Pikmin Bloom was introduced by Shigeru Miyamoto himself at its launch. There is no better support than that, and it is that Nintendo seeks to expand the user base of a large saga in quality but not so successful in sales. Can Niantic’s app pave the way for the license for the long-awaited Pikmin 4?
I have to admit that the Pikmin Bloom thing was quite a surprise for me. I did not expect that the next video game of the cute characters devised by Shigeru Miyamoto was going to have a mobile game, much less to use as a base the so-called Pokémon GO. Because that’s what it is, a title designed by Niantic with the aim of expanding a license not widely known.
The Pikmin saga has always been one of Nintendo’s most niche brands, and the sales figures show it. While titles like Zelda Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing New Horizons or Super Mario Odyssey sell for over twenty million, Pikmin have always had to settle for selling just over a million, whether we talk about their Gamecube debut or from the continuation of his adventures on Wii and Wii U. Even Pikmin 3 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch clearly pales in sales compared to other productions for the console.
Perhaps in this context the existence of a mobile Pikmin game makes even more sense. Miyamoto and company have been trying to expand the scope of your main licenses. Hence, products such as Mario Kart Live have been created, experiments such as Hyrule Warriors have been carried out or unique experiences such as Super Nintendo World have been brought to light. If it turns out well in the case of the endearing colored characters, maybe one day we can see the much-rumored Pikmin 4 (which has been in production for years). But for now this is what we have, and the best thing is that I, at least, has already caught me.
Pikmin Bloom vs Pokémon GO
Pikmin Bloom was born as a collaboration between Nintendo and Niantic after the success of Pokémon GO. As such, it’s very easy to see that the game is pretty much a carbon copy in concept. When we walk and go down the street, the GPS system places us on the map of our town and marks the route we follow. The big difference is that here our steps count a lot, and in fact it is an app designed for us to walk daily. Leveling up depends on several objectives, but the one that is always present is to take a certain number of steps. If you do not walk, you do not level up and therefore you do not access new and interesting functions of the program.
The game is almost a concept copy of Pokémon GOThe more you play, the more Pikmin you can take in your party and the more species you unlock. When you reach a certain level, you are allowed to access the expeditions, which consist of sending your creatures to collect objects scattered around your town (or those that you have previously visited). Here the new Pikmin are not obtained by capturing them as in Pokémon GO, but you have to plant them and wait for them to germinate. There are also no poképaradas, but rather large flowers that grow in your neighborhood and that when passing around provide you with some kind of reward.
Basically, the good thing about Pikmin Bloom is that it takes the essence of the previous Niantic game and adapts it with total success to other intellectual property. One of the most powerful and addictive dynamics is planting flower seeds and then watching the streets of your neighborhood fill with color. This allows you to get more food for your Pikmin (with which to improve your friendship), apart from adding a growth multiplier for your plantations. In a nutshell, the dynamics are simple, but well linked and they work reasonably well.
Another very striking aspect is that although there are no gyms to battle alongside other players as in Pokémon GO, they do exist. events where multiple users can join to remove some kind of obstacle in the environment. Those of you who have played Pikmin 1, Pikmin 2 or Pikmin 3 will know this very well. Basically, the games are based on recruiting new Pikmin to make our way through a normally hostile terrain. This implies taking a certain number of them to end, for example, with a plant that interrupts the passage, something that has been tried to capture in Pikmin Bloom through these special events.
Missing? Actually, the enemies, those beings that ended up tragically eating our Pikmin. Given that it has been a certainly painful aspect of the titles, probably Niantic and Nintendo have decided to do without this feature at least for the moment. However, it must be remembered that the game has just been born and has a long way to go.
One of the most satisfying aspects is watching your environment flourish.
In fact, I would like to remember that Pokémon GO came out very naked in its origins. It had few features and quite a few performance problems. In this sense, Pikmin Bloom starts with an advantage, by collecting all the accumulated experience. It is a more complete project starting and I am convinced that it will not stop growing with new functions and surprises. Of course, its success is going to be much more restrained. Although at its launch it had nearly 2 million downloads, it will not get anywhere near what the “pocket monsters” achieved. Is it necessary to go so far? I do not think so. For me, it is more important that at the moment you keep your audience happy, and that is what the more than 4 stars that it looks like on Google Play seem to demonstrate it (with more than 18,000 reviews currently). Personally, I’ve been playing it since the day it came out and although I don’t open it daily, I do like to record my steps from time to time, plant seeds and send my Pikmin on some expeditions.
Of course, it is an option if you find it difficult to walk, since it encourages you to do so. Even more so if you are like me, that I see it as an alternative that is very similar, but in the end it does not have so much to do with Pokémon GO. It will be interesting to see how the app evolves and if in the future it has some kind of integration with a future Pikmin 4. I’m sure the latter will come to pass at some point. If not, I would be greatly missed by the existence of Pikmin Bloom, whose main mission is to publicize this extraordinary license and expand the existing user base. We will see what happens.
What is the importance of Pikmin Bloom?
- It seeks to expand the user base of the Pikmin license, traditionally niche.
- Take advantage of an established foundation that has worked with Pokémon Go.
- It adequately adapts the mechanics of traditional Pikmin games.
- It already has more than 2 million downloads.
- The game has come out with quite a few exit features, more so than Pokémon GO back in the day.
- User response has been positive, with generally good reviews.
- The future Pikmin 4 could benefit from the popularity boost (more sales).