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In the Pikmin games, Pikmin are able to carry (運ぶ?, lit.: "Carry") various kinds of objects towards a destination. Carrying is one of the main mechanics of the Pikmin games, as it is how key items like ship parts, treasures, and fruits are collected.
In order to carry an object, the object must be lifted by a group of Pikmin large enough to support its weight. Objects will normally be carried to either the Onion or the ship, though some objects will be carried elsewhere. When a Pikmin is ordered to carry an object that can be carried, it will grab onto its perimeter to help carry the object. If the object is too heavy, the Pikmin will just stand in place, periodically trying to pull it up, but once enough Pikmin grab onto the object, they will be able to carry it away.
While an object is being carried, idle Pikmin nearby will attempt to help the carriers, if there is enough space around the object. If there is enough space for the new Pikmin, it will attempt to go the spot, and when it gets close, it will join them and the overall carrying speed will change accordingly. In the first two games, the carriers briefly halt in order for the new Pikmin to join them, but in Pikmin 3 and Pikmin 4, adding and subtracting Pikmin fluently changes the carrying velocity. If a Pikmin cannot join carrying for a few seconds, it will sigh and become idle. If there are no free spots to begin with, the Pikmin will just remain idle, or attempt to work on a different task. When called, the Pikmin will let go of the object and come to the leader's side.
In Pikmin and Pikmin 2, the Pikmin gather around the object as if its perimeter is always a circle. Most objects have a circular radius, but for the objects that do not (such as the Prototype Detector), some Pikmin will be seen clearly holding on to nothing. In Pikmin 3 and Hey! Pikmin, all carrier Pikmin grab on to the object, following its shape.
In Pikmin Bloom, Pikmin carry items such as seedlings and fruits on expeditions. The carrying system works very differently in this game, as Pikmin walk in a straight line from the player's Mii to the location of the object, and then walk back to the player's Mii in a straight line, taking into account the movements of the player.
Besides the Pikmin, other creatures can carry things around too:
- Members of the scarpanid family can carry different objects, including Pikmin, leaders, and sparklium.
- Members of the dweevil family can carry the same things that require multiple Pikmin to carry.
- Careening Dirigibugs can carry and throw the bomb rocks they create.
- Honeywisps can carry eggs, which they release upon defeat.
- Leaders can carry Pikmin (when they hold them before throwing them), and on Hostile Territory, bomb rocks. They can also carry items from their Pack in Pikmin 4.
- Skutterchucks can carry, toss, and drop crystal nodules. They can also pick up bomb rocks in Pikmin 4.
- Some jellyfloat family and umbloda family members can carry Pikmin or leaders inside of them.
- Oatchi and Moss can carry objects in exactly the same manner as a Pikmin, counting as a number of Pikmin between 3 and 100 depending on the dog's current skills.
- The Pikmin 4 player character can carry objects with the strength of 1 Pikmin if they have the Extra Hand upgrade equipped.
The destination of a carried item depends on what the item is and what Pikmin types are carrying it. In most cases, the destination is a ship or an Onion; for a full list, see the Objects section of this article. To reach this destination, Pikmin will follow a path between various waypoints around the area. They will normally try to follow the shortest path available. If the only path is blocked by a gate or a gap with a missing bridge, the Pikmin will start walking in a circle in front of the obstacle, waiting for it to be cleared.
When carrying objects that will be deposited in an Onion, the destination Onion is calculated based on the Pikmin carrying it. The Onion will match the type of the Pikmin type that makes up the majority of the carriers. If the number is a tie, the type will be decided randomly between the tying types.
In Pikmin 2, White Pikmin and Purple Pikmin don't count for the calculation. As such, only the other Pikmin types can have an influence on the chosen Onion. If only White or Purple Pikmin are carrying it, a random Onion will be chosen (out of all Onions available at that point).
In Pikmin 3, however, once a group of White Pikmin or Purple Pikmin (one type exclusively) has been ordered to carry an item back to an Onion (that they choose at random, like in Pikmin 2), and provided they make up the majority of their group (white or purple digits should appear above the item) their destination will not change regardless of what Pikmin types are added afterwards, unless those Pikmin can outnumber the White or Purple Pikmin carrying the item. The implications are shown in the second table below. This behaviour can only be observed in the Beastly Caverns in Mission Mode, as White and Purple Pikmin do not make an appearance in Story Mode.
