A Sublevel is a floor in a cave found in Pikmin 2. The fourteen caves in the game all contain two to fifteen sublevels. Upon entering the cave, Olimar and Louie will fall into the sublevel with their Pikmin. To progress, the two captains must find the hole that leads down to the next sublevel. A geyser is always found on the final sublevel, often accompanied by a boss. Geysers are also found at intervals throughout the more challenging caves, such as the Subterranean Complex and Submerged Castle. These geysers allow Olimar and Louie to return to the surface of PNF-404.
The game contains a variety of sublevel types, in terms of both appearance and function. To start, there are three main types of sublevels: normal sublevels, rest sublevels and boss sublevels. Each type of sublevel presents a variation in terms of challenge and gameplay. For example, rest sublevels contain only harmless enemies, Candypop Buds and eggs as to serve as a place to recover from past challenges and to prepare for future struggles. Sublevels can vary from floating platforms, more seemingly underground, cave-like areas, or wide open spaces in the style of the Brawl Yard, which would at first glance appear to be above ground.