It hasn’t been long since the new Pokémon Snap was released, but it has already been the subject of many fans’ adoration. While it is a revival of the original Pokémon Snap from 1999, it certainly improves on the original. There’s more of everything that the original lacked: more Pokémon, more courses, and more possible photos! Can these improvements carry it enough to be a good game for modern-day Pokémon fans? Let’s find out.
What Is Pokémon Snap?
Pokémon Snap is an on-the-rails amateur photography-based game set in a safari park-like setting. You play as a photographer snapping photos of Pokémon in their natural habitats. Think of it as the kid’s version of nature photography, but with Pokémon as the wildlife.
The original Pokémon Snap was released back in 1999 with the same premise and mechanics. However, it was limited because it only had seven courses and 60 Pokémon. Moreover, each course was repetitive, so every time you went through it things were the same. It did add some variety with rare shots you could take after solving a few puzzles. However, the original game still left players wanting so much more.
The new Pokémon Snap improves on all of these shortcomings and adds better graphics in keeping with modern standards. Like many other recently released Pokémon titles, it revives an old formula from an old game. That’s why Pokémon fans will find this game endearing and nostalgic, especially if they had played the original.
It hasn’t been long since the release date, though. It was launched on April 30, 2021, so it’s only a few days old at the time of writing. However, despite its young age, it already finished a tie-in event with Pokémon Go. It featured multiple spawns from the new Pokémon Snap’s Lental region and introduced a much anticipated Shiny Smeargle Pokémon Go Pokemon.
Can You Play Pokémon Snap on PC?
Unfortunately, you can’t play Pokémon Snap on PC even through emulation because it’s still pretty new. As an alternative, you can play the original Nintendo 64 game with an N64 emulator.
How to Play Pokémon Snap
Pokémon Snap starts as a simple and cute game, providing you with a variety of pre-made characters to choose from.
Story & Basic Controls
After you’ve chosen your character, it’s time to traverse the world and snap photos to fill your Pokedex. By doing so, you’ll inch closer to your main objective: to find information about the Illumina phenomenon occurring in different Pokemon. With your camera and the other tools provided, you can discover everything you need to conduct this very important research.
Within New Pokémon Snap, you’ll meet two of the game’s main characters: Rita and Professor Mirror. They will commission you to snap photos of Pokémon in the wilds of the Lental region. There are many unknown islands within the region, and it’s your job to traverse them to capture photos of Pokémon.
Afterward, you can finally begin the tutorial, which walks you through the basic controls. They’re easy enough to learn, even for kids. You can either use the analog sticks or the Switch’s motion controls to move the camera. You can also use ZL to zoom in and take shots by pressing A.
Now here comes the real kicker: how to snap the perfect shot. Taking the right photos can be challenging. Everything from the direction, pose, background, and size to the situation contributes to the overall quality of your shots.
Mini-Missions, Scores & Titles
Other features underscore Pokémon Snap’s main photo-taking objectives, starting from the game’s research level-based progression system. You can increase your research level quickly depending on the quality of photos you take. Once you feel confident you’ve taken the best ones, you can head back to Professor Mirror. He will rate your best shots and give you scores using a four-star rating system.
Progression is simple: the more stars you get, the more you can increase your research level. Moreover, the higher the score, the more you can obtain equipment upgrades and additional tools for your project. These come in the form of camera upgrades, Fluffruit to lure Pokémon, and more.
Getting the Fluffruit and other items is crucial to your research as they help you encounter rarer Pokémon that you won’t commonly find in the wild. Furthermore, these items also elicit unique responses from various Pokémon. If you can capture this, you can earn even higher points and unlock more upgrades.
Apart from the scoring system and progression, Pokémon Snap also provides mini-missions to help you earn titles. It also gives you a scanner to find new paths to make your search both more exciting and satisfying.
The original Pokémon Snap was fun, but it felt quite short with the limited routes and Pokémon types. In the new Pokémon Snap, the developers fixed this problem by adding more variety when you revisit routes. You’ll no longer find the same old Pokémon with the same old poses on every island. This time, you can find more interesting Pokémon performing different actions as you progress.
These new Pokémon performing new acts certainly help lift some of the game’s monotony. They also help increase your scores even more because they become more interesting subjects for your photos. Unfortunately, once you’ve revisited the same island a number of times, the revisits will become somewhat repetitive.
Pokémon Snap has an online feature where you can edit photos and share shots with the community. There are tons of editing tools to use, including filters, exposure controls, and stickers. Accessing the online features does require a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, which is sold separately.
Gameplay Experience & Quality
Overall, the new Pokémon Snap is a pretty decent game if you like the premise of Pokémon wildlife photography. It solves many of the original game’s flaws. There are over 200 Pokémon to find in this game compared to the original 60, giving your three times as much more content.
Furthermore, the new Pokémon Snap has a slightly more interesting story, although it isn’t compelling from a story-telling standpoint. Nonetheless, if you wanted the original Pokémon Snap with more and better features, the new Pokémon Snap does the trick. It has all of the right elements: adorable Pokémon, cute behavior, steady progression, and a fresh feel.
Unfortunately, the game does feel repetitive once you get to a certain point. As a result, it’s hard to imagine playing it for more than 10 hours. Of course, it’s still a good game, especially if you have kids who just love Pokemon.
The Verdict on Pokémon Snap
The new Pokémon Snap feels like a wonderful blast to the past for Pokémon fans. It refines the previous game with better graphics and just more of everything. With that said, the gameplay is certainly better with more things to explore and Pokémon to find.
However, it can feel repetitive once you’ve played through the same island more than twice. Sure, new items and upgrades help boost your scores a lot. Moreover, they can add to the experience when you find new Pokemon or elicit new responses from old ones. However, the novelty wears off over time so things can get boring pretty quickly.
Overall, the new Pokémon Snap still isn’t bad because it’s a nice enough experience for Pokémon fans. However, because of its $59.99 price tag, it’s certainly not for everybody. What’s more, you can finish the game in less than 10 hours so it might not be worth the purchase. Nonetheless, if you’re a Pokemon Snap fan (or a general Pokemon fan), it wouldn’t hurt to try it out.