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The Pokey as it appears in Super Mario Galaxy.
First appearance Super Mario Bros. 2 (1987)
(Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic)
Latest appearance Mario Party Superstars (2021)
Notable members
Pokey Triplets
Tower Power Pokey
Not to be confused with Porky.
“I am Pokey, guardian of this desert.”
Pokey, Mario Party Advance

A Pokey is a cactus enemy that is composed of three to five spherical body segments. To defeat a Pokey, typically each body section must be destroyed. Pokeys, along with Shy Guys, Bob-ombs, and Birdo, originate from the non-Mario game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, which later became Super Mario Bros. 2.

Pokeys also appear in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Island DS, but with different English names (much like Cheep-Cheep). Blow Hard, Cactus Jack, and Spiked Fun Guy are all of the Pokey family.


Super Mario series

Super Mario Bros. 2

Two Pokey designs from Super Mario All-Stars (from left to right): one from Super Mario Bros. 2 and one from Super Mario World.

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

Although absent in Super Mario Bros. 3, Pokeys reappear in Super Mario World. This time, Pokeys are yellow and cannot be defeated in the same way as in Super Mario Bros. 2. Throwing a shell or a Grab Block at them defeats them all at once. Mario and Luigi can also defeat a Pokey by sliding up or down a hill at the cactus. Another option is to defeat them with Yoshi, who can 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. Pokeys only appear in the Special World level "Groovy", and Yoshi's Island 4 in a secret area. Also, in Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2, 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 64 / Super Mario 64 DS

A few Pokeys appear in Shifting Sand Land in the game Super Mario 64 and its remake. 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 fall apart. They give Blue Coins when defeated. If Mario gets hit by a Pokey, he will lose two wedges of health. In the remake, they have their Super Mario Sunshine appearance.

Super Mario Sunshine

A Pokey in Super Mario Sunshine in the level Bianco Hills.

A smaller variety of Pokeys called Pokey Sprouts appear in Super Mario Sunshine as well as Pokeys themselves. They both now have flowers on their heads. 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. 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.

New Super Mario Bros.

Pokeys only appear in World 2-1 in New Super Mario Bros., with their Super Mario Sunshine look. 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. Also, the Mummipokey, an undead Pokey, appears as the World 2 boss.

Super Mario Galaxy

Pokeys also appear in Super Mario Galaxy. They are now red, and appear in the Dusty Dune Galaxy. They attack by trying to crush Mario, similar to in Super Mario Sunshine, except that now they don't get stuck in the ground. They can be defeated by destroying all their body segments by Spinning, or jumping on their head when they are low enough. Pokey Sprouts also appear, but now they are green. There are also Giant Pokeys, appearing in the Good Egg Galaxy and the Dusty Dune Galaxy. These Giant Pokeys can only be defeated by sending a Coconut at its body and then jumping on or spinning its head.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

A group of Pokeys in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, 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. Whenever a "bah" is heard 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 inside, 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 Mushrooms, 5-6 segments give a Fire Flower, and 7 or more gives an 1-Up Mushroom. However, even in their non-spiked form, Mario still cannot safely jump on them.

Pokeys only appear in World 2-5. Unlike their most recent appearances, in this game, a Pokey's head has spikes instead of a flower. The spiked head become the regular form for almost all Pokeys after New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Super Mario 3D Land

Two Pokeys in a desert level in Super Mario 3D Land.

Pokeys are seen in an area of Super Mario 3D Land, where they move above sinking sand. They look similar to their New Super Mario Bros. Wii appearance. 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. Because it is covered in spikes, Mario can't jump on them without being Statue Mario. They usually appear in groups of two or five, and are found in desert levels.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Pokeys reappear in New Super Mario Bros. 2, behaving the same was 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 in New Super Mario Bros. U.
A Still Pokey.

Pokeys reappear in New Super Mario Bros. U. Like always, they are found in desert levels and once again turn into their fruit segments. Also, giant Pokeys appear in Morton Koopa Jr's battle, who uses his hammer to knock segments into Mario's path.

Super Mario 3D World

Although Pokeys don't appear in Super Mario 3D World, a sub-species called the Snow Pokey appears in Super Mario 3D World. They behave very similarly except they're found in snow areas instead of deserts.

The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!

A Pokey as it appears in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!.

Pokeys were seen infrequently on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, where they typically appeared in episodes which had a Western setting or took place in a desert, often appearing as antagonists. On the show, Pokeys were portrayed as being capable of speaking, making themselves resemble ordinary cacti to blend in, and they also possessed primitive, arm-like protrusions.

