Over the last week or so, AR mobile game developer Niantic has opened one door and closed another – Pikmin Bloom is now available, but 2019’s Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be shut down in 2022.
Back in March, Niantic announced it was working on a Pikmin mobile AR title in partnership with Nintendo. As of last week, Pikmin Bloom began rolling out to several countries — it’s now available in almost all major markets, including Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East, the US, Canada.
Like many other mobile AR games, Pikmin Bloom follows the rough framework and precedent set by Pokemon Go, Niantic’s most successful mobile AR title. However, Bloom takes a slightly different approach to the concept — Bloom is more idle, focused more on simply walking around than actively visiting locations or searching for something. The more you walk, the more pikmin you’ll obtain.
Overall, the game seems to markets itself more as a glorified pedometer with a few game elements thrown in. There’s also minimal AR content compared to other Niantic titles. In fact, the only true use of mobile AR appears to be when you send Pikmin to fight mushrooms, which can be viewed as an AR overlay similar to catching Pokemon in Pokemon Go.
In the same week, Niantic also announced that it will be shutting down its 2019 mobile AR game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Wizards Unite, the studio’s first game to follow in Pokemon Go’s footsteps, announced that it will close on January 31, 2022 in a post on the game’s website. The game will be removed from store fronts even earlier, from December 6 2021.
We weren’t huge fans of Wizards Unite, but it’s just one game of many — Niantic has announced and released a few IP-focused mobile AR titles in the wake of Pokemon Go, but so far none have managed to catch on in the same way.
Let’s hope that changes with Transformers: Heavy Metal, the next Niantic AR game set to release sometime this year.