Tamagotchi’s are back! Sort of…
Pokémon GO creator Niantic has released a number of location-based augmented reality (AR) games since the launch of its first title, Google Ingress, back in 2013. This includes the now-defunct Harry Potter: Wizards Unite as well as the more recent Pikmin Bloom.
Niantic’s latest game, Peridot, launched earlier this week on iOS and Android devices, and although we’re only a couple of hours in, we’re already loving this addictive Tamagotchi-like experience.
You don’t need a degree in “Perigenetics”
The next-gen pet simulation game tasks you with caring for virtual creatures referred to as “Peridots,” or “Dots.” In order to keep your Dots feeling happy and healthy, you’ll need to feed and play with them using food and toys you can collect while exploring the real world.
Each Dot features its own unique genetic makeup thanks to the company’s “Perigenetics” system. This includes everything from their pattern and tail to their horns, material, face, ears, and plumage. You can even unlock or purchase new cosmetics via the in-game store and play dress-up, if you’re into that sort of thing.
As your Dot grows from baby to teenager to adult, you’ll unlock additional skills and abilities. This includes the option to collect special items at “Habitats” located at key locations throughout the real world as well as the ability for your Dots to forage on their own, learn new tricks, and more. Once they’ve reached adulthood you can begin to breed your digital companions with other Dots to create even more unique creatures.
Artificial love powered by artificial intelligence
We’ve spent the past few days carefully nurturing our own Dot, and although we’ve only had Bandit for less than 48 hours, I’d go to digital hell and back to protect them.
I blame Niantic’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology for this surprise infatuation. Dots react to your actions and the environment itself with surprising believability; you can’t help but bond with your creatures as they grow, and they grow so fast, don’t they?
AI technology also plays an interesting role in the various challenges and “Desires” you need to complete in order to level up your Dots.
In addition to standard objectives, such as traveling certain distances and working on tricks, you’re sometimes tasked with posing your Dots next to specific real-world objects and creatures. This includes everything from tree stumps to dogs and cats (special thanks to Cosmo for his help in completing today’s Desire. Good boy).
AR you ready for this responsibility?
While many of Niantic’s past games have included AR functionality, such as Pokémon GO and Pikmin Bloom, few have made full use of the technology’s potential. You don’t need to use AR in order to enjoy either of the aforementioned games; it’s more of a neat bonus feature than a core gameplay element.
Peridot sets itself apart with its improved use of AR technology. As far as we can tell, the only way to interact with your Dots is by using your smartphone camera, whether you’re feeding them snacks during a training session or just throwing the tennis ball around. Try holding your camera up during your next walk; your Dot will actually keep up with you as you move, just like an obedient pet would.
As previously mentioned, you’ll need to keep your Dots happy and fed by collecting food and toys scattered throughout the real world. When you think you’ve found a good spot, you can draw a circle around your Dot to have them dig underground in search of valuables. It’s a fun and engaging animation, especially under the right environmental conditions.
Whether you’re a fan of Niantic’s past games or just in desperate need of a virtual cuddle, Peridots is an immersive and addictive pet simulator that’ll no doubt put a smile on your face, at least until you forget to feed them…
Peridots is the first game to feature Amazon’s new Amazon Anywhere tool, which allows customers to purchase physical items in-game, from adorable Peridot-themed t-shirts to even more adorable throw pillows, directly in-app. The game also makes use of Niantic’s Campfire social app, allowing you to connect with other “Keepers” in your area.
Peridots is available to download for free on iOS and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play Store respectively. For more information visit playperidot.com.
*Impressions for this article were collected using the iPhone 14 Pro. User experience may vary*
Feature Image Credit: Niantic