I’m not a fan of “just going out for a walk”. It’s obviously good to go outside, get some fresh air, and touch some grass now and then. But that’s usually not enough to convince me to get off the couch.
I need a purpose or, as it turns out, a gamification-style app like Pikmin Bloom to make things a little sweeter.
As luck would have it, last Christmas I bought something that means I always have a reason to go outside – a Japanese Shiba Inu puppy. And boy, does she love to walk. Her enthusiasm for pounding the pavement every day is enough to get me out of the house come rain or shine. (And in the UK, it’s usually rain.)
But even though I take pride in being a responsible dog owner, walking the same routes over and over again has seriously lost its luster. I’ve grown tired of being notified by my smartwatch when I’ve hit my daily step quota or checking how many calories I’ve managed to burn.
However, thanks to Pikmin Bloom, my daily doggy dawdles are infinitely more charming. I’m now more interested in seeing if I’ve been able to cultivate any more cute Pikmin when doddering about than I am about feeling “healthy”, and there’s something oddly satisfying about filling the routes I frequent with virtual flower trails – as silly as that sounds.
Walk with me
The game element of Pikmin Bloom revolves around growing and feeding your Pikmin, which are animal, plant-like creatures. You can grow different colored variants of the little critters by walking a set number of steps, and interacting with your new flowery friends by feeding the Pikmin nectar, also earned by walking. You can earn also earn different types of flower petals to scatter across the world by giving them different colored nectar.
The concept is super simple to pick up and is similar to Pokémon Go in many ways – which makes sense considering Niantic is the developer. But much like the developer’s take on Pokémon, it’s a far cry from the real-time strategy the Pikmin games are known for, so bear that in mind.
Pikmin Bloom not only lets you grow a miniature army of followers, it also diarizes your walks in an adorable fashion. You can see the places you’ve visited thanks to little footprints dotted about the game’s map, and any pictures you’ve taken or received on that day can be kept to look back on. You can also record your mood each day, which can be handy to see if you’re feeling pretty low consistently or if you had a particularly great week.
So Pikmin Bloom isn’t really a game, so to speak, but more of an app that adds some pleasant gamification to your walks. It isn’t going to kickstart a mobile gaming craze like Niantic’s other title Pokémon Go did, but it’s a cute companion that I’m happy I decided to download. Hopefully, by the end of 2022, I’ll have more Pikmin than I’ll know what to do with.