Zero death challenge
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A zero death challenge is where one tries to complete one of the Pikmin games without losing any Pikmin whatsoever. This can be very difficult, even for skilled players. However, there are a few notable methods that can make this task easier, as listed below.
The Pikmin games were designed with Pikmin death in mind; primarily during tough battles. The Pikmin by themselves are extremely frail, and even the simplest enemies like dwarf bulborbs can kill a Pikmin or two very quickly if left unchecked, especially during more hectic scenes, or if you have a very large squad following you. Be prepared to reset if even a single Pikmin dies, and accept that it may take multiple tries to complete a sublevel or defeat a boss enemy without casualties.
Take your time
Especially in the first game, where enemies are typically much harder to beat due to generally higher enemy health points, the absence of Purple Pikmin, and several glitches (like the crushing glitch) that can kill Pikmin through no fault of your own. You absolutely must take your time; even the smallest, simplest mistake can lead to casualties. Learn about the enemy types, and learn how they attack the Pikmin and the Leaders so you can safely navigate away from their attacks. Patience is vital when fighting difficult enemies like the Beady Long Legs and Emperor Bulblax, or the likes of the Titan Dweevil in Pikmin 2. Rushing can lead to sloppy mistakes, which can escalate into deaths.
Even if only one of your Pikmin dies, reset the day or cave sublevel. The fastest way is press the "RESET" button on your console or select "Reset" from the Wii's Home Menu. Alternately, press the "POWER" button and restart the system, or hold + + . This is especially useful in caves, where your progress is saved between every sublevels, meaning you will lose very little progress should you restart. In Pikmin 3, you can just pause the game and select "restart area" to return to the start of the day.
Some enemies are hard to beat without a large onslaught, so take the strongest forces of Pikmin you can muster, and use them correctly. In Pikmin 2, you should always try and defeat enemies with Purple Pikmin whenever possible, because of their immense power. In the first game, there are also a number of alternative, safer ways to defeat enemies, such as using bomb-rocks, or failing that, punching them with Olimar to weaken them.
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There are some tricks and strategies that make your Pikmin more effective. Learning these could be the key to a death-free day. The following tricks are recommended:
- Faster throw trick – by using while throwing, you can remove the delay between each Pikmin toss, allowing you to throw Pikmin at a faster rate.
- Double sprays glitch – by having an idle leader absorb a spray drop, and quickly having the current leader absorb it as well, two doses can be obtained from a single drop.
- Digging speeds: learning what types of Pikmin are the most and least effective at digging out objects can allow the player to leave fewer Pikmin work on a task or gain time.
- Carrying: White Pikmin are the fastest Pikmin: as such, they have fewer chances of being killed by an enemy. In Pikmin 3, Winged Pikmin carrying an object cannot be noticed by enemies, which makes them the best choice for retrieving things.
While the enemies that lurk on the main paths should always be dispatched, many enemies near parts and treasures that are on the road less traveled don't always have to be killed. Most enemies will follow a leader with or without Pikmin, so use a leader to distract the enemies while a small group of Pikmin slip by with a part or treasure. In caves, you should find the most direct route to the treasures and only kill the enemies on that route.
Don't overburden yourself
Although it may make the next few days a little easier, killing all the enemies in the level or trying to kill multiple bosses in one day will likely result in multiple resets and frustration. If you end the day often, you won't lose as much progress should you have to reset the day. This is not as viable in the first and third games however, which have day limits; taking too many days will result in a Game Over.
The leaders' punch can kill most non-boss enemies rather efficiently, especially after recovering the Brute Knuckles and unlocking the Rocket Fist in the second game. It is entirely possible for the two leaders to clean out entire sublevels while placing the Pikmin in no direct harm. While Olimar can heal himself in the first game by interacting with the S.S Dolphin, the leaders in Pikmin 2 are not given this luxury, requiring care to be taken when battling with just the leaders, lest one of them go down. Leaders can also be sent to scour the entire sublevel and trigger any falling bomb-rocks or Volatile Dweevils before they endanger the Pikmin.
Know your enemies
Attempting a zero death challenge isn't a good idea during your first shot at the game – all of the games are quite difficult simply to complete, let alone without casualties – but don't senselessly sacrifice your Pikmin; rather, study what the enemies and hazards of the Pikmin games do and look for exploits, easier ways to dodge their attacks, and defeat them. Some enemy attacks can harm or kill other enemies, such as the Yellow Wollywogs "ground-pound". Many of the guides here can help you in learning about the enemies, but only by playing the game can you gain experience.
Sprays can be farmed rather efficiently in the second game and the third game if you know where to go and what to do. The ever-valuable ultra-bitter sprays can be easily farmed on the Frontier Cavern's first sublevel, as it has three Doodlebugs, which give two bitter sprays each if hit all three times, adding up to six bitter sprays (twelve if you use the spray duplication glitch) per trip. Spicy sprays can easily be obtained by spending a little time near the Awakening Wood's Spiderworts and hunting down flint beetles.
In the third game, Pikmin can be assigned to a Spiderwort, and will spend the day harvesting them unless they encounter resistance or are interrupted. Assigning 5 Pikmin to two or three Spiderworts can give you a good number of sprays per day, which can help out quite a bit during boss battles.
In the second game, sprays are acceptably common, doubly so if you use the spray glitch mentioned above. Do not be afraid to use an ultra-bitter spray to defeat an enemy like a Fiery Bulblax, even if you need to spend an extra day at the Perplexing Pool in order to obtain more. Ultra-spicy sprays are less helpful, but can still be used to defeat a boss enemy faster in a pinch.