Nintendo Adventure Books

In Dinosaur Dilemma, some Pokeys gang up on Mario and Yoshi as they are traveling through a desert, and succeed in separating the two by knocking Mario into a hole, before wandering off. In the next book, Flown the Koopa, some Pokeys wander onto the path Mario, Luigi, Toad and the Mushroom King are using to get to the International Dino-Flying Derby, but Mario knocks them aside with his plunger.

The Legend of Zelda series

Pokeys made appearances in some of the The Legend of Zelda series, including The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. They lived in the desert regions on Koholint Island and in the desert regions of Holodrum. Link could easily defeat a Pokey by slashing each of its body segments off with a sword.

Paper Mario series

Paper Mario

Paper Mario Enemy
Max HP 4
Attack 2
Defense 0
Location(s) Dry Dry Desert

Moves Body Throw (2), Call (summons another Pokey)
This is Pokey, an evil cactus. Pokeys attack by throwing parts of their bodies or by coming close and falling on you. Be careful fighting them! It'll hurt if you jump on their spiky heads! They also have an annoying habit of calling in reinforcements. Let's beat 'em quickly!

In the Paper Mario series, Pokey has a new look of less spikes and the head segment somewhat resembles a cat. In the game Paper Mario, Pokeys gain a few new abilities. Pokeys can now use their body segments as projectiles, launching them to attack opponents. Pokeys also gain the ability to summon other Pokeys, which rise from the ground when called for. Also, a new variety of Pokey is introduced: the Pokey Mummy. When it is defeated by Mario, the player sometimes obtains a Dried Fruit.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Enemy
Max HP 4
Attack 3
Defense 0
Location(s) Glitz Pit, Pit of 100 Trials (rooms 11-19)
Log A cactus ghoul covered from head to base in nasty spines. It attacks by lobbing sections of itself at you, and can even call other Pokeys to fight alongside it.
Items HP Drain, Earth Quake, Mr. Softener, Life Shroom, Tasty Tonic (drop only)
Moves Slam (2), Body Throw (3), Pull (summons Pokey), Bonk (4 (uses it when it loses all its body segments))
That's a Pokey. It's a cactus ghoul that's got nasty spines all over its body. Max HP is 4, Attack is 3, and Defense is 0. Look at those spines... Those would TOTALLY hurt. If you stomp on it, you'll regret it. Pokeys attack by lobbing parts of their bodies and by charging at you... They can even call friends in for help, so be quick about taking them out.
53           54           55

Pokeys also appear in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. A team of three Pokeys, known as the Pokey Triplets, are a fighting team in the Glitz Pit. Pokeys also appear in the game's Pit of 100 Trials. In this game, they attack by slamming the player, doing 2 damage, but they can also throw their body segments like in the previous Paper Mario game, doing 3 damage. When a Pokey loses all its body segments, it attacks by bonking into the player, doing 4 damage, so it's better to defeat them before they lose all their body segments. The game introduces a new sub-species of Pokey, the Poison Pokey, that appears in Riverside Station. Pokeys are unique in this game in that performing a Superguard on a thrown body segment will send it back to the Pokey, doing the same amount of damage to it as it would have done to Mario.

Super Paper Mario

Super Paper Mario Enemy
Max HP 6
Attack 2
Location(s) Gap of Crag, Flipside Pit of 100 Trials
Card Type Common
Card Description
This cactus column wanders in the desert wasteland. When it attacks, it hurls parts of itself at you. Literally. Which is kind of sad, really.
That precarious cactus is a Pokey. It has a Max HP of 6. Attack is 2... Unlike other cacti, this one can move. Is it a plant or an animal? Nobody knows... This prickly beast will throw pieces of itself at you... It's very unpleasant... It's covered in spines, so you better not touch it or pick it up...
List of Catch Cards
65           66           67

Pokeys appear in Super Paper Mario in places such as Gap of Crag. They attack by throwing their body segments, like in the previous Paper Mario games. When they lose all of their body segments, they attack by just hopping towards Mario or his allies. The Poison Pokeys from the predecessor also appear, and they appear in places including Castle Bleck and the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials. A new sub-species is introduced, the Dark Pokeys, that only appears in the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials. Pokeys drop Horsetails sometimes when defeated.