When a random Onion needs to be picked, it'll be decided every time a tie is generated. In other words, if a tie-breaking Pikmin is added, the type will be the one matching the new majority. If a Pikmin that doesn't break the tie is added, the destination will not change. Hence, the only way to change the type the game picked is by breaking a tie and then creating a new one, or by calling all Pikmin to the leader's side and ordering them to carry it again, which is the same thing.
Despite Pikmin 3 having only a single Onion most of the time, the same rules apply, except the "chosen Onion" just means the Pikmin type of the seeds that come out.
In Pikmin 4, all Pikmin whose Onions have not been found will produce seeds for whichever Pikmin type has the fewest total Pikmin if they are ordered to carry an item back to the Onion. This calculation is also used for Oatchi (and the player once they have the Extra Hand).
The first columns indicate the number of Pikmin of each type that is carrying the object.
In Pikmin 2:
|Pikmin carrying||Resulting Onion|
|4||4||2||–||–||Random between Red and Yellow|
|–||8||8||30||30||Random between Yellow and Blue|
|–||–||–||1||20||Random between available Onions|
In Pikmin 3:
|Pikmin carrying||Resulting Onion|
|4||5||6||7||8||White Pikmin's chosen Onion.|
|–||8||8||30||30||Random between Purple Pikmin's and White Pikmin's chosen Onion.|
|–||–||–||1||20||White Pikmin's chosen Onion.|
To do: Figure out if these objects have a different carrying speed.
Starting in Pikmin 2, some objects have a maximum number of carriers of 1. The carrying numbers don't appear above these items in Pikmin 2 (in contrast to 1-pellets), and as such only one Pikmin may carry these items at a time. Items that come from a pile in Pikmin 3 and Pikmin 4 also lack numbers, due to the different way in which they are carried.
In Pikmin 3, Pikmin carrying Burgeoning Spiderwort berries or treasures and objects that are a part of a pile follow some more specific behaviors. The object will vanish if the Pikmin carrying them is whistled, and if it belonged to a pile, it will then reappear there. Pikmin carrying these objects will complain with a brief squeal if a leader crosses their way. The current leader can also push them by bumping into them, which can be used to make them go faster. If the Pikmin somehow gets stuck and can't make any progress in their movement after some seconds, the object in their hands will vanish and they will sigh and become idle. Finally, after they deliver the object, they will automatically return to the pile's original location.
Although they don't carry them in the normal sense, Pikmin also carry bomb rocks and Bingo Battle mines by themselves. Instead of taking a linear path on their own and dropping the items on a destination, the Pikmin act like regular Pikmin, except they have an explosive in their hands, ready to be used, and will not attack enemies or obstacles with melee attacks.
Each object has a weight and maximum number of carrier Pikmin. If the combined strength of the Pikmin is less than the weight, it cannot be carried. If the maximum number of carriers is already met, any new Pikmin will ignore the object. The "strength" is the total calculated Pikmin strength, so Purple Pikmin count 10 towards this number, instead of 1 like all others.
The maximum number of carriers is often twice that of the object's weight, but some collectibles deviate from this rule; for example, small ones can only have one carrier and anything heavier than 100 units will have a higher weight number than the Pikmin limit. For the minimum strength and maximum number of carriers on a ship part, treasure, enemy or fruit, please visit the appropriate page and read the "Weight" and "Max. carriers" attributes on the infobox at the top-right corner of the article.
When something is being carried, two numbers will appear on top of it, which indicate the strength of the carriers and the object's weight. These numbers will only appear on the HUD if the object has any carrier Pikmin on it. In Pikmin and Pikmin 2, the number of Pikmin needed to carry the object will be on the top, while the number of Pikmin carrying the object will be below it. This was reversed in Pikmin 3, likely to make more sense as a fraction. More information can be found here.
Although only two Pikmin can carry a 1-pellet normally, there is some mystery surrounding the possibility of three Pikmin doing so.
