Pokeys are cactus-like creatures that are commonly found throughout the Mario series as recurring enemies. Pokeys, like Shy Guys and Bob-ombs, originate from the non-Mario game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, which later became Super Mario Bros. 2.
Pokeys are tall, yellow creatures with numerous green spikes festooning their bodies. They are made up of several round balls combined together to form a wiggly structure. The spikes around its body act as defense against predators. Well known for a having a flower growing on their head, it is commonly shown to be growing off to the side, with spikes prominently covering the top of their head.
Method of Attack
Pokeys are very slow but nonetheless, they try to chase Mario and attack him. If Mario touches one anywhere on its body, it will poke him with a spike and Mario will be hurt.
Super Mario Bros. 2: Mario Madness
Pokeys first appear in Super Mario Bros. 2 and will slowly chase after the player. In this game, Pokeys are green and can be defeated by throwing objects at their body segments, or picking up one segment at a time.
Super Mario World
Pokeys reappear in Super Mario World after their absence in Super Mario Bros. 3. This time, Pokeys are yellow and could not be defeated in the same way as in Super Mario Bros. 2. Throwing a Shell or Block at them would defeat them all at once. Mario and Luigi could also defeat a Pokey by sliding up or down a hill at the cactus. Another option was to defeat them with Yoshi, who could eat their body segments one at a time. The number of body segments present depends on if Mario has Yoshi or not. If he does, Pokeys have five body segments. Without Yoshi, Pokeys only have three segments so that Mario can jump over them. They only appear in the Special World level "Groovy" and Yoshi's Island 4 in a secret area. Also, in Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World after the player beats the Special World and unlocked all of the exits, Pokeys turn into a bizarre grey spiked creature with a face on each body segment.
Super Mario Sunshine
A smaller variety of Pokeys called Pokey Heads appear in Super Mario Sunshine as well as normal Pokeys themselves. They both now have flowers on their heads, and their spikes somewhat resemble stubble. To defeat a regular Pokey, Mario must come close to the tall cactus, causing the Pokey to attempt to crush him, as the Pokeys are planted to the ground, and cannot move. However, the Pokey's spikes will get stuck in the ground and Mario can jump on its head to defeat it. If Mario can manage to stomp on a Pokey's head while it is upright, the defeated Pokey will yield three Coins instead of one. Some leave behind a Blue Coin when defeated; jumping on these while upright yields two regular Coins in addition. One can see goopy bubbles rising from the flower on their heads as they bop up and down, so this may mean they may have some connection to Shadow Mario and his Magic Paintbrush.
Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS
Pokeys appear in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS where they can be found in Shifting Sand Land. Pokeys in this game have red eyes. Here, Mario can destroy each body segment with a punch, kick or by throwing a Bob-omb at it; attacking the head defeats it and causes the whole body to instantly disappear. If Mario waits too long after destroying any of his segments, the Pokey will grow them right back. They give Blue Coins when defeated. If Mario gets hit by a Pokey, he will lose two wedges of health. Unlike most enemies in this game, Pokey does not respawn shortly after defeat. In Super Mario 64 DS, Pokeys use their Super Mario Sunshine Appearance.
In Super Mario 64 DS, the Pokey's graphics are updated to reflect their design as seen in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! However, jumping on their head now damages Mario instead of defeating the Pokey.
New Super Mario Bros.
Pokeys appear in New Super Mario Bros. with their Super Mario Sunshine appearance, although they only appear in World 2-1. In this game, a Pokey can only be defeated by shooting fireballs at its body segments, rolling over it with Shell Mario, or by crushing the cactus monster as Mega Mario. If they are hit in the head, they get defeated instantly. Without these power-ups, Mario must attempt to jump over the Pokeys. Some Pokeys have over ten body segments, requiring Mario to use special platforms to jump over these tall creatures.
Super Mario Galaxy
Pokeys also appear in Super Mario Galaxy. A single red Pokey appears in the Dusty Dune Galaxy. It attacks by trying to crush Mario, similar to in Super Mario Sunshine, except that now it doesn't get stuck in the ground. It can be defeated by destroying all its body segments by Spinning, or jumping on its head. Pokey Heads also appear, but now they are green. A Mega Pokey with a more traditional appearance is seen in the Good Egg Galaxy and the Dusty Dune Galaxy. These giant Pokeys can only be defeated by throwing a Coconut at their body, and then jumping on or spinning the head. Pokeys still use their Super Mario Sunshine appearance in this game. In Super Mario Galaxy 2, only Pokey Heads reappear.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Pokeys appear in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, although this time, they have spikes on their heads instead of a flower and remain in this appearance ever since, like in the predecessor, they only appear in one level, that level being World 2-5. In this game, Yoshi can eat them one section at a time, as in Super Mario World, but eating the head defeats them instantly. Fire Flowers again are effective, and the Ice Flower can freeze them. At every vocal "bah" in the music, Pokeys will turn into an alternate non-spiked form, making each body segment resemble an orange. Yoshi can eat an entire Pokey instantly in this form, and if he does so, he will lay an egg with a power-up insides, depending on how many segments the pokey had: 1-3 segments will give the player 3 coins, 4 segments will give the player a Super Mushroom, 5-6 segments give a Fire Flower, and 7 or more gives a 1-Up Mushroom. However, even in their non-spiked form, Mario still cannot safely jump on them, while Yoshi still bounces off them.