Tippi is not sure whether Pokeys are plants or animals.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Enemy
Max HP 20/16
Attack 6
Defense 0
Location(s) Drybake Desert, Yoshi Sphinx, Sandshifter Ruins, Damp Oasis, Drybake Stadium
Moves Topple (6)

Pokeys reappear once again in Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS. Both regular yellow Pokeys, using their current design from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and a green variety, more closely resembling their original appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2, appear. The green variety can be jumped on, while the spiked variety can't be jumped on, unless an Iron Jump sticker is used. The green Pokey has 20 HP while the spiked ones have 16 HP. Rather than throwing their body segments like the previous games, these Pokeys attack by toppling on top of Mario. Each time a Pokey loses a body segment, its attack goes down. Tower Power Pokey, a Pokey corrupted by a Royal Sticker, serves as the boss of the second world.

As shown in early builds of this game, the Sticker Star Pokeys were originally going to retain their previous appearance from past Paper Mario games, with no changes.

Mario Kart series

Pokeys also appear in the Mario Kart series. They first appear in Dry Dry Desert in the game Mario Kart Double Dash!!. They later return in Desert Hills in the game Mario Kart DS. Lastly, they appeared in Mario Kart Wii in the Dry Dry Ruins course.

Additionally, a giant Pokey appears in the Thwomp Desert as part of October 2008's 1st competition in Mario Kart Wii. There, players had to defeat it by throwing Bob-ombs. Pokeys also appeared in Mario Raceway as part of November 2008's 2nd competition. Oddly, the player faces another giant Pokey for September 2009's 2nd competition. Pokeys can be defeated by Green Shells.

Mario Party series

Pokeys appear in the Mario Party series since the third installment, and have mostly been featured in minigames throughout the series.

In Mario Party 3, Pokeys make an background appearance in the party board Spiny Desert.

In Mario Party 5, though Pokeys don't actually make an appearance in the game, there is a weapon called the Pokey Tower Gun.

A Pokey appears as the guardian of Pokey Desert, a part of the Desert Area of Shroom City, found in the game Mario Party Advance. When the player decides to stop in the desert, they will have to accept Pokey's quest, Mysterious Riddles, which involves answering his three riddles correctly. If the player succeeds, Pokey will reward them with the Gaddget, Tap-Tap Sumo. The ending of the game states the Pokey created a new riddle, one which many consider his best ever.

In Mario Party 6, Pokeys serve as the main objective in the minigame, Pokey Punch-out, where players are required to punch out the body parts to win. The Pokeys in this game look different than usual.

In Mario Party 7, Pokeys serve once again as the objective in a similar minigame, Pokey Pummel. The players must dismantle the body parts with a hammer to win. Three Pokeys also made an appearance in the background in Pyramid Park.

Mario Golf: Advance Tour

In Mario Golf: Advance Tour, a Pokey appears in Dunes Club Practice Center. The player must shoot three shots at him to earn a Custom Ticket B.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time

Partners in Time Enemy
Location(s) Gritzy Desert
HP 56
Power 66
Defense 55
Speed 54
Experience 36
Coins 10
Related Skellokey

In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Pokeys live in the Gritzy Desert. They start out as Pokey Sprouts 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. The Skellokey, a new variety of Pokeys, also appears in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.

Super Princess Peach

Pokeys also re-appear in Super Princess Peach. In this game, Pokeys are always of three segments and a flower (including the head), and only appear in Wavy Beach. They are resistant to Perry, so they could only be defeated with Rage or Poundbrella. There are also colorful Pokeys, known as Mad Pokeys, that are simply angry Pokeys that stretched vertically to block Princess Peach from passing them by.


For this subject's image gallery, see Pokey/gallery.

Names in Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese サンボ
From 「サボテン」 saboten (cactus)
Chinese 奇怪的仙人掌
qíguài de xiānrénzhǎng
Strange cactus
French Pokey -
German Pokey -
Italian Marghibruco Portmanteau of margherita (daisy) and bruco (caterpillar)
Korean 선인
From "선인장"(Seoninjang) meaning cactus
Portuguese Catubola From "cacto" (cactus) and "bola" (ball)
Spanish Pokey -


  • A viral (yet forgotten) story told by a young fan in 2008 had Pokeys named Take-Head to the Hotels. It was stated in the story that they like to take their heads to the "Hotel" with their mother saying "You can't take your head to the hotel every day!" And the Pokey begging her to let him.
    • An extension to the story in April 2009 revealed that the Pokeys' Mother was a Mad Pokey from Super Princess Peach.