In the Pikmin games, a Pikmin that is moving can randomly fumble, and either fall down face-first (referred to as tripping), or careen forward a bit (referred to as stumbling). When this happens, the Pikmin is usually unusable until it recovers. A Pikmin that trips or stumbles runs the risk of being forgotten, hurt by enemies, or flung into an obstacle, making it important for the player to pay attention to the whole group and use whatever tools they have to get the Pikmin back to normal quickly. How likely a Pikmin is to trip, or if it can trip at all, depends on its type, and what it is doing.
Tripping was introduced in the first game, where it is fairly common. It carried over to Pikmin 2, where the chances for a Pikmin to trip got reduced, but stumbling was added. Both mechanics were removed entirely in Pikmin 3. Tripping was later re-added for Hey! Pikmin but it has been made less punishing – Pikmin only trip in specific spots, and they get up faster.
In Pikmin, a Pikmin that trips lands face-first, stays there for a while, shakes its head, and gets up. It stays in this tripped state for roughly 4.5 seconds, from the moment it begins falling forward to the moment it starts moving again. All throughout, the Pikmin is considered a normal part of Olimar's group, so the player is able to pick up and throw the Pikmin, or even dismiss to cause it to instantly get back up and join its type's group. The player can use these two actions to get back into action faster, instead of waiting for the Pikmin to get up.
In Pikmin 2, tripping is roughly the same as in Pikmin. Stumbling makes the Pikmin jut forward in whatever direction it was moving, for a roughly fixed distance, and for some seconds. In this game however, nothing can be done to return the Pikmin to normal faster, for either tripping or stumbling. While the Pikmin is still considered a part of the group, it is actually in a special state where the leader cannot interact with it. Dismissing will keep that Pikmin in the group, spraying will not affect that Pikmin, and the HUD's standby icon calculation will skip over that Pikmin (meaning the icon can even show the "no Pikmin" symbol if that was the only member of the group).
Pikmin can only trip or stumble if they are following the leader somewhere, or if the player is swarming. The chances for a Pikmin to trip or stumble, as well as the moment the game decides that, are not known.
Although unconfirmed, it is rumored that swarming increases the odds of a Pikmin tripping.[source needed]
At least in Pikmin, cutscenes do not make the Pikmin immune to tripping, since it is possible for a Pikmin to trip in the sunset gathering cutscene. Pikmin carrying bomb rocks are also unable to trip.
Hey! Pikmin tripping spots
In Hey! Pikmin, during gameplay, Pikmin are only able to trip in very specific places. These are sections of an area where there is a lot of room to walk in, and there are no real dangers nearby. These spots are purposely chosen by the area designers, by placing a
Outside of gameplay
Tripping is also used in other parts of the franchise outside of a random gameplay mechanic.
In the Pikmin Park, a Pikmin that is following a line while heading towards an obstacle to clean up may trip. This temporarily slows the line down behind it, but the Pikmin will get up on its own shortly after, and speed up to catch its place. This is purely aesthetic, and has no impact on the progression of the park's cleanup.