Charging is a feature in Pikmin 3 that allows the player to instantly order Pikmin in their group to rush towards a target, and work on it or attack it, much like if they were thrown at it. This effectively replaces the swarm mechanic of the previous games. The feature works differently in Pikmin 3 and in Pikmin 3 Deluxe.
In order to charge at something, the player must be locked-on to it. By issuing the "dismiss" command while locked-on, the Pikmin in the group will charge at the object. After activating the charge, a horn is heard, the Pikmin jump up and perform a battle cry, and after a small delay, they run at the object. A charge can also sometimes be initiated in the small time window before a leader loses a lock-on due to distance, which can be useful for bypassing certain puzzles when combined with Winged Pikmin.
Nothing will happen if the player attempts to charge with no Pikmin or leader in their party. When charging, any leaders following the current leader will be dismissed, possibly to make it easier for the current leader to punch the target in unison with the Pikmin horde. Pikmin not suited for the task will move slightly towards the target, but will retreat shortly after and rejoin the leader. This happens for the following Pikmin:
Due to this, it is advised to stay well-aware of the Pikmin in the current leader's group, if one wishes to direct said leader to attack alongside them, otherwise a press of the punch button may end up tossing a bomb-armed Pikmin instead.
When charging, if they do not reach their destination in about one and a half seconds, they will sigh and give up. However, due to a glitch of sorts, there may be times when the Pikmin are told to charge at an object, but give up much quicker than usual, around a total of half a second. The cause for this is currently unknown.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe
The player can issue a charge at any moment by pressing . Holding the button down will make the leader pose in preparation, and will show an arrow indicating what the charge direction is – Pikmin will always be charged in the direction of the cursor. Releasing the button will cause the charge to take place. Once the button has been held, the player has no other choice but to release it when they are ready to charge.
When a charge is issued, only the Pikmin of the current standby type will act, moving forward in the given direction (roughly until the maximum throwing distance). Unlike in Pikmin 3, the Pikmin will move right away without stopping to jump up, but they will still let out a battle cry and a horn will still be heard. Pikmin that do not find anything to interact with will pile on that spot for a bit and then return to the leader's group, but Pikmin that do find something will start working on it or attacking it. Pikmin that charge will be removed from the group, and will be re-added if they return by themselves, but they can be whistled in order to return sooner.
If there are no Pikmin that can charge, the move will fail – the leader will spin anyway, but a clown horn sound will play instead, and nothing will happen. After charging, the player can perform another charge to issue the next Pikmin type to charge as well. So effectively, in order to charge the entire squad, the player must press the button repeatedly. That said, there are some cases where the charge will fail, and game will not change to the next type. The following table explains all of the situations in which a charge will succeed or fail, and which will result in the next Pikmin type charging when the button is pressed again.
When Pikmin are told to charge at a group of objects, the one that they focus on will depend on its importance – some objects will have higher priority than others. For instance, charging Pikmin towards both a Golden Grenade and a Whiptongue Bulborb corpse (possible in Tropical Forest) will make them go for the Golden Grenade. However, if the player is locked-on to something, the Pikmin will always go for that object no matter what else is nearby. Charging normally will also make the Pikmin go in a straight line, whereas charging to a locked-on object will make Winged Pikmin fly to it and Blue Pikmin swim to it, if applicable.
When Pikmin are charged towards an object that can be carried, they will all race towards it, but only the minimum necessary amount to start carrying it will actually grab on, and the rest will return. If they are charged towards an object that is already being carried, then only those necessary to fill all carrying slots will grab on, and the others will come back.
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