Pikmin Bloom, a new game from Pokemon Go creator Niantic, began its global launch, releasing in Australia and Singapore before gradually becoming available around the world.
The app is a joint project with Nintendo and was first announced in March. It will be available on Google Play and the App Store, developers say, “over the coming days”.
“We experimented with a variety of different gameplay types and different characters with Nintendo,” Niantic chief executive John Hanke is quoted saying by The Verge. “And after a lot of experimentation and discussion, we settled on Pikmin as the perfect vehicle to express what Nintendo does well and what Niantic does well in a single game.”
Much like its predecessor, Pikmin Bloom requires the player to go out and about to collect the colourful plant creatures known as Pikmin. They will have to find the seeds first, planting them in their in-game backpack for them to grow. The player has to feed and walk the Pikmin to make them blossom. Once they bloom, the player can collect their flower petals to leave behind a trail in their path for other players to see.
An in-game feature allows the player to keep track of how much they've walked, the places they visited and the Pikmin collected, rendering a video at the end of the day that serves as a highlight reel. Players can even give their own twist to the videos by adding images and notes. An AR mode will also project the player's Pikmin friends around them.
Pikmin Bloom comes two decades after the original Pikmin puzzle game introduced the plant critters to the world. Whether the game proves to be as trendsetting as Pokemon Go remains to be seen. There have been many lacklustre attempts at repeating Pokemon Go’s success, including a game set in the Harry Potter universe.
Pikmin Bloom will be the next big experiment in real-world AR games, testing the viability of the genre beyond Pokemon Go.