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Nintendo’s latest mobile game is Pikmin Bloom. The publisher partnered with Pokémon Go studio Niantic to create a new kind of augmented reality walking companion app. Only instead of pocket monsters, Pikmin Bloom is about that game franchise’s titular walking plant creatures.
Pikmin Bloom is launching today in Australia and Singapore. It will also begin rolling out in other regions over the next couple of days. You can get it for free on the Apple App Store or Google Play on Android.
I’ve spent a few days going hands-on with the app, and so far I am enjoying myself. Pikmin Bloom is a more chill version of Pokémon Go. The idea here is to go for walks with your Pikmin to grow virtual flowers along real-world paths. Along the way, you will find seedlings to grow more Pikmin and different fruits to feed your crew of plant creatures. If you give them a red fruit, they will produce red flower seeds. You can then go on specific walks to plant red flowers along a certain path.
After you level up, you can then send your Pikmin on expeditions. These expeditions have you putting together a team of Pikmin to go pick up special items in your nearby proximity. This is a mechanic that enables you to continue progressing in Bloom even when you cannot go for a walk.
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Overall, the game is pretty low impact. No one else in my area has access to the game yet, but when they do, I don’t think the game is going to stress about another player replacing my flowers. Instead, it seems like covering the world in flowers is a cooperative, additive exercise. And I find that pleasant and a good enough reason to go for a walk.