Pikmin Bloom

For a game that counts things, Pikmin Bloom sure is bad at doing it.

Pikmin Bloom

I love Nintendo's Pikmin games, but Pikmin Bloom, from a different company, has many annoyances.

Network Burps

If your network connection is not great, like when your phone has weak signals, everything just stops.  You'd be lucky if you get to a screen with the wait indicator spinner.  Most annoyingly this happen sometimes because my phone is transitioning from home WiFi to cellular network.  However, most frequently it is because the server is not responding.

Poor Feedback

The UI does things that ruins the experience and amplifies the network problem.  From time to time it is obvious that the game is "stuck" because it wants to show me results of a mushroom battle.  If I force-kill the application and restart it'll get "unstuck."  The dialog that complains about me "going too fast" but with just a "I am a passenger" button to dismiss it is very annoying, because I am definitely not going too fast, and not a passenger.  It doesn't feel good when a game is making false accusations that you must accept.

Feeling Stuck

Many challenges require you to plant a number of specific flowers.  To get those flowers you have to have the right kind of nectar, feed them to your Pikmins and then harvest the flower petals.  How do you get the nectars?  Well, some of them are uncommon, so clearly the developers really want you to spend money to buy them.  Sometimes this road block happens early enough that I just have no motivation to follow the quests just a day or two into the event.  There is no game to play here, and no fun.

Problem With Counting

For a game that counts a lot of things (steps, characters, resources), it sure seems really bad at doing them.  For example, you may feed Pikmins by dangling the nectar on top of them.  Pay attention to the nectar count, and see it go up and down (another network burp?).  I've seen 40 Pikmins taking 200+ units of nectar.  Remembering that the nectar may be uncommon and you won't be able to get the expected number of petals back.  What the hell?

Then there is the coins you get from planting flower petals.  Once you exhaust the flower petals in the jar, you get a summary that includes two numbers, I guess the larger one includes some bonus, although I've never been able to figure out what triggers the bonus.  But it doesn't matter anyway, because the game has never credited me the larger number, always the small one and it usually works out to about 8 coins per mile of planing flowers.  If your GPS location didn't change, like you started from your house and ended at your house, then there is a chance you'll get no coins.  Nevermind HealthKit and Apple watch both reported thousands of steps covering a mile-and-half of distance.  The game will happily take your flower petals anyway.  Way to go to rob your players.

Lost in Collections

I assume that the different variants of designs is a major draw here, that is why the developers release different decorations for the Pikmins for major holidays and seasons.  With about a year of playing I now have 200+ variants and some 600+ Pikmins, but the ones I want to walk with (in my squad) are always getting replaced by some random ones every day without any obvious trigger.  Putting them back is a chore.  Finding the variant I want to show my kids involves a lot of scrolling and re-sorting.  If you expose the game mechanics to manage Pikmin squad, don't go behind player's back and change it.  Don't make it difficult to restore the state.

Time-Limited Events

Some events, like the community days are once-a-month on a specific day.  Do I really want to go find a place to walk 10,000 steps when it is pouring, raining cats and dogs, outside?  For me there is no incentive to do that.  It is not enjoyable to walk in the mall either, becuase 10,000 steps actually takes me quite a bit of time walking.

Mushroom Battles

In the Nintendo Pikmin games, different colored Pikmins have different strengths and the mobile app really took advantage of that mechanic.  For example, you have to fight musurooms on fire with red Pikmins only.  Because like in the game, they resist flames.  The developers are not doing this for all types of Pikmins, and this is probably an opportunity lost.  Then again, there is only one way to fight these mushrooms and other than selecting and preparing your team there is nothing else to do.  In Nintendo's game you can fight critters and some out-of-this-world enemies, but not in the mobile app.  Sigh.

Oh Well

I feel like I can learn a lot from Pikmin Bloom about what not to do in a game.  Despite having a Nintendo property backing it up, it ultimately is not fun enough to be spending time and money engaging the grind.  The daily life log feature isn't a huge draw for me, because my phone already categorizes photos by location and I don't feel like typing entries into a game that will probably go away after some time, and it is not clear to me what happens to my data.  You can't recall entries either (like, show me all the happy/sad days), so it is not more useful than a dead-tree diary.