Niantic has rolled out its first public playtest of its new Pikmin mobile app in Singapore. The app is available now on the Google Play Store to those who live in Singapore. While the app is still in Early Access (the app is simply called Pikmin App in the Google Play Store) and players are discouraged from posting images or sharing gameplay footage online, we still have an idea as to what the upcoming game will entail. As many expected, Pikmin App has a much more passive gameplay experience built around walking and growing your collection of Pikmin.
The game is designed around generating "Step Energy" via walking. Players use Step Energy to grow Pikmin from seedlings and then feed them nectar to make them bloom with different types of flowers. Players can also name their Pikmin and send them out on expeditions to previously visited areas to collect more seedlings. As players explore their surroundings, the Pikmin find fruit that can be turned into nectar and leave behind petal trails, which in turn encourages seedlings to grow more quickly.
All seven kinds of Pikmin will appear in Pikmin App, along with costumed variants of Pikmin. However, there doesn't appear to be any kind of combat system or collecting of various kinds of items like in the main series Pikmin games. The new app seems to be much more lifestyle-oriented than Pokemon Go, which has a robust metagame and even a competitive scene. While the game is in Early Access still, it seems to be much more akin to an app like Pokemon Smile than a full gaming experience.
Niantic seems to have ambitious plans for the future. In addition to the multi-app collaboration with Nintendo, Niantic also recently teased development of AR glasses, which would likely integrate with their various games.