Super Mario 3D Land
Pokeys are seen in desert or canyon areas in Super Mario 3D Land, where they usually appear in groups of two or five. They look as they did in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. To destroy them, Mario can hit them with a Super Star or use his Boomerang, Fire, or Tanooki forms to knock out one segment at a time; however, Mario can't jump on them without becoming Statue Mario because they are spiky.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Pokeys reappear in New Super Mario Bros. 2, behaving the same way as in the previous games, except they do not turn into their non-spiked fruit-like forms like in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, since Yoshi does not appear in the game.
New Super Mario Bros. U
Pokeys reappear in New Super Mario Bros. U. They are found in Perilous Pokey Cave and once again turn into their fruit segments. Pokeys have the ability to stand on the ceiling without falling off. Also, Mega Pokeys appear in Morton Koopa Jr.'s battle, who uses his hammer to knock segments into Mario's path.
Super Mario 3D World
In the Mario Kart series, these Pokeys reoccur a few times.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Mario Kart DS
Mario Kart Wii
In Mario Kart Wii the Pokeys appear in the Dry Dry Ruins course and also in the retro course, Desert Hills, for the Nintendo DS. The effect on the character when hitting the Pokey is also the same as the previous two. Shells and Bob-ombs will defeat them temporarily.
Paper Mario series
There are many Pokeys around in the deserts of Paper Mario. They follow Mario when they see him, and may prove a challenging adversary. Another species of Pokey, Mummy Pokey, appears in Tutankoopa's tomb.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
Both types of Pokeys return in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Pokey Mummny's name is now changed to Poison Pokey). Aside from the Pit of 100 Trials, regular Pokeys are only seen in the Glitz Pit and Poison Pokeys are only seen at Riverside Station.
Super Paper MarioBoth Pokeys once again return in Super Paper Mario. Regular ones are found in the Gap of Craig and the Poison ones are found in Castle Bleck. They act the same by launching their body segments from its distance trying to damage Mario and company.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Regular Pokeys are seen in World 2 of Paper Mario: Sticker Star. An extremely large version of a Pokey appears at the end as the World's main boss. This Pokey has a massive 300 HP and requires the Bat Thing sticker to easily take it down. There is also green Pokeys that appear on certain levels of World 2. The biggest difference they have from the regular yellow Pokeys is that the green Pokeys do not have spikes.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Pokeys live in the Gritzy Desert. They start out as Pokey Heads with pink flowers, but when engaged in battle, a Pokey grows additional body segments. In battle, a Pokey rams into a Mario brother to attack. The body segments can be knocked away with the Hammer. This makes the Pokey shorter (allowing the Mario Bros. to jump over it). The Pokey can also launch its body segments at the Mario Bros. To counter this attack, the Baby Bros. should hit the body segments with their Hammers. The Pokey jumps normally when hitting Mario and spins once when hitting Luigi. A Pokey can also spin its body and shoot spines at the Mario Bros. The Pokey spins the individual body part to the brother it will attack. The brothers have to jump to dodge them. In this game, only attacks to the head can damage a Pokey. Pokeys in this game use their Super Mario Sunshine appearance. The Skellokey, a new sub-species of Pokeys, also appears in the game.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Pokeys appear in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam in Doop Doop Dunes. While they don't initially appear on Mario, Luigi and Paper Mario's first visit, they begin to show up on their second visit. On their first visit, however, a Big Pokey appears as a boss alongside Paper Tower Power Pokey.
In Other Games
Super Mario Maker 2
In Super Mario Maker 2, Pokey was added in the game's update 2.0, it works like Super Mario World, except that it can be hit by fireballs and Yoshi can swallow multiple parts of that enemy. Its appearance on the theme of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 is green instead of yellow (like the Super Mario Bros. 2: Mario Madness Pokey). In the ice theme, he turns into Snow Pokey. And in the night theme, he can fly.