Pokémon Snap, a Nintendo 64 exclusive, was released in 1999. At that time, only a handful of pokémon were known to the world, and it was weird to think of a Pokémon game without battles. Over 2 decades later, we are used to seeing all kinds of Pokémon spin-offs, and there are almost 900 creatures in the National Pokédex... the perfect scenario for a Pokémon Snap remake!
Just like the original version, New Pokémon Snap caters to anyone who loves pokémon and would love to visit them in their natural habitat to watch them do their business. Who doesn't love pokémon, and who doesn't love amateur photography?!
What to Expect
In case you're wondering, New Pokémon Snap is a game where you don't train monsters to fight—much to the contrary, it's a celebration of pokémon beauty and diversity. Let's say your objective is, as always, to catch them all... but this time, you need to take cool photos of them. For this reason, you can expect a chill adventure with simple mechanics instead of a competitive JRPG, although it doesn't make this game any less special. Pokémon games are always interesting to explore, and the newly discovered Lental Region has so much to offer! Like a new phenomenon involving pokémon!
New Pokémon Snap looks gorgeous. All islands have their own charm, and it's so amazing to see all kinds of pokémon interacting with each other right in front of you. Although sunny trips are fine, New Pokémon Snap shines—like, literally—when it comes to night tours. These dark scenarios are perfect at highlighting the beauty of Illumina Pokémon, but it also works with the rest of the creatures once you get the right items. All new Pokémon games for the Switch are using the same 3D models, but that's okay if they look impressive and "realistic." Compared to the original Pokémon Snap, this remake feels like a huge improvement and totally justifies the use of new technology.
Even if the pokémon look good, New Pokémon Snap wouldn't feel the same without all the little sound details it gets right. After all, we're getting as close as possible to these creatures, so we need to hear them react to the environment, their predators, and of course, to us. There's nothing more adorable than your favorite pokémon being nice to you and "saying hi" in their language! We have to say though that unless you don't care that much about completing the Photodex or you're so good you get all the right pictures on the first try, this is a repetitive game... which means we get repetitive voice lines from the professor, but that's nothing to worry about.
In New Pokémon Snap, we visit the Lental Region, a place for pokémon to live happily without worrying about greedy trainers. As you all may already know, a new region also means there's a new professor—and a new assistant, too—so our protagonist will be guided by Prof. Mirror and his assistant Rita. Our adventure starts at Florio Island, one of the several locations of the archipelago we get to visit; from there, we'll see all kinds of biomes: the beach, the jungle, the desert, a volcano, etc. All biomes have their own pokémon, and our goal is to take pictures of all of them in different situations!
Completing the Photodex is the ultimate objective, and to do so, we need to take pictures of pokémon. So far, so good, right? Well, it's not that easy. The more pokémon you get on the same photo and the bigger and centered they look, the more points you get. Taking better quality pictures will grant you a better score, so you should aim for 4000+ points to get diamond stars. Remember we just mentioned pokémon in different situations? That's because the bronze/silver/gold/diamond ranking is not the only thing we need to care about when completing the Photodex. When taking pictures, you'll notice they can have up to 4 stars, but that's not actually your score. A 4-stars picture means the pokémon is doing something unusual, while a 1-star picture shows them doing something that might look cool but is still normal. It's up to you to discover how to trigger some rare reactions and get the best out of them!
One of the reasons why New Pokémon Snap is a repetitive game is because Prof. Mirror can only evaluate one photo per monster per run. It doesn't matter if you get 4 great photos of the same pokémon in all 4 situations; you still need to pick one and come back for a new run. That's unfortunate because you never know how good your pictures are until you get the score at the end of the run, and most of the time, it's just unfair to decide between two or more great pictures. This also discourages you because once you get a nice picture, there's no incentive to keep taking photos of that same pokémon unless you're trying to get higher scores or a better-looking picture. Still, some events unlock after a few runs on the same spot, so it's literally impossible to complete the game without visiting the same place several times and trying different things. In our opinion, that kind of keeps things interesting even when you know it's your 15th time in a row touring the jungle.
Another reason to come back to old places are the requests you get from other characters. Most of these will help you find pokémon you might have otherwise missed or will shed some light on that 4-stars event you can't trigger, so keep an eye on them!
At first, you can do nothing but take photos, but then you will be available to feed pokémon some fluffruit, throw Illumina orbs at them to make them shine, and even play some music for them! Interacting with all these pokémon feels amazing, and it's so fun to solve these "puzzles" to get them to do weird stuff on camera. Another nice addition are the Illumina pokémon, creatures that react to Crystal Bloom flowers and get a magical glow around them that makes them look astonishing. It's just a gimmick, we know, but it would be nice to see this being added to the next anime!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Pokémon Snap will always be one of the most important games in the Pokémon franchise. It was different, it was fun, and it had a special something that not many other Pokémon spin-off titles have. New Pokémon Snap is an upgraded version that all Pokémon lovers will enjoy, with more monsters, better graphics, and the same magical feeling to it.
We know not everyone enjoys pokémon battles, but there's no way you don't like taking pictures of these majestic creatures!
Over 210 pokémon to get on camera!
An amazing adventure game that's perfect for Pokémon fans of all ages.
The gameplay gets repetitive after a few runs...
Honey's Final Verdict:
We had a blast playing New Pokémon Snap and finding all pokémon. Requests and "secret" events definitely help with keeping things fresh, but it's hard not to be amazed when you're so close to your favorite creatures in their natural habitat.
It doesn't matter if you missed the original Pokémon Snap or you know nothing about competitive battles, EV training, and such. This is a game all Pokémon fans should play, and it looks fabulous on the big screen!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...