In Pikmin 3, if an object is being carried by Winged Pikmin, it will be transported in the air.
Any regular object in the game has spots where the Pikmin can grab, and these spots come in two rows: one at ground level, for grounded Pikmin, and one a bit higher, for Winged Pikmin. Both rows have the same number of spots. This means Winged Pikmin can carry an object alongside grounded Pikmin, but if they have enough strength to lift the object by themselves, they will do it. Should this happen while grounded Pikmin are carrying, they will let go and sigh. If a grounded Pikmin joins in to help the moment the object starts to lift-off, those grounded Pikmin will latch on, be lifted, and remained grabbed onto it in mid-air for some seconds, before eventually letting go and falling to the ground. This can be seen easily by dismissing a varied group of Winged and grounded Pikmin onto an object.
Because Winged Pikmin grab objects in a different spot, and because of the rule that stops grounded Pikmin from carrying an object if too many Winged Pikmin are carrying it, the "real" maximum can be determined with this simple equation, where TM is the True Maximum, M is the normal Maximum of carrying spots and N is the number of Pikmin Needed to begin carrying the object:
For a practical example, while carrying a Spotty Bulbear's carcass (12 Pikmin needed to start moving, 25 maximum carrying spots), 25 grounded Pikmin may carry it alongside 11 Winged Pikmin. If a 12th Winged Pikmin is added, the Winged Pikmin will begin carrying the corpse in mid-air, and soon after, the grounded Pikmin will let go.
That said, if Winged Pikmin take flight and grounded Pikmin stay latched on, those Pikmin will also count as carrying the object, until the moment they let go. This has an impact on the speed at which the object moves, in that the object is carried more quickly when there are grounded Pikmin still clinging on, and becomes slower when those Pikmin detach. So, for this scenario, the "real" maximum number of carriers can actually be considered the "regular" maximum times two (e.g. 10 grounded Pikmin clinging on + 10 Winged Pikmin lifting the object).
If Winged Pikmin are carrying something through the air and the player orders grounded Pikmin to help carry it (via charge or throw), most of the Pikmin will get close and become idle, although some might actually jump and cling on to the object, only to let go after a second.
In Pikmin 3, Pikmin that carry a Burgeoning Spiderwort berry or nugget to the S.S. Drake, deliver a grape from the Dawn Pustules or Dusk Pustules, or fit a piece of a bridge or hay will start making their way back to the location they started carrying from. If there's nothing else to do there, they idle, but if there are more objects to collect, they will begin working on that automatically.
In Pikmin 4, Pikmin will indefinitely return to Burgeoning Spiderworts, but will avoid returning to the original location of a pile of nuggets or raw materials if the game calculates that they would have nothing to carry back once they arrive. For example, if 15 Pikmin are instructed to carry back a pile of 15 nuggets, none will attempt to return. If 15 Pikmin are instructed to carry back a pile of 40 nuggets, all 15 Pikmin will return for a second time, but only 10 will return for a third time, since only 10 nuggets remain on the pile.
The calculation determining how many Pikmin return is made the moment an individual Pikmin reaches the S.S. Beagle, and takes into account how many Pikmin are returning and how many are currently carrying nuggets from the pile, even if the Pikmin cannot see each other. Once the Pikmin either chooses to return to the pile or stay idle at the ship, they will stop regarding changes in the nugget pile. This results in too few Pikmin returning to the pile (in the situation that the number of nuggets goes up, usually due to Pikmin deaths mid-transport), or the situation where too many Pikmin return, leaving some idle at the pile (in the situation that the number of nuggets goes down, usually due to the player setting more Pikmin on the pile as the other Pikmin are returning to it).
For the path Pikmin take on return trips, Pikmin follow the same routing as they would when carrying something. In addition, they can also move in a circle if there's an obstacle in front of their path. This can be seen by throwing Pikmin to the northeasternmost point of the area in Silver Lake Remix in Pikmin 3's Mission Mode, and waiting for the Pikmin to grab a grape, drop down, deliver it, and return to idle near the electric gate.
To do: Check, for each game, what happens if non-Blue Pikmin decide to take a path that has water in the way.
