The original Pokémon Snap was released back in 1999 on the Nintendo 64. It garnered a very particular following, and many thought we’d never see another game like it. Well, a sequel is finally here after 22 years, but has it been worth the wait?
What made the original Pokémon Snap so engaging was that it was a pretty chilled game. You were an observer taking photos of Pokémon in the wild. It was as close as the Pokémon games got to being a wildlife show.
The original game was fairly short though and while it accrued a following, it was felt that even by Pokémon standards that this was a pretty niche game.
While it took 22 years, it turns out that Pokémon Snap wasn’t niche at all and actually ideally suited to a console like the Switch.
The interesting thing here is that Bandai Namco developed this game and visually it does seem to retain some of Pokkén Tournament’s clean aesthetic. This is to say that New Pokémon Snap looks lovely on the Switch and has definitely done the original Nintendo 64 game proud.
The setup in New Pokémon Snap has you enter the Lental Region to document its wildlife. You enter a funky little pod, called the NEO-ONE, and it takes you through various areas as you snap photos of elusive Pokémon.
The pod is very much on-rails, though you can choose certain directions to go on some maps, and you need to keep your eyes peeled to capture good photos of various Pokémon.
Photos are graded from one to four stars by Professor Mirror and while you can edit them afterwards to improve your grade, getting decent shots is a refreshing challenge.
As your photos improve in quality, you earn more Expedition Points, which in turn increases the Research Level of each area. The higher your Research Levels get, then more areas in the Lental Region become available.
In addition, while the routes through levels are quite strict, the events that transpire are pretty varied. Pokémon do different things on multiple playthroughs and all-new Pokémon pop-up as well. You also have day and night cycles for each area, which also change the Pokémon that appear.
The game itself is very simple though and that makes it very comfortable to play on the go. However, while New Pokémon Snap is fairly straightforward there is a lot more content compared to the original game.
From the large number of areas available to the varied behaviors of the various Pokémon, this game will take a while to finish.
That said, for all its relaxed charms, New Pokémon Snap can get a bit repetitive at times. The premise of taking photos of Pokémon is a fun one, but more so in short bursts.
The level themselves aren’t particularly long, but to capture everything and at a high enough photographic standard does take multiple attempts.
Playing the same level over and over again does somewhat diminish the game’s charm, but this is only if you really have to snap them all.
Overall, New Pokémon Snap is a relaxing but still a quite involved game There’s a lot to do in the Lental Region and the game definitely turned out better than I ever expected it to. While it can get a bit repetitive, there are enough surprises to keep you engaged.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Bandai Namco
Released: April 30th 2021
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