Pikmin Bloom Lets You Beautify The World In A New Game From Pokemon Go Devs

The next collaboration between Niantic and Nintendo stars the colorful Pikmin crew.


Nintendo and Niantic are reconnecting with nature as the two companies have announced their next mobile app, Pikmin Bloom, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Nintendo's nature-based franchise.

The game sees players enter a world of lush green earth, one where Pikmin can sprout and grow via the player's steps. Pikmin are grown from Seedlings, which are "planted" into a special slot in the player's backpack so steps can be registered. Each Pikmin takes 1,000 steps to sprout, after which they can be pulled and become part of the player's Pikmin squad. You can also name each Pikmin you pull, a first for the franchise that gives an extra bit of personality to your Pikmin.

After pulling a team of Pikmin, players will feed their new companions Nectar, taken from fruit the creatures find in their travels. Once flowers bloom on Pikmin's heads, Petals can be collected and used to generate flowers on any walking path the player takes. Walking on these paths allow your team of Pikmin to both find fruit and grow new Pikmin at a faster rate. The game's AR functionality will bring your squad of Pikmin into the real world, posing them for unique AR photo capabilities.

During a conference call attended by GameSpot, Niantic CEO John Hanke called it an app "designed for people all around the world," one that aims to "make your time outside more fun and enjoyable." He also revealed the idea for Pikmin Bloom came after Niantic experimented with "a variety of gameplay types and characters from Nintendo," ultimately landing on Pikmin as the best choice for a smartphone app.

All known Pikmin types will be included in the game: red, blue, yellow, purple, white, gray, and pink. When asked about the potential of new Pikmin types coming to Pikmin Bloom, Madoka Katayama--a design director at Niantic's Tokyo studio--commented that for now the existing Pikmin can find costume pieces to wear during a walk, but original Pikmin types are not currently planned at this stage.

Pikmin will find those items not only while the player walks but also on Expeditions, which see the player send out Pikmin to areas previously visited in order to find items and other perks. When viewing the map a player can simply tap on an item as it appears, select some Pikmin to go retrieve it, and then send them off. There is a possibility that Pikmin sent out will not return, but they will either become seedlings once again or "reborn" in some other way. As Katayama described it, "we don't use the term 'death.'"

Photo courtesy of Niantic and Nintendo.
Photo courtesy of Niantic and Nintendo.

The briefing also revealed the Life Log, an in-game record that shows daily steps, Pikmin sprouted, flowers grown, and more daily and weekly statistics. The game will also use "postcards" found by Pikmin at locations passed during a walk, or pull from the phone's photo roll (if given permission), and assign a postcard or picture to each day's log. These photos serve as a reminder of the day's activities, letting players relive each day they play the game.

"These are the little memories that so often get lost," Katayama said, "and what Pikmin Bloom does is package them up into little treasures that you can look back on whenever you wish." When asked about exporting logs back to your phone Katayama explained there isn't a way to do that yet, but the team is working on a way to share them with friends.

That's not the only notable omission, as other creatures from the Pikmin universe--like Bulborbs and Snagrets--are not yet part of the new experience. Katayama revealed that the other fauna from Pikmin are hinted at throughout the game, but "we wanted to get the foundation of the Pikmin experience into the app before adding any other types of characters." She did, however, acknowledge that those characters could be added down the road, but "in the short-term there are no plans."

Pikmin Bloom is rolling out in select markets beginning October 26. The game is available on both iOS and Android devices.

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