Pikmin Bloom is a great Nintendo game without them
Released globally on iOS and Android, Pikmin Bloom is Niantic’s next game to take ownership and expand Something around him that involves GPS. Originally based on Ingress, a location-based game that had you claiming the land for your team, the studio followed it up with Pokemon Go, which has – to date – generated billions in revenue.
It’s so popular that they hold real live events for people to attend every year, and actively encourage travel by hiding Pokemon in various countries.
Niantic hasn’t been successful across the board, as the Harry Potter-based game will actually be shut down next year. This was announced quite in sync with the release of Pikmin Bloom, which led to a choice tweet that made me laugh.
Pikmin Bloom is gorgeous. Like maybe it’s a game and is more in the virtual pets section than Pokemon Go’s development into a battle-focused game, but no video game can match its level quirky charm that comes from the Pikmin themselves.
The noises, alien music and general happiness that ensues when you see them fidgeting around waiting to do something is great to watch, but what about actually playing the game?
Well, “playing” can mean a lot of things, but like I said, it’s a game rather than a full game. It could become something more, but aside from using basic Pikmin concepts (you have to order your team to go pick up fruit or seeds scattered around the map), it rarely involves doing anything else. than to walk. It’s a pedometer. A really fancy pedometer where you can watch your Mii frolic through virtual flowers.
I think what Niantic has done here is actually create one of the most Nintendo products without a lot of their input. Although Miyamoto may have appeared in the trailer as a consultant, I don’t really think Nintendo handled much else. It’s the first Nintendo, a unique take on something that already exists or makes you wonder why it exists, then digs that thought into “why do I like it?”
The reason I love this thing so much isn’t just how cute it is, but how innocent it is. There are microtransactions galore, but a few days later – and plenty of mobile games behind me – I can already tell this isn’t one you have to pour money into. It’s unobtrusive and hangs around in the background, only telling you when things are growing, what the weather might be like, or to do the daily 9pm ‘before bed’ roundup.
It’s a secondary companion that has the same energy as a Wii Fit, Wii Sports, or even the newer Labo, a game that let you craft cardboard contraptions for your Switch.
Seeing the Pikmin drift off into the distance, eventually returning with a postcard of where they’ve been and an included group photo gives me that warm feeling while dodging the people on the damp streets of Manchester. It’s a thing that brightens up the day when you need it most.
Sometimes you just need a bit of Nintendo nonsense – which they take very seriously – to cheer you up and I think that’s what Pikmin Bloom is. You stare at it for a few minutes throughout the day, then go about your business, while contributing to the overall goal of planting as many flowers as you have received from your Pikmin as you can.
It’s silly, but it’s quintessential Nintendo and they barely touched it.