The Nintendo/Niantic Pikmin game has an official name: Pikmin Bloom. And so far, it seems a lot of the leak we reported on earlier matches up with the information the companies released officially this week. In essence, players will be tasked with walking around, finding pikmin, and making flowers bloom around them.
Reviewers have thus far suggested it’s a fairly passive experience, though Niantic UX Director Madoka Katayama told The Verge to expect “perilous elements that could potentially put your pikmin in danger.” These elements may turn out to be the leak’s “expeditions,” whereby pikmin go out to collect fruit and possibly postcards for the player. That’s not confirmed yet, but we’re also only a few hours into release at the time of this writing.
The game is currently available in Australia and Singapore but will roll out to more areas in the coming days and weeks. Niantic has also mentioned Community Days in the game’s future, but from what little gameplay we’ve seen, it’s a bit tough to imagine what multiplayer may look like beyond groups of players creating digital flower-forests with massive fruit to gather and possibly a side of marketing, which would be true to both the series and Niantic.
While having the Shigeru Miyamoto on board to help advertise is handy, Niantic only recently announced that it was shutting down the early access Catan: World Explorers. “Trying to adapt such a well-designed board game to a global, location-based Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game was a tough challenge,” the company told players, which only reinforces the idea that Niantic’s game-dev skills are its weak point. Admittedly, Pokemon GO saw a lot of beefing up years after release and during COVID (kinda), but the studio’s original IP, Ingress, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite combined haven’t even come close to touching the POGO success story.
Non-traditional gameplay might spice things up, but if the game ends up being more digital chores, as the below footage appears to be, Pikmin Bloom may go the way of other Nintendo experimental games, such as Miitomo.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t note that Niantic does not have a great track record of keeping players safe, and while Pokemon GO’s been reportedly death/injury free for over a year, even the Pikmin reddit community has been telling its members to be careful about the data they give out. As the Pikmin Bloom leak warned, other players supposedly can see your flower trail, which could allow people to follow you, but until we have our own hands-on experience, we’ll just echo others and remind readers to be cautious. Not only do you have to worry about revealing your actions to other players, but players must also consider the data Niantic collects to sell, which we’ve been hearing about since 2016.