Music in Pikmin Adventure
The music of Pikmin Adventure is a collection of re-orchestrations of music from the Pikmin series and new tracks composed specifically for the attraction. The music accompanies every aspect of the attraction, from gameplay to inter-gameplay cutscenes. The soundtrack also honors the Pikmin series' norm of dynamically changing depending on gameplay events, even though the events of this attraction are greatly simplified. Specifically, an electronic drum track is added when enemies are nearby, and sometimes the tempo and key of a theme depend on how much time is remaining in a timed challenge. The music's mood is generally not nearly as serious as the canonical stories' soundtracks (because the themes must exist in the dual diegesis of Pikmin's canon and Nintendo Land frivolity), but the realism of the synthetic instruments used is unrivaled, even by the sound technology used for Pikmin 3.
The soundtrack to Nintendo Land was composed by Ryo Nagamatsu. Hajime Wakai handled sound design.
It should be noted that, even if the original music used to create this derivative work has an official name, there are no known official titles for the soundtrack to Pikmin Adventure. All titles here are conjectural. The following motif should also be noted; it is used very often in the game.
Heard as a loop before the beginning of a stage. An augmented intro and tubular bell chime (similar to the chime at the canon games' sunset) progresses to a loop in E♭ in strings and penny whistle (playing the Pikmin 2 motif). A double bass carries the theme, making the mood very strong and setting confidence for the level ahead.
Heard during the tutorial, during which the guide Monita explains how to play. This is a re-orchestration of The Impact Site's theme, using an instrumentation more suitable to Nintendo Land. The only noticeable differences between the two scores is a flexatone sound effect in the intro and a few subtle differences among the bass and harmonies; otherwise the piece is very true to the original, and still serves very well as a simple, understandable tutorial theme.
The theme to the first four stages of Pikmin Adventure, set in a garden-like spring environment. This is an original composition based on the Pikmin 2 motif, first in fipple flute and then in in bagpipes. The progression is very simple, suggesting an easy first few stages, but also a faster tempo and generally more intense than any original Pikmin series area music, suggesting the faster and more intense pace of Pikmin Adventure.
The theme to stages 5-8, set in a tropical summer environment. This is a re-orchestration of The Forest Navel's theme, replacing the guitar with a sitar, adding a fipple flute part, and clearing up most of the sound. This theme does not exactly draw as much intensity as the last theme (as was the intention of the original area theme), but The Forest Navel has one of the simpler themes of the Pikmin series, allowing this new rendition to standby for the players getting used to gameplay.
The theme to stages 9-12, set in a barren autumn environment. This original composition takes on a more somber and natural mood in changing meters, using overtone flute and rudimentary percussion to create a more rugged atmosphere. This aids the smooth transition of gameplay difficulty, and the new, less varied color scheme of the new area.
The theme to stages 13-16, set in a snowy winter environment. This is quite a complex re-orchestration of the Valley of Repose's theme, adding an improvisational xylophone part, a harmonic clarinet part, and a beat in electronic drums to keep rhythm similarly to the other themes. The whole theme has many streams of musical information, which actually directs the player's attention away from discerning the music and toward focal gameplay (a common technique in Pikmin music). One can hear the enemy mix in this rendition, played on marimba, even when no enemies are present, meaning it is merely for harmonic aesthetics.
Heard in any dark underground section of a stage. This is an original composition featuring tuned gongs (a popular instrument in the later Pikmin 3), vibraphone, and flute over another electronic beat. The piece is quite avant-garde, having no easily defined key, although the dominant-tonic function at the end of the loop suggests the piece gravitates around C. The melody is fully chromatic and functions rather independently of the established harmony, reflecting the loose and mysterious form of caves that is only revealed in small circles of light.
Heard during a battle with a lesser mid-boss at the end of a stage, such as with King Beeb. This is an original composition for Pikmin Adventure, but still follows a style similar to the boss theme of Pikmin 2. Although the instruments (and chiptone synthesizers) are characteristic of Nintendo Land, the irregular time signature, militaristic percussion, and bass stabs harken back to the other boss theme. Unlike that theme, however, there are no dynamic cues the boss triggers in-game; this allows the theme to have multiple different textures and areas where fewer instruments play, without anything detracting from the continuity of the piece.
Heard during the cutscene in which the Bulblord/Grand Bulblord appears. These boss cutscenes are designed to accent the boss's characteristics and actions. The Bulblord's burly might is accented by rich, ascending tritones in strings and timpani and gong hits in percussion. These tritones are continued in a descending pattern when the boss's head spins, and only ends on the dominant to the main boss theme when the Bulblord roars.
