to indicate a group move, but the Pikmin will stay in their place regardless.
Some Pikmin throws perform special actions, instead of making the Pikmin work on a task or latch on to something.
- In Pikmin for the GameCube, thrown Yellow Pikmin carrying bomb-rocks will become "ready". When whistled, they will drop and activate the bomb-rock. In New Play Control! Pikmin, the Pikmin keep the bomb after being whistled, though. In addition, if thrown next to a gate or enemy, the Pikmin will in turn throw the bomb at the target.
- Throwing a Pikmin at a Pellet Posy's pellet will make it drop it after just one attack.
- The following enemies behave differently when a Pikmin is thrown directly at them:
- Shearwig: if airborne, the creature dies right away.
- Honeywisp: makes it drop its egg instantly.
- Iridescent Flint Beetle, Iridescent Glint Beetle and Doodlebug: makes it flip in the air and drop some spoils.
- Breadbug and Giant Breadbug: damages it and make it temporarily drop its object. For the Giant Breadbug, this is only true with Purple Pikmin.
- Dwarf Red Bulborb, Dwarf Bulbear (Pikmin 2 and the remake only), Snow Bulborb and Dwarf Orange Bulborb: if the Pikmin is thrown at the center of the creature's back, it will die instantly.
- Anode Beetle: makes it flip and expose its weak point.
- When a Blue Pikmin is thrown at the Goolix' larger core, while the creature is stretched, the two cores will slam against one another, and all Pikmin attacking the smaller core will scatter around.
- A Pikmin that is thrown at the Armored Cannon Beetle's blow-hole will become trapped in it and make the boss overheat, exposing its weak point.
- Throwing a Purple Pikmin at a Waterwraith will make it temporarily vulnerable.
- A thrown Purple Pikmin can destroy Armored Cannon Beetle Larva and Decorated Cannon Beetle Larva rocks.
Group move trick
To do: Some comparison times would be really nice.
Under normal circumstances, when the leader presses the throw button with Pikmin nearby, the closest Pikmin will move from its spot towards the leader's hand, where it can then be thrown. This delay varies between games, but it normally makes it so that a player who wants to throw several Pikmin quickly can only throw three or four per second, while mashing the throw button in Pikmin. In Pikmin 2, this delay is shorter, but relevant all the same.
The closer the Pikmin is to the leader, the shorter this delay is. By using the group move function, one can move the Pikmin so that they are constantly around the leader. While doing this, the throw button can then be pressed repeatedly and quickly in order to throw Pikmin at a much faster pace.
For the GameCube games, it is relatively simple: after setting the cursor on the intended location, the player can move the left thumb to and keep the right thumb on . The player can then mash and tilt so that the group is always near the leader. Due to the way the group movement works in the New Play Control! games, this is a harder task in those games. moves the Pikmin towards the cursor, which is normally pointing at the enemy or ledge. The Pikmin are on the opposite side, so in order to keep them close, the player must press in short spurts, so that the Pikmin are neither too far ahead or behind.
The method for the New Play Control! games is quite a lot harder than the GameCube way, as it is harder to position the fingers so that both and can be pressed – specially without releasing the Nunchuk – it is also hard to maintain a steady cursor while two fingers are pressing on the Wii Remote repeatedly. Finally, it is hard to maintain two different button rhythms at once. As such, an alternate strategy is normally employed. Because the leader can move independently of the cursor, the latter can be held on the target, and the player can focus on moving the leader through the group. Care should be taken in order to keep the cursor from deviating from its intended place, though.
Longer throw trick
In Pikmin and Pikmin 2, if the leader is moving while throwing the Pikmin, the leader's speed is added to the Pikmin throw's force. Hence, if a leader is running forward while throwing a Pikmin in the same direction, it will land much farther than normal. This trick can be used to throw Pikmin to places where they were not meant to reach. An example would be on the Cardboard Box at the Southwest of the Forest of Hope, throwing Pikmin from the Western side over the box and on to the Eastern side, where they can push it without the need for Blue Pikmin on the nearby lakes.
In the New Play Control! versions, this trick is not necessary, nor does it work: the leader's momentum is not carried over, otherwise the player would not be able to accurately throw Pikmin all around, which is the new control scheme's biggest advantage. In these games, the throw distance limit has been raised, compared to the GameCube games, which allows for naturally longer throws that can permit the same exploits as those in the original games.
High ledge glitch
By using the aforementioned trick to throw at longer distances, one can make non-Yellow Pikmin reach ledges they shouldn't be able to normally. With the added distance of the trick comes added throw strength, which, when used near a wall, can be enough to propel the Pikmin high enough to reach a high ledge.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Olimar's forward-special move is called "Pikmin Throw". When used, the next Pikmin in line is grabbed and instantly thrown forward, where it may land on the ground and rejoin the group some seconds later, or latch onto an opponent, where it will cause damage until it falls off. The type of Pikmin determines the damage caused and the throw arc. Yellow Pikmin are thrown at a higher arc, Purple Pikmin are thrown a very short distance, and White Pikmin are thrown very fast and far. Red Pikmin cause strong fire damage, Yellow Pikmin cause electrical moderate damage, Blue Pikmin cause regular damage and White Pikmin cause high poison damage. Purple Pikmin do not latch on, but instead, knock the opponent away.