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Pikmin 2

Mass strategy game sequel release for Nintendo GameCube has puzzle-solving action options in a world of plant-like creatures

Pikmin 2

The Pikmin look a little like garden plants, but a single whistle mobilizes a multitude of Pikmin to gather treasure and solve puzzles.

The only place these tiny, hard-working creatures can be found is in Pikmin 2, a unique video game made only for Nintendo GameCube that launches this week. In this mass-strategy sequel, Captain Olimar and his assistant, Louie, must find valuable objects to save their company. They enlist hordes of Pikmin to help.

"With a new character to control and new kinds of Pikmin, players will experience twice the action in this one-of-a-kind adventure," says George Harrison of Nintendo. "The inclusion of brand-name products, a first for Nintendo, means players will find unique value in the familiar items they uncover through the game."

Pikmin 2 improves on the original in every way. Players can switch control between Olimar and Louie to expand the action and find new ways to solve puzzles. They also will encounter two new types of powerful Pikmin.

Unlike the first version, the game has no time limits, so players can fully explore the world of the Pikmin at their own pace. Time even stops when players enter the new cave environments, but the underground areas offer their own tactical challenges: Players can't grow new Pikmin there, so they must marshal their forces strategically. Pikmin 2 has a new split-screen mode that lets two players compete to see which of the Pikmin armies has the most skillful commander.

Best known for video game characters like Mario and Donkey Kong, Nintendo game developer Shigeru Miyamoto created the engrossing world of the Pikmin. The first edition won the award for Innovation in Console Gaming. Pikmin 2 sells for $49.99.