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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

So... how is Pikmin Bloom fun?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I don't get where the fun part is after reading about it.

As was announced eight months ago, Nintendo and Niantic have released a mobile application called Pikmin Bloom. You can learn more about it in this announcement video, which includes a trailer:

If it feels like you came away from that video not really knowing what you'd be doing, that's because this isn't actually a game. It's an app designed to suck your data and get you to download fitness apps like Google Fit. As you walk around with your network-connected smartphone, you'll accumulate steps, which will provide energy for you to pluck Pikmin (of which there are all seven kinds represented) to join your squad. Pikmin in your squad can collect nectar from fruits (as part of the app, not real fruit) which can get the Pikmin's leafy heads to turn into flower petal heads. It seems like you can collect those petals and plant augmented flowers on your route to beautify your area. You're connected to the network because you'll be able to encounter other people's flowering efforts for up to five days.

You're also supposed to take a lot of pictures for fun.

I suppose it's important to note that you don't have to look at your phone as you're planting flowers. You can just walk. But you'll need it open to collect the flower petals to begin with, and also to do things like beat up big mushrooms for challenges to collect items. You can also just buy in-app purchases with premium real-world money. Why would you? No idea.

Pikmin Bloom planting flowers on the road
Not in this trailer is this disclaimer,
“There are some areas, such as roads and waterways, where players can’t plant flowers due to safety and other considerations.”

Since it was a question I had when this was announced, it seems like the only Pikmin characters in this are the Pikmin. No creatures (or Piklopedia), no captains. You (in Mii form), flowers, Pikmin. The closest thing to a Piklopedia are... postcards of real locations you visit, which are photos sourced from Ingress and Pokémon GO players, though not Pikmin Bloom players. You can get postcards by sending Pikmin on expeditions, which are another free way to get items (and by items, I mean fruits and seedlings where you can get more Pikmin). ...That's very far from a Piklopedia.

Niantic is promising monthly Community Day events, where you're supposed to befriend other players and walk about. Maybe they'll add challenges based on Pikmin creatures like Bulborbs instead of fighting generic mushrooms.

If you're in Australia or Singapore, you can already download Pikmin Bloom for free. If you live in other places, you'll have to wait. Not for long, I'd think. Still, while you wait, maybe you can explain to me what's fun about anything I wrote above. You got to be the type of person who would get a real kick out of seeing augmented flowers on the map while you're walking. I don't think I would get a kick out of that. Unlike, say, Pokémon GO and its gyms, there's no potential for permanence or dominance (to brag about) either, since the flowers will expire in under a week after they're planted, anyway. So if you really wanted to get clever with your design, you... won't get anywhere with marking that territory. That's great for keeping the walking replayable week after week, but I struggle to find the reason why you'd start at all with this. Doesn't seem worth the sucked battery life and data costs and all that.

As I've written since, walking isn't inherently unfun or anything to begin with, and the problems walking has (like mean barking dogs, things to bump into, dangerous traffic) could only get worse when you involve a smartphone. I also think it's a waste of the Pikmin IP in general.

Let Ludwig know why he's wrong in the comments section, or you could agree with him. Will you try Pikmin Bloom when it's available in your area? One important thing to note is that it's yet another thing that wasted Shigeru Miyamoto's time, and it's better that he spends his time on trivial things like smartphone apps, amusement parks, and movies as oppposed to real videogames that matter.


  1. So you use pikmin to plant flowers, and then the flowers make you wanna walk to get more pikmin to get more flowers.

    Hmmm, this sounds like a pyramid scheme!

    A pikmin game is a great idea, but this is not the way to go. I’m not too into AR anyway, has anyone ever used the AR box “app” on the 3Ds more than once?

    1. Game designers call it a gameplay loop!

      I can't actually see the stereoscopic 3D, so the 3DS's apps were useless to me.

  2. It is pretty pointless indeed. Also the big flowers (Gyms in Pokemon Go) are useless. Visiting them when they are closed doesnt get you anywhere (like pokestops) There is no goal in this game: you can collect pikmin decor but that is just chance and you can't do anything with it, not like trying to find special pokemons. So not really collection-building, not challenging, not anything really....just cute.

  3. I think it is dumb that they require Google Fit. Why can't I use any other fit app (e.g. Fitbit)?


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