Pokemon is not a stranger when it comes to video game spinoffs. One of the many spinoffs that have been released over the years is a simple one, filled with charm, named Pokemon Snap on the Nintendo 64: an on-rail shooter with the objective of taking the photos of Pokemon. Although some monsters were open to some prime photography, others you had to lure out with bait and other tactics.
Now, over 20 years later, The Pokemon Company, with the help of Bandai Namco, has released a long-awaited sequel named New Pokemon Snap for The Nintendo Switch. Instead of Professor Oak, the player helps the newly introduced Professor Mirror who studies life in the Lental Region.
Like the previous game, this is all about taking photographs on Pokemon. However, unlike the first which only contained 63 of the original 151, New Pokemon Snap contains 214 Pokemon out of the current 893.
The major difference when it comes to the gameplay is that your pictures of a Pokemon are sorted by one to four-star rated categories. For example, if the player finds a Pikachu standing and doing nothing, the photographgets a one-star rating, whereas if you take a picture of a Pikachu that eats an apple or danceing happily, it might get either a two-star or three-star rating.
The majority of the game’s stages are split into a day & night sections, whereas the behavior of wild Pokemon depend on when you decide to travel.
New Pokemon Snap might be rather small in scale, but it is by far one of the most beautiful games for Nintendo’s portable hardware. It made me wonder what a bigger project would look like from Bandai Namco, as they are two for two when it comes to handling this IP (the previous one being Pokken).
When it comes to controls, use the traditional ones. There is the option for “motion controls”, which does make sense considering it’s all about taking pictures. But it does felt a bit janky at the time.
All said and done, New Pokemon Snap is a phenomenal game and a worthy sequel to the obscure fan favorite. It is clear that it is made for fans of Pokemon, but I would argue that it is a game that can be played by gamers old and new, even if you have yet to touch a game in the mainline series.