The creators of Pokémon GO are hoping for a blooming great success with a brand new augmented reality game based on the gentle Pikmin series.
Unlike Pokémon GO, the goal here isn’t to catch as many different Pikmin as possible – there are only seven types to begin with – but rather for players to virtually beautify the world around them while interacting with their new plant-like pals.
Niantic says that “the most important thing in Pikmin Bloom is your daily walk”, with players collecting Pikmin seedlings as they go. Walking with Pikmin causes flowers to bloom in players’ wakes, and feeding Pikmin nectar from fruits that can be collected in-game causes new flowers to bloom from their heads, which can be plucked and planted to create more unique plants to grow.
At the end of each day, players can review their journeys, recapping the routes they took, and add notes and photos to a journal Niantic is calling a “lifelog”. Pikmin friends “may also bring back postcards of the places you visited, which can be saved and kept, or sent to friends in the app”, which sounds like an equivalent to the gift system in Pokémon GO.
“Collectively, all the players of Pikmin Bloom will literally be transforming the world, together,” said Niantic co-founder John Hanke, in his introduction to the game.
Introducing himself as “the creator of Pikmin and Super Mario’s dad” in the video above, Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto said that “helping this app take shape has been a new experience and lots of fun,” and that he hopes “everyone will be able to create lasting memories together with Pikmin.”
Pikmin first appeared on the Nintendo GameCube in 2001, created and produced by Miyamoto. Loosely considered strategy games, the series follows explorer Captain Olimar, an explorer whose spaceship crashes on a strange world, but finds he can control groups of the curious creatures he meets to help him recover his spaceship parts – an idea based on Miyamoto observing ants working together in his garden.
As with Pokémon GO, Niantic says it is planning “a monthly Community Day event” for Pikmin Bloom, where players can “stroll, plant and play together with other players”. Unlike its successful predecessor, there appears to be no competitive element in the game, and no sign of the threats or predators Pikmin would have to face in the console games.
It seems the overall idea is for a more relaxing AR gaming experience than Niantic’s other games, leaning heavily on cooperative community activities and cute interactions with the Pikmin themselves.
In other news, Persona composer Shoji Meguro has left developer Atlus to become an indie developer, but will still contribute to Atlus titles on a freelance basis, while The Sims 4 is getting new updates called “scenarios”, starting next week.