It’s hard to put into words how cute the little creatures are Peridot is. The virtual pets, who participate in the next release from Pokémon Go developer Niantic, seems scientifically designed to make you say “awww.” They have big eyes and colorful bodies, and they really respond when you give them some attention. I could only play a short part of a pre-release version of the game, but I’m already thrilled.
I got the chance to try a practical demo of Peridot with senior producer Ziah Fogel at Summer game party last week in Los Angeles. The game is basically a cross between Pokémon Go and Nintendogs, with all the augmented reality and location-based gameplay you can expect from Niantic but with a greater focus on taking care of your virtual pet. You only have one peridot at a time (more on that later), and your main goal is simply to keep them happy, so that they mature into a well-adjusted adult, who can then reproduce to create even more cuties.
When you first start the game, you are introduced to a baby creature – each period is unique – and are tasked with giving it a name. I panicked and named my sweet, pink friend “NFT”. (See the correct pronunciation hereFrom there, there is a kind of assignment system that revolves around your pet’s wishes. They may want to be petted or have a certain type of food. My little NFT (again, I apologize for the name) really wanted to see some flowers, so we walked over to a nearby restaurant that had a vase of roses on its hostess. My peridot saw them via AR and perked up immediately.
Niantic is quick to point out that there really is no punitive element here. Your pets may get a little sad, but they never get hurt or (gasp) dö. Peridot is a game built around positive reinforcement. Making them happy helps them grow. It is also a game with a strong focus on tactile interaction. You pat your little guy by rubbing his head (there is even some nice haptic feedback) and can play with it by throwing a tennis ball, which will bounce off walls and trees in a realistic way. To look for food and other items, draw a circle on the screen, and your pet will dive in before returning with everything it managed to collect. And depending on what surface it is looking for – such as sand or water – you get different types of objects.
Peridot seems like it will be much more favorable for solo, sedentary games compared to Niantic games that Pokémon Go and Pikmin Bloom. “A lot of this game is about the caring side of things,” Fogel explains. “And you can do it alone in your home and get a lot of pleasure from playing fetch in your living room.”
But Peridot has interesting places in reality (think of the gym Pokémon Go), which comes in the form of habitats. You can see these habitats up in trees and buildings – there are streams of bubbles at ground level that let you know that a habitat is nearby – and they play an important role, allowing you to raise your virtual pet with another player’s. Peridotes can be raised when they reach adulthood (Fogel says that in the current building this takes one to three days, as peridotes move from baby to teenager to adult), and the idea is that you can try specific types of creatures with distinct characteristics such as unicorn or yeti. The baby will adopt traits from both its parents, and you can extend these by using an associated nest. It sounds a bit complicated, especially if you are trying something very specific, but I have to spend more time with the final version to get a better feel for it.
One of the more strange characteristics is that, since you only take care of one period at a time, breeding also means saying goodbye – but not permanently. “When you breed with your current adult, it works, you can track it, so you can go back and play with it a little more,” says Fogel. I ended up with a cow-spotted baby yeti with the unfortunate name “Web3.” (Seriously, I’m sorry.)
Peridot also has a photo mode where you can take pictures of how cute your pet is, which is related to a planned function: the ability to train your peridot and learn the tricks such as sitting or rolling. There are no words on when it can be implemented, but Fogel says it’s just one of several exciting features planned for the game. “Our killer function, which we have not built yet, is like a dog park,” she explains. “You do not have to go into a lobby or anything – you just jump into a park and see a bunch of people’s peridots running around. It’s something we’re looking forward to building. We’re really excited about it, but it’s something is technically challenging. ”
Peridot has no release date yet, although it is currently under soft launch in Malaysia. Asked about a wider launch, Fogel simply said, “I hope soon.”
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