In the main series, the game calculates which path the Pikmin should take by examining all possible paths that reach the destination, and discarding those that are blocked. A path is considered blocked if a bridge within is unbuilt, if an uncleared gate is in the way, or if any other obstacle is blocking the path. In the case of multiple possible paths, the shortest one is picked. If the only available path is blocked, the Pikmin will follow it as far as they can, until they reach the obstacle, where they will move around in a small circle, waiting for it to be cleared.
The paths in-game are consisted of interconnected waypoints forming a graph. These points are not visible to the player, nor are the paths in-between. Whenever the Pikmin begin carrying an object, they move to the nearest waypoint on the map. Once there, they follow the calculated path, walking in a straight line from waypoint to waypoint, until they reach their destination. Should the closest waypoint be on the other side of a wall, the Pikmin will attempt to go for it regardless. This can lead to them getting stuck behind the wall; see oversights.
Once Pikmin begin to carry an object, they will decide on their path and stick to it, even if a shorter path becomes available while they are carrying. Pikmin only re-calculate their path if the load is dropped or (in Pikmin or Pikmin 2) if the carrying speed changes. In Pikmin 4, Pikmin are instead aware of route updates and will change their path immediately.
In Pikmin, paths only enter water if there is no possible dry path, meaning bridges must be built instead of allowing Blue Pikmin to shortcut through the water. If entering water is required, Pikmin will gladly do so even if this would kill them. By comparison, if something is being carried by only Blue Pikmin in Pikmin 3, and any part of the path (past or planned) crosses water, only Blue and Winged Pikmin will naturally join them. Stopping the transport once the water is cleared will recalculate a new fully-dry path and allow other colors to join.
The following are charts of the paths in the Pikmin games, generated using information from the game's files. Waypoints have a radius attribute, which is represented on the charts, but their function is currently unknown. These charts were also aligned manually, so they're expected to have a very slight error in positioning. Also to note is that the radar patterns don't reflect the terrain exactly, so some nodes that may look like they're on top of one ledge could actually be on the ground below, for instance. Please click on the images to see a higher resolution version, but be warned that the full images are very large.
- Pikmin 2
The following article or section is in need of assistance from someone who plays Pikmin 3.
In general, the carrier Pikmin's maturity, whether they are spicy or not, the number of carriers, and the type of the Pikmin all have an impact on how quickly the object is carried.
Fan-driven research has resulted in the following formula for the speed at which Pikmin carry an object, where w is the object's weight, m is the object's maximum carrier number, and P is the set of all carrier Pikmin. Sp refers to the stage of any given carrier Pikmin. The final number is in an arbitrary unit of speed.
The speed at which Pikmin carry an object in Pikmin 2 depends on several factors, like the type, maturity, and spicy status of the carrier Pikmin, the total amount of carriers, the maximum amount of carriers for that object, the object's weight, and some other internal values.
Fan-driven research has resulted in the following formula for carrying speeds, where w is the object's weight, m is the object's maximum carrier number, and P is the set of all carrier Pikmin. Tp refers to any given carrier Pikmin's type, and Sp to its stage. The final number is in an arbitrary unit of speed. For the Doomsday Apparatus, the weight and minimum carriers are both set to 1,000.
Whenever a carrier Pikmin is added to the object, a variable related to the object's carry speed is increased, and when a carrier is removed, the value is decreased. Every Pikmin type, maturity, and spicy status results in a different change in value.
Because the game only updates the value based on Pikmin added and removed, a glitch can occur: if a Pikmin changes maturity or status while it is holding on to the object, then whistling it back can result in the value being mismatched, and keeping some leftover speed. One practical way to do this is to add a spicy leaf Pikmin to the object (which increases the value a lot), let the spray run out, and then whistle it back (which decreases the value slightly). This will keep some leftover speed in the object forever, which can be stacked to raise its speed overall.
This also means that Pikmin that were under the effects of the ultra-spicy spray when they started carrying will continue to carry at the spray's speed if it runs out mid-trip. The only other ways to change a Pikmin's value mid-carry is to flower them with the appropriate item in 2-Player Battle or to get them withered by a Withering Blowhog (which works regardless of them being Purple Pikmin or not).
Based on RAM readings, the value each Pikmin contributes depends on the table specified in the formula above, and ultra-spicy spray makes the Pikmin count as a flower Pikmin in terms of carrying speed. This also means that using an ultra-spicy spray on a group of flower Pikmin has absolutely no effect on their carrying speed.
Fan-driven research has resulted in the following formula for carrying speeds, where w is the object's weight, m is the object's maximum carrier number, and P is the set of all carrier Pikmin. Tp refers to any given carrier Pikmin's type, and Sp to its stage. The final number is in an arbitrary unit of speed. Because of the values used by Pikmin 3, it is possible for the formula to return a number smaller than 1, but in such cases, the game just clamps the value to 1, to stop Pikmin from carrying things too slowly.
While it is not known how much, Winged Pikmin carrying an object through the air travel at a slower pace than grounded Pikmin do. The carrying complications regarding Winged Pikmin also impact speed. If grounded Pikmin are carrying an object, adding Winged Pikmin to the object will not increase its carrying speed. However, if there are not enough grounded Pikmin to carry, Winged Pikmin will add speed at the same rate as a grounded Pikmin. As mentioned above, this formula applies even as an object is being lifted into the air and grounded Pikmin are clinging on to it.
In addition, if there are 66 or fewer Pikmin in the area, Winged Pikmin will carry like normal, but if there are 67 or more, Winged Pikmin will start carrying things slower, at around only 70% of their normal speed. If Pikmin are added or removed from the field as Winged Pikmin are carrying, their speed will get adjusted right away according to this rule. The exact values and reasons for this are currently not known.
In Hey! Pikmin, carried objects always travel at the same speed, which is slower than their standard walking speed.
The following article or section contains guides.
To do: Get more generic strategies, like finding out the best option between having several, weak Pikmin carry something, or few, strong and slow Pikmin, and other stuff like that.
To save time, you can whistle Pikmin carrying a ship part, treasure or fruit when they're almost done delivering, and you have other Pikmin that are carrying something on their way to the same ship. The Pikmin you whistle will let go off the object and come to you, and when the next group of Pikmin come, they will deliver their object, stay idle, notice the nearby object, and carry that as well. This depends on the number of Pikmin carrying the first and second object, as well as its radius, and how far away the first object is from the second group of Pikmin when they deliver their item. It is a weak strategy, one that saves no more than a few seconds, but of relative importance for speedruns.
When Pikmin are carrying some objects down a ledge, it may be faster to whistle them when the object is on the edge, so that they let go, and make it fall down and slide forward rapidly. This only applies to a few edges (e.g. the edge with the 5-pellet Pellet Posy at the landing site of the Valley of Repose).
In Pikmin 2, because Pikmin keep their spicy speed until they release the object, even if the spray's effects run out in the meantime, this can be used to speed up Pikmin during long treks.
In Pikmin 3, one can push a Pikmin that is carrying a small object in order to speed it up slightly. This can be achieved by bumping into the Pikmin with the current leader.
Pikmin are able to carry the following:
- To the Onion:
- To the S.S. Dolphin:
- To the Hocotate Ship:
- To the Research Pod:
- To the S.S. Drake:
- To the SPERO:
- To building locations in Pikmin 3:
- To Olimar in Hey! Pikmin:
- To nowhere (remaining in the player's squad):
- To the player's Mii in Pikmin Bloom:
- To the S.S. Beagle:
- To building locations in Pikmin 4:
- Main article: Path oversights.
In some places, Pikmin can carry lying leaders up walls. This happens if the closest waypoint is on the other side of a slanted wall. Normally, it's possible to regain control of the leader and stand on top of the climbed surface, which can allow the player to go out-of-bounds or skip obstacles.
Some oversights also exist in the form of missing or incorrect waypoints, most of them for paths under bridges. Instead of moving out from under the bridge, the Pikmin walk into the bottom of the bridge and become stuck.
On top of oversights with the path graphs, there is also the fact that in Pikmin 2, Pikmin in the spicy status prior to carrying will keep their speed even after the effects wear off, until they let go off the object. Further, some exploits can be performed in order to trick the game to use a carrying path that is all wrong. The reasons for this are not known.
In Hey! Pikmin
The following article or section is in need of assistance from someone who plays Hey! Pikmin.
In Hey! Pikmin, only the number of Pikmin required to lift an object can carry it, and they move at a fixed speed, slower than their walking speed. Pikmin can also carry smaller objects like Sparklium Seeds, hearts, and bomb rocks, on their own at their normal speed.
Once Pikmin start carrying a large object, they move horizontally in the direction Olimar is at the time, and will not stop until they find Olimar or an obstacle, at which point they'll turn around. If the Pikmin would fall down a ledge when carrying something large, they will drop it for a second, pick it back up, and once again start carrying it in the direction Olimar is at that time. Blue Pikmin can carry treasures under water, and will do so vertically and horizontally, prioritizing vertically following in what direction Olimar is in.
Pikmin are not able to be called back when all of the number of Pikmin required to carry the treasure has been reached, and will not start carrying a treasure if they walk past one when being called by the whistle. They can be called back if they are holding on to an object, but are unable to lift it, or have not finished their "picking up" animation.
- In Pikmin 2 and Pikmin 3, if Pikmin are carrying something, the music will change to a slightly more upbeat and cheerful variation. In Pikmin 2, this only happens if they're carrying a treasure, and if the player is near them, however.
- In Pikmin 2, Purple and White Pikmin will change to the size of a standard Pikmin when they are carrying something.
- In Pikmin 3, Pikmin that are blocked in all possible paths will idle with their load in a tight circle. Interestingly, touching the spoils with a leader will cause the Pikmin to pause for a few seconds before resuming their circling. With lighter objects, the leader can even push the Pikmin around as though on a low-friction surface, before the Pikmin return to their idling spot.
- In Pikmin 3 if a non-Winged Pikmin tries to carry a pink pellet out from the zone where the Winged Onion is first found, the Pikmin will not walk past the bridge and start walking in circles, possibly as a way to prevent the player from getting rid of a helpful Winged Pikmin growing tool. This behavior disappears after the Winged Onion merges with the Master Onion.
- In Hey! Pikmin, if a Pikmin is carrying a heart and gets stuck around an obstacle, and the Pikmin goes into an idle state before it returns the heart to Olimar (which could be caused by the Pikmin being separated for too long over too great a distance), then upon finding the Pikmin in its idle state, the heart it was carrying will be gone.
Names in other languages
|Portuguese (NoE)||Carregar||Carry||Name taken from the Pikmin instruction manual.|
- “The Pikmin that are carrying our spoils seem to be milling about in one place with their loads. It appears that their path back to the Onion is blocked, and faced with what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle, they have lost their focus. This is unacceptable. I will have to determine what is blocking their way and do what I can to resolve the problem.” – Captain Olimar in a monolog
- Video on Twitter, published on March 10th, 2023, retrieved on March 18th, 2023
- YouTube video showing how grounded Pikmin clinging on also count for speeding up an object's carrying
- YouTube video where Pikmin don't take the watery path that is closer, but go the long way around, since the player never explored the water path (at 28:25)
- 【ピクミン２】運搬速度論 第1回 on Nicovideo, published on July 28th, 2017, retrieved on March 2nd, 2018
- Video on Twitter, published on March 24th, 2018, retrieved on March 24th, 2018
- YouTube video showing speed visibly slowing when the final grounded Pikmin to carry is added.
- YouTube video of the Doomsday Apparatus being carried through the wrong path., published on December 14th, 2019, retrieved on December 15th, 2019
|Types||Red Pikmin • Yellow Pikmin • Blue Pikmin • Purple Pikmin • White Pikmin|
Rock Pikmin • Winged Pikmin • Ice Pikmin • Bulbmin • Glow Pikmin
|Biology||Candypop Bud • Idle • Maturity • Onion • Flarlic • Pellet|
Pikmin extinction • Trip • Sprout • Seedling • Soul • Squad
|Abilities||Carry • Dig • Dodge • Fight • Hide|
|Controls||Charge • Dismiss • Swarm • Pluck • Throw • Whistle|
|Other||Decor Pikmin • Leafling • Mushroom Pikmin • Pikpik carrot|
This article was a featured article from December 25th, 2014 to March 1st, 2015.