Pikmin Bloom, the next game from Pokémon Go creator Niantic, is starting its global rollout today. The developer says that the app — which is billed as a joint project with Nintendo — “will be available on the App Store and Google Play over the coming days.” The rollout will start with Australia and Singapore before gradually hitting the rest of the world.
The new Pikmin was first announced in March as part of a new collaboration between Niantic and Nintendo. Like Pokémon Go, the game is designed to get people outdoors and walking. In Pikmin Bloom, players can collect the titular plant creatures by gathering and planting seeds; in order for them to grow, you have to walk a certain distance, sort of like hatching an egg in Pokémon Go. Players can feed their pikmin to make them bloom and then collect the petals, which let you create a trailer of flowers as you walk for other players to see. (Among other Nintendo-like touches, your in-game avatar is a Mii.)
One of the more interesting features in Pikmin Bloom is a sort of daily journal. The game saves information about how much you’ve walked, the pikmin you’ve collected, and places you’ve visited and then shows you a little video at the end of the day. You can even add notes and photos to make it more personal. There’s also, of course, an AR mode so that you can see the cute little guys crawling around the real world.
While Pokémon Go was and remains a big hit, Niantic has struggled to replicate that success with other properties. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite never really took off, and Catan: World Explorers only lasted around a year. (It’s not just Niantic that’s struggling to replicate that success, either; Microsoft also shut down its real-world Minecraft game earlier this year.) The studio is also making an AR take on Transformers.
All of this is to say that Pikmin Bloom will be a big test for the ongoing viability of real-world AR games beyond just Pokémon Go — and players around the world should be able to check it out in the coming days. For more on the game, be sure to check out our hands-on report.