After 21 years, the game’s least violent on-rail shooter triumphantly returns to usher in a new breed of Pokémon paparazzi. New Pokémon Snap Adds complexity to the monster photo safari without deviating too far from what made the original so damn adorable.
New Pokémon Snap You must help Professor Mirror and his research assistants explore the islands of the Lental Region and catalog the Pokémon population by taking snapshots of wildlife. It’s actually quite a cozy gig. You’ll get shelter, top-notch camera gear, and an unlimited supply of fluffruit to throw at Pokémon to get their attention. You’ll also have full access to the NEO-ONE, a high-tech vehicle that can be teleported and can survive in the harshest of environments. You are not allowed to drive the NEO-ONE, only drive it while it patrols on fixed paths, which gives every place in the game a driving experience for amusement parks.
Although developed by Bandai Namco Games, New Pokémon Snap is a game published by Nintendo. Due to the early access to Nintendo games, there is certain information that I am unable to disclose in the course of this review. I can’t reveal the exact number of Pokémon in the game, the number of islands in the lental region, or the number of photo shoot courses and their variants. There are certain creatures I can’t mention, and aspects of the history of the game Nintendo we’d rather keep under wraps until the game officially launches this Friday.
I understand the limitations. As much as I would love to tell you certain things about the game, it will be much more exciting for you to discover those things for yourself. That or wait until after the weekend everyone points out their guides on how to get the best pictures of Whosiwhatsit in the secret underground cave that may or may not be there.
I can tell you that taking photos of Pokémon is still a hell of a good way to spend an evening. More than 200 pocket monsters are waiting to be captured on film New Pokémon Snap, spread over several colorful and diverse biomes. First of all, you are a passenger, a passive NEO-ONE driver who can only take pictures until the journey has come to a standstill. But soon you will be given special tools to help you interact with the fauna of the area. Throw a fluffruit at a Pokémon to catch it while eating a snack, or shake it out of hiding. Play music to make Pokémon dance or sing. New to the series are Illumina Orbs, glowing spheres from the region that prohibit all sorts of strange and magical reactions from pocket monsters.
Every trip in the NEO-ONE is a chance to uncover new Pokémon and hidden secrets, similar to the action version of a hidden object game. The surroundings are filled to the brim with small details, layers upon layers of foliage full of life. Depending on the tools you use and where your camera is pointed, you can discover ancient ruins, explore alternative paths, and snap the coolest pictures of Pokémon possible.
Pictures like this stunning shot of Florges that you captured during a day run through Florio Natural Park. It could use more pocket monsters, but the size is excellent. Florges is well framed and looks straight into the camera. According to Professor Mirror’s rating system, the image is worth 4,543 points. These points will be added to my research level for the Florio Natural Park. Unlocking higher research levels changes a course, adding new monsters and even more secrets to discover.
Note that my Florges picture is rated three stars. Filling out your Lental Photodex is not just about getting the best shot. There are four star levels for each Pokémon, and each star level is rated bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. A distant shot with the subject facing away from the camera may score a single star, while a shot of a living being in a perfectly centered, rare pose may score four stars. While the urge to get the best photo possible is great, there are times when you need to limit your virtual photography skills to achieve a lesser quality. The mechanic is a little catchy, but it does wonders for replayability.
And this is New Pokémon SnapSo the photo fun doesn’t stop when the NEO-ONE ride is over. There are a number of nifty ways you can play around with