First details: Niantic’s Pikmin mobile app has players growing seedlings by walking
AR game features seven Pikmin species, including “Decor” Pikmin found in specific locations
Nintendo and Niantic’s Pikmin mobile app requires players to walk in order to grow their Pikmin squad and send them on expeditions, VGC can reveal.
That’s according to a beta version of the AR game, seen by VGC, which is currently being tested by invited users in Singapore.
Pikmin is the first game to release under a new partnership between Nintendo and Niantic announced last week, created by Niantic’s Tokyo Studio established in April 2018.
Pikmin App: How it Works
“Pikmin App”, as it’s currently known, starts by giving players several Pikmin Seedlings in an item bag. Seedlings grow by absorbing Step Energy generated by walking with the Pikmin App and can be plucked once enough energy has been accumulated for growth.
Players can individually name each Pikmin they’ve plucked, or automatically generate one from the app. In the current version of Niantic’s Pikmin App, there are seven species of Pikmin to grow:
- Red Pikmin
- Blue Pikmin
- Yellow Pikmin
- Purple Pikmin
- White Pikmin
- Rock Pikmin
- Winged Pikmin
- Pikmin Attributes
- Pikmin Flowers
In addition, players can find Decor Pikmin, which are described as “unusual” Pikmin wearing attire associated with the place you found them. Decor Pikmin are grown from Big Seedling items, or your existing Pikmin may turn into Decor Pikmin by interacting with them in certain places.
As players explore by walking around the real world, they’ll discover new Seedlings and their Pikmin Squad may pick up items along the way, like fruit. The fruit converts into Nectar, which you’ll give to Pikmin so that they can bloom flowers whose petals you can collect.
Tapping on the flowers allows players to collect flower petals, which they’ll use during a special Flower Planting mode. Flower petals can come in four colours: red, blue, yellow, or white.
Flower Planting is a walking mode that forms flower trails as you walk. As a benefit, Seedlings are easier to find, and Seedlings planted in your item bag grow faster.
Currently, there are no microtransactions in the Pimin App, but these could yet be added in time for the title’s general release.
Pikmin App: Expeditions and Postcards
Other than exploring, the core mode of the Pikmin App is Expeditions. These are campaigns where players can send Pikmin to collect Seedlings or other items at places they’ve previously visited.
“Other than exploring, the core mode of the Pikmin App is Expeditions. These are campaigns where players can send Pikmin to collect Seedlings or other items at places they’ve previously visited.”
Players select an Expedition from the Expedition screen, then select the Pikmin they want to embark on that campaign, with the UI indicating which item they’ll collect at the end, the time required and how many Pikmin they’ll need to send.
When you take your Pikmin out for an Expedition, they’ll sometimes pick up Postcards. Postcards are digital keepsakes that show Pikmin on their excursion, selected from photos of real-world locations submitted by Pokémon GO and Ingress players around the world.
Pikmin App does not use photos saved to the player’s phone, or photos taken by other Pikmin App players, and there is currently no function to send postcards to other players.
Pikmin App: Lifelog and Daily Lookback
Finally, Niantic’s Pikmin mobile game includes many features designed to encourage daily play. The Lifelog is a personal record of the player’s daily activities that they can curate with text and pictures to record things they’ve done.
On the Lifelog’s Entries screen, players can view the number of steps walked, flower planting results, places visited, photos captured and written entries created.
At the end of each day, the Pikmin App will generate a Daily Lookback, which is an animated summary of the player’s Pikmin App progress from the past day, visible only to them.
This summary will include the places you visited, the places where you planted flowers, and the number of steps you walked. In some cases, if players walked a lot in a single day, they will earn a chance to get a free item by playing a propeller mini-game.
The Pikmin App was first announced last week, when Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto hinted that it would not be a traditional game.
“Niantic’s AR technology has made it possible for us to experience the world as if Pikmin are secretly living all around us,” Miyamoto said in a prepared statement.
“Based on the theme of making walking fun, our mission is to provide people a new experience that’s different from traditional games. We hope that the Pikmin and this app will become a partner in your life.”