Niantic Labs’ videogames continually focus on getting players out and about and back in March the company announced a new project in conjunction with Nintendo based on its Pikmin franchise. Today, the pair have begun the global rollout of Pikmin Bloom, a colourful augmented reality-capable experience all about building up a squad of Pikmin simply by walking.
Offering a much more casual, combat free experience in comparison to Niantic Labs’ other AR titles, Pikmin Bloom is all about nurturing these tiny plant-like creatures which have appeared in several Nintendo videogames. To do this players need to walk, finding Pikmin seedlings along their path which can then be picked, adding to the Pikmin entourage. All the Pikmin will follow the player making flowers bloom on their journey.
When players take their daily stroll they’ll need to collect fruits along the way to feed their Pikmin, in turn making beautiful flowers bloom atop their heads. Their petals can then be collected and planted to create even more flowers with each step, unleashing a cascading effect of colour. That’s not the only interactive element, players will be able to utilise their red, yellow, blue and more Pikmin to remove giant mushrooms to gain more fruit.
As you may have realised, fitness is an integral part of the experience. Pikmin Bloom will have basic pedometer functionality, recording the number of steps players take as well as the routes they walked. Building upon that healthy lifestyle image they can add notes and photos to a lifelog, take pics with the Pikmin who can also bring back postcards of the places players have visited, shared with friends in the app.
Whilst Pikmin Bloom is a free app Niantic Labs monetizing the title with in-game purchases, selling booster items to enhance the experience. There will also be monthly Community Day events.
Pikmin Bloom is available to download for iOS and Android devices on the App Store and Google Play respectively in Australia and Singapore, to begin with. Other regions will slowly be incorporated as Niantic Labs expands the launch. For continued updates on the latest AR projects, keep reading VRFocus.