Heard during the cutscene in which the Large-mouth/Translucent Wollywog appears. These boss cutscenes are designed to accent the boss's characteristics and actions. The Wollywog's alien-looking features are accented with small runs on a sawtooth synthesizer, while the quickly established danger of the boss is accented by a buildup of distorted harmonies in strings over a bass C drone in horn, timpani, and double bass.
Heard during the cutscene in which the Emperor Pinchipede/Monochromatic Pinchipede appears. These boss cutscenes are designed to accent the boss's characteristics and actions. The Pinchipede is first introduced with a quirky dominant chord trill. Afterwards, however, the chord breaks down into an atonal texture in col legno strings, tremolo timpani, and ocean harp, playing the Pinchipede's harsh and honed look. A final stab from a double bass cuts the texture short for the battle's start.
Heard during the cutscene in which the Bladed Beeb/Greater Studded Beeb appears. These boss cutscenes are designed to accent the boss's characteristics and actions. The rich string quartet chords at the beginning accent (to the best of the Pikmin Adventure texture's ability) the boss's powerful and ominous look, while the looming texture and xylophone afterward score its movements until a buildup in timpani, cello, and bass prepare the player for its harsh roar.
Heard during any boss battle. This is a re-orchestrated medley of Titan Dweevil themes, in this order: Main battle, preparing to attack, Flare Cannon, Comedy Bomb, Monster Pump, and Shock Therapist themes. Of course, in the context of Nintendo Land, the dark, atonal texture of the original piece is nullified by reduced and freer instrumentation and more understandable harmonies. Also, there is no silence to the theme, always leaving the player with a reference point for the music, and making the music seem more level-headed. That being said, this medley does use rather experimental synthesizers and chiptone sounds to add power behind its jovial natural instruments, and although it rather seamlessly adapts these themes to medley, its percussion and meter also become rather experimental. When a boss becomes angry, this music accelerates and transposes up a minor third.
Heard when a mid-boss or boss is defeated. This simple thin texture on xylophone and marimba (with small whispers of strings) easily brings the mood back from the large scale of the boss to the small scale of the victorious leader and Pikmin. The penultimate bass stab synchronizes with any large boss exploding.
Heard in the gate for Pikmin Adventure, while choosing a game mode, character, and stage. As with the other gates in Nintendo Land, the Pikmin Adventure gate uses a recognizable theme from the series on which it is based — namely the Pikmin main theme — with added reverb to enhance the feeling of the long hallway background.
Heard when the player(s) loses all health and the game ends. This last rendition of the "Pikmin 2 motif" ends on a high staccato F major, bringing whatever mood the previous music portrayed to a sudden and comical halt. Its brevity and sharpness reinstate the lightheartedness of the attraction, while it still seems to create a mocking mood.
Heard when the Hocotate ship arrives in a level (meaning this does not play in timed challenges where it has already landed). This is a re-orchestration of the "end of day" theme from Pikmin, using mostly the frivolous instruments of Pikmin Adventure but still including the tubular bells in the original theme. After the main gesture plays twice, a cymbal roll lengthens the last note to a loop of B major 7 in piano and pad synthesizer, bringing the mood to a satisfying reassurance that all challenges of the level are complete.
Two cues can play after the ship is entered. One is the regular end of the "end of day" theme, for a normal completion of the stage.
The other is a special reroute of the "end of day" theme to end on a lush D♭ 6/9 chord in strings and percussion. This is reserved for mastering a stage: completing it within a special time limit without taking damage.
Heard during versus mode. This original composition is very different both the canon soundtrack and the Pikmin Adventure soundtrack, perhaps following the tendency of the main games' multiplayer modes to have different compositional styles because they are non-canonical. Military percussion give the theme power, while a circus-calliope-like synthesizer plays a very comical melody counterpointed by xylophone and marimba runs, making the whole theme very farcical and silly. As far as structure, the theme may take a bit of inspiration from the enemy reel theme, but the two themes are still worlds apart; this theme plays the competitive and chaotic aspect of the versus mode more than the Pikmin aspect.
Heard after a versus battle has concluded. This small fanfare works tubular bells and a timpani roll behind the "Pikmin 2 motif", to give it power and conclusiveness. Again, the instrumentation of this small cue is still separate from the actual versus battle music; the battle music really exists outside of the usual moods set by the Pikmin series, perhaps because no themes for multiplayer modes are as fast-paced as this mode's mood.