Pikmin Bloom! Planting Flowers Everywhere…

…but mostly in my heart.

Hey, folks! Jim, here. I normally cover Pokemon GO and Books I’ve been known to review the occasional comic, movie and TV show as well! But I wanted to dip my toes into this new title from Niantic and see if it’s going to give Pokemon GO something to worry over.


So, I’m going to be brutally honest and admit that despite finding the character designs ridiculously adorable… I’ve never played a Pikmin game. The gameplay looked fun, but never to the point where I could justify First Party Nintendo Game prices for it. Plus, my time is a little more limited so when I play a game it’s generally one I know and know I’m going to enjoy. (Yes, yes. I’m quite boring.)

However, the general idea is this: You’re a little alien Captain who crash lands on a planet with an Oxygen rich atmosphere which is highly toxic to your species. You need to claim all of your spaceship parts before you run out of breathable atmosphere and the Pikmin, little plant critters who live on the planet, are willing to help by destroying obstacles, fighting hostile fauna and helping circumnavigate other hazards.

It’s essentially real-time strategy and resource management.

Pikmin Bloom

So. How does Niantic’s take on the franchise work?

Keeping in mind I’m only Level 17 and new features/activities are added fairly consistently up to the point I’m at so I may not have a full picture of everything on offer… I like it!

You get Pikmin slowly at first. They follow you around and the game keeps count of your steps. Each day at 9:00pm local time, your steps are tallied up and applied to your total with a cute little animation that shows your Mii character skipping through fields of flowers.

As you walk, your posse of Pikmin pluck fruits that give you nectar of differing colors. Apples give you white nectar, lemons give you yellow, blueberries give you blue, etc. Feeding your Pikmin this nectar causes their flowers to change color and glow allowing you to collect petals of varying colors which you can then plant as you walk to grow flowers of those colors.

You get all that? Botanical incorrectness aside (Nectar from fruit? Growing flowers from petals? Why not just say juice and seeds, Niantic?) it’s basically a way for you to decorate your walks with a trail of grown flowers you spread in your wake.

Your little guys can grab post cards from local landmarks (These are Pokestop and Gym locations in Pokemon GO. They share a database of these locations, much like Ingress.) fight giant mushrooms at these same places and be sent on Expeditions to grab items from the overworld. These items might be fruits or additional Pikmin seedlings. As you go up in level, additional colors of Pikmin become available to you. The flavor text for each gives you some insight as to their strengths (Red ones are immune to fire, blue to water, purple ones are strong but slow, etc.) I will say that I haven’t yet noticed much of a difference in what each offers in the gameplay that I’ve as yet unlocked. That may come later, though! Or I may just be missing those features and differences due to the generally passive nature of this game.

Because it’s a very passive game. Unlike Pokemon GO which I generally poke at throughout the day fairly consistently, I probably open Pikmin Bloom two or three times a day. I’ve planted masses of flowers between home and work, but this is a set it and forget it sort of process.

Final Verdict

Honestly? It’s cute and fun. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it forever… at the end of the day while I appreciate what it has to offer and it’s another thing my Wife and I can enjoy together, the passive nature of it all may prove a little less what I’m looking for. Still, it’s free to play and requires very little investment in regards to time. If you’re playing Pokemon GO and walking anyway, there’s worse additional activities you could take part in than planting virtual flowers as you go.

And again… the Pikmin are cute. I’ve got like… 80 of them in my party now and I’m still managing to think of unique names for each one.

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