New Pokémon Snap Review
After 20 years the classic Pokémon photography sim makes it return on the Nintendo Switch, my full review.
After 22 long years the classic franchise has made its way from the N64 to the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo in combination with development partner Bandai Namco has brought the on-rails Pokémon photography experience back with more features, beautiful graphics and plenty of adorable Pokémon. It took a while to arrive, but New Pokémon Snap is the game you have been waiting for, it will delight players both new and returning to the series. Let’s dive into the experience and explore how it improves on the classic photo snapping formula on all fronts.
"It took a while to arrive, but New Pokémon Snap is the game you have been waiting for, it will delight players both new and returning to the series."
A more in-depth storyline
The first area New Pokémon Snap exceeds its predecessor is the story. This time around there is a lot more detail in your character’s motivation to become a shutterbug on the hunt for Pokémon. You travel to the Lental region and meet Professor Mirror. It’s up to you and his team of research assistants unravel a mystery behind the rare pocket creatures. Illumina Pokémon have begun popping up and you are tasked with traveling through various regions to take photos of the Pokémon in the name of research.
"This time around there is a lot more detail in your character’s motivation to become a shutterbug on the hunt for Pokémon."
New Pokémon Snap features a very clean, cartoony art style that serves the entire experience extremely well. The world is filled with bright pastel colours and larger than life creatures that makeup a beautiful world you’ll want to spend hours exploring. This is the best-looking Pokémon game to date, artistically influenced by games like Pokémon Go which will make the game instantly recognizable to newer gamers. Through your adventures you’ll visit beautiful beaches, lush jungles, a desert, underwater environments and more. In terms of performance, you might experience the odd frame rate dip as bigger and larger amounts of Pokémon enter your screen, but these instances are few and far between.
"Through your adventures you’ll visit beautiful beaches, lush jungles, a desert, underwater environments and more."
An experience that is day and night from the original
Thankfully, New Pokémon Snap bucks the trend of its predecessor with far less repetitive courses. The game features 12 different locations, with certain levels featuring “Illumina Spots” to mix-up the gameplay. There are even forking paths in levels that require you to revisit the area to “Snap Em’ All.” Some courses have separate day and night routes, giving you even more options and opportunities to find more nocturnal creatures.
"Some courses have separate day and night routes, giving you even more options and opportunities to find more nocturnal creatures."
There is a whopping 200+ Pokémon to snap in the game, which will keep you busy for hours. I also found the creatures had a lot more playfulness and personality this time around. In some instances, the more you visit a region, the more the Pokémon become familiar with you. This leads to less camera shyness and more fun and interesting poses. It’s a small addition that I found added a lot of character to the world.
Doing it for the Poké-gram!
The challenge in the Pokémon Snap experience comes from timing a shot just right and getting an elusive 4-star rating. To be more precise, you earn a “star ranking” and a number score for each picture you take. There are various things that factor into your score such as the creature’s pose, size in frame and direction of the Pokémon. It also helps to have other subjects in the shot and special backgrounds for a bonus. I did find the star scoring system to be a little puzzling in its grading at times.
I would often snap a shot and be sure it was going to be perfect, just to be disappointed and left puzzled by a 2-star rating.
Aside from the scoring issues there is a lot of extra features added that work really well. You can “resnap” photos letting you adjust things like brightness, blur, focus size and more. You can also add filters and fun stickers to your photos like frames, hats and sunglasses.
Final thoughts on New Pokémon Snap
After a 22 year wait, the series has evolved all its best features adding up to a fun, satisfying adventure. There are more courses and bonus areas that really add to the replayability of the game.
"After a 22 year wait, the series has evolved all its best features adding up to a fun, satisfying adventure."
There are aspects that can frustrate like the scoring system, but overall, this a great experience. I highly recommend grabbing your camera and trekking through the Lental region to see the magic New Pokémon Snap has to offer.
New Pokémon Snap Pros
+ A wide variety of Pokémon to photograph
+ Engaging levels with diverse biomes
+ Social network integration
+ High replayability
New Pokémon Snap Cons
-“On rails” movement returns stifling exploration
-Photo scoring system is imperfect
-A lot of grinding is required to progress
Overall Game Score
A copy of the game was provided by Nintendo for the purpose of this review.