The monolith that is Pokemon Go (which I last blogged about in 2019) seems to still be going strong even 5+ years later, whereas Niantic's Harry Potter game will be shutting down in a couple of months. Perhaps that's to make room for their latest release, Pikmin Bloom. It's hard to believe that it's also been more than five years since I played Pikmin 3 on Wii U, so just on that level it was fun to see the Pikmin back in a video game.

The NintendoLife review has a good run-down of what Pikmin Bloom is all about, but at its core it's basically very similar to Pokemon Go but with more of an emphasis on counting your steps. In Pokemon Go steps hatch eggs, whereas in Bloom they make seedlings grow, whih sprout into Pikmin. Rather than collect a ton of different species as in Pokemon Go, in Pikmin Bloom you gradually unlock the full roster of seven types, but based on where they originated they can unlock little costumes (e.g. a chef's hat if they were found near a restaurant) after you reach a certain level of "friendship". Collecting all the costumes will certainly take quite a bit of time, and there are a number of useless medals tracking your progress (e.g. number of steps, number of Pikmin grown, etc.).

The game ends up being about carefully balancing all of you inventory so that you don't max out your storage of any of them. You use nectar (gained by sending your Pikmin off to collect fruit), to feed to your Pikmin to get petals, which you use on walks to collect more fruit. And so the cycle continues. It's easy to max out your petals and nectar, and your storage of seedlings, but it will take much longer to max out your army of Pikmin (I've been playing for just under a month and am at 165 Pikmin out of a max of 300). Your Pikmin can also collect postcards of nearby locales, much like in Pokemon Go, and as with Go you also can gain some of the virtual currency (coins, at a drip slow pace) that can be used to unlock petals, nectar, or temporary slots to hatch more seedlings at one time. You'll have to use real currency to unlock more capacity for any of the inventory storage, though.

Overall Pikmin Bloom has been a genial little entertainment, although it cribs from Pokemon Go rather too closely, in all the game's mechanics, but even down to the interface and aesthetics of the in-game shop. NintendoLife calls it "a glorified pedometer", and they're not too far off there, but this is still an enjoyable experience overall and one that I'll continue using, if for nothing but at least to keep track of my daily count of steps. Right now raid battles are against inanimate mushrooms, but I'm guessing there's a whole schedule of features that will roll out over time, such as expeditions that require Pikmin of a certain type (right now all expeditions can be handled by Pikmin of any type) and raid battles against familiar Pikmin series enemies. The current set of features feels a bit basic, but over time this could grow (or should I say bloom?) into a much more worthwhile gaming experience.

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