I was an avid Pokemon Go player for a few years but eventually found it exhausting to keep up with. I did miss having an extra reason to wander around my town though, so when I heard about Pikmin Bloom I decided to give it a go.
It’s from Niantic, the same developers as Pokemon Go, so a lot of the gameplay and features are familiar but it’s much more simple and relaxing, and just about growing Pikmin from seedlings and planting flowers. That might sound boring but it feels like a relief to not have to look at my phone constantly when I’m outside – or hang around in the cold and rain to take down a gym or wait for a raid to start. All you really need to do is walk and occasionally turn on flower planting. Your Pikmin team will pick up things for you and most of the other features can be left until you’re back home, like sending your Pikmin off on an expedition to fetch other items.
The main items they’ll find are seedlings of various colours, that take a certain amount of steps to grow into new Pikmin that have different skills. There’s also fruits that turn into nectar. Feed nectar to your Pikmin to get flower petals, then plant those near Big Sprouts (similar to Pokemon gyms/Pokestops) to help them flower and give you – and any other players nearby – a reward.
The Pikmin are adorable and you get pretty attached to them since they’re so helpful. I was in Glasgow for the day and they even walked for 7 hours to bring things back to my home! My favourites are the extra strong (and cutely chubby) Purple Pikmin, and the special Decor Pikmin with things like hats and decorations. I got one from Nintendo HQ with a Mario hat and one from near a hair salon has a little comb and scissors.
I also enjoy the diary feature where it logs your step count and route for the day and you can add a mood sticker and a photo from your walk. I’m the sort of person who hates to break a streak (I have a 1000+ day Duolingo streak!) so this is a great feature that should help me get out for a walk more often, once the weather gets warmer.
If you’re looking for something relaxing to play for a short time each day, that will also encourage you to get some exercise, I definitely recommend Pikmin Bloom. It’s so much less stressful than Pokemon Go and you can play at your own pace. There are also occasional Community Days and seasonal events and I’m looking forward to getting some cherry blossoms this month.
Pikmin Bloom is a free download for both Apple and Android devices. It can be a bit confusing when you start, so watch the video at the top – or this guide on Reddit is really helpful. Anyone else playing?
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She also designs cute character goods as Asking For Trouble. Having visited Japan five times, Marceline is enormously inspired by all things Japanese and especially loves bunnies, space and any kind of food object with a happy face.