Released on: October 28 2021
Available Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free (Has microtransactions)
It’s hard to deny the impact Pokemon Go had on the world the year it came out. In an amazing turn of events, Pokemon took the world by storm again! It even made the ones who scarcely left the house get out and exercise. Some people went to places they really shouldn’t have, but in a game of this scale, some people are bound to take things too far. Despite Pokemon Go’s massive success, it was not Niantic’s first foray into GPS based mobile game, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. They tried recreating the Pokemon Go magic twice after. The first was a Harry Potter game that didn’t take off. The other is today’s subject: Pikmin Bloom.
I don’t recall having as many fond memories of Pikmin as I did with other GameCube titles. At the time, I didn’t take to the gameplay. I would probably enjoy it more today if I were to give it an honest chance. I never really got around to it. As for Pikmin Bloom, I knew the game would play nothing like the original since it’s a Pokemon Go-esque game and all. Still, it piqued my curiosity enough to get me to download the game. Is Pikmin Bloom worth planting in the garden?
Since Pikmin Bloom has no story per se, I will give a brief rundown on what Pikmin are for the unaware. Pikmin are alien creatures that grow like plants. Once the budding Pikmin are ready to be picked, they will sprout a leaf. Once harvested, they will follow those that picked them with fealty. Depending on their color, Pikmin can either be immune to fire, resist electricity, swim, be super strong, be poisonous, or even fly. Most Pikmin are fragile, perish quickly, and are weak, which is why having an army of them at one’s side is optimal.
While I didn’t care much for the original game, I always liked the idea of Pikmin. Being able to grow an army is a neat idea. This is what attracted me to Pikmin Bloom. Being able to walk around with a posse of Pikmin sounded cool.
Those who are familiar with Pokemon Go will know precisely what Pikmin Bloom’s presentation looks like. In fact, for the casual onlooker, it looks exactly like Pokemon Go, only without the Pokemon. The most significant difference, though with Pikmin Bloom, is that it uses Nintendo’s avatars, the Mii, to represent the player. The player can make their Mii from scratch or import them from their My Nintendo account if they have one. While Miis are not everyone’s cup of tea, I personally like them.
Pikmin Bloom’s gameplay is somehow less involved than Pokemon Go. Pikmin Bloom emphasizes tracking the player’s steps rather than having the player look at their phone to collect things. Sure, there are many things to collect, but the player can do that when they are safe and stationary without hassle. However, to grow more Pikmin, the player will need to walk a certain number of steps depending on the kind of Pikmin they are growing. Once they reach the required amount of steps, they can add the Pikmin to their squad or send them on expeditions to collect objects.
The objects that the Pikmin bring back generate nectar, food for the Pikmin. When the player feeds the Pikmin, their friendship level goes up, it will grow a flower on its head and give the player some of its pedals. The player uses those pedals to plant flowers when they go walking. Planting flowers will generate coins that the player can use to buy things at the shop.
As a game, Pikmin Bloom’s offering is feeble. There isn’t much of anything to do or even look at. As a pedometer, however, Pikmin Blooms has much more to offer. Since it uses Google Fit to track the player’s steps when the game is closed, any kind of exercise will grant the player rewards for Pikmin Bloom. Their Pikmin will grow, and their flowers will keep planting, generating more coins. I feel this will entice those who like walking/running more than those looking for an actual game.
As the player grows Pikmin, racks up steps and completes expeditions, they will level up. This grants the player temporary extra planting pods to grow more Pikmin, gives them rare Pikmin bulbs, and even unlocks more features. It is nice to have some incentive to keep playing.
Pikmin Bloom is much more casual than Pokemon Go in that there is hardly anything competitive about it. Players can plant flowers together when they walk or even destroy rogue mushrooms together, which gives them more rewards. That’s about all there is with Pikmin Bloom’s multiplayer. Pikmin Bloom even incorporates Pokemon Go’s gym locations by having them be giant flowers that players can bloom by walking around them. Beyond making the player’s Pikmin grow faster, the big blooming flower doesn’t do much.
Ding ding ding! It’s the microtransaction alarm! Pikmin Bloom’s microtransactions are measly, however. The best thing the player can get by paying real money is inventory upgrades, which they realistically don’t need. While I’m at it, the shop offers little incentive to collect coins, as it offers nothing notable.
I guess it’s for the best that the shop is meager since collecting coins in Pikmin Bloom is agonizingly slow. I’m on my second week with the game, and I’ve collected a whopping five coins! That gets me nothing at the store! I could buy coins with real money, but not only would that defeat any incentive to play the game, but there is also nothing I want in the store to warrant such a purchase.
Pikmin Bloom is a game that the player can ignore for most of the day and still play it optimally. The best way to play it is to turn on the flower planting mode, lock the screen, and go for a walk. Those looking for a deep Pikmin experience will be disappointed with Pikmin Bloom, but for those who want a fancy walking buddy, they can do far worse than Pikmin Bloom.