Niantic has unveiled its next AR mobile game, Peridot, which looks to be the perfect pet simulator.
Peridot is inspired by classic virtual pets, like Tamagotchi, with the core mechanics focused around raising uniquely adorable critters affectionately nicknamed Dots. The game is a fresh and original IP from Niantic, whose biggest success to date has undoubtedly been Pokémon Go.
While Niantic followed Pokémon Go with another Nintendo property – Pikmin – the game was less focused on building on the level of interactivity between the player and the creatures. Instead, Pikmin Bloom is a walking app, so it's interesting to see Niantic double down on the bond between the player and the Dots this time around.
Coupled with the cutesy aesthetic, people looking to bond with a pet without any of the responsibility should love Peridot.
What can you do with your Peridot?
Peridot's game loop is pretty straightforward. You raise, nurture and eventually breed the Dots from an egg to adulthood.
The premise is that Peridots are eons old and have awoken in a strange new world – and it's your job to take care of them.
You can feed, play with, and take your Dot on adventures but it's best not to get too attached as it's a fairly short journey from birth to a fully-fledged adult who's ready to fly the nest.
You can play with and train your Peridot, and explore the world with it. Niantic loves getting players out and about, and it's done a lot of legwork to make your Dots' interactions with the real world as varied and interesting as possible.
How does breeding Peridots work?
Dots can recognize different terrain, and forage for resources that are unique to particular environments. They have their own desires, like eating a certain food, going for a walk, or visiting nearby points of interest.
They also sport different looks, personality traits, abilities, and likes and dislikes thanks to their 'DNA'. The entire breeding system has been built around this system, which is modeled after the way DNA works in reality.
The combination of "hand-crafted assets and procedural generation" is going to make for a huge variance in Dots, which is the incentive for players. Ideally, you want to breed different types of Dots to unlock, whether that's a specific look, or traits you're trying to foster.
Jumping back to the loose narrative of the game, players are helping diversify the newly-awoken species. Archetypes like 'Unicorn', 'Peacock', 'Cheetah', 'Ram', 'Rabbit', and 'Clownfish' are just a few examples of the patterns available.
Like Pokémon Go, the game incorporates points of interest (POI) from real life, but rather than Gyms to go battle pokémon in, Peridot's POIs are Habitats. Basically, places to go send off your adult Dot to go make nasty and pop out an egg.
Nests around Habitats are used for breeding, and they can offer a variety of mutations that result in certain features, like a zebra pattern. It can take a few generations to finally get the traits and patterns you're after, but with such a short birth-to-breeding cycle, that shouldn't be too much of a grind. And as an added plus, there are no negative consequences for abandoning your Dot for days. It'll be alive and well, and happy to see you, presumably.
Once you release a Dot into the wild after it's bred, you can still see it again. It'll live at the POI it made whoopee at, and you can recall it any time to play and hang out.
Interestingly, the world is populated with NPC Dots as well as player Peridots, so your hatchlings can go on to seed countess other Dots.
At some point down the line, you'll be able to buy items and accessories at the in-game store to jazz up your Dot, or imbue it with certain buffs. You can feed it items to make it grow faster, or give it 'Dot nip' to make it happier – all of which feeds back into the breeding loop.
Peridot is rolling out with a soft launch on Android and iOS this month in select markets which will function as a beta. More regions will be added as testing continues and expands, so keep an on the official Peridot website (opens in new tab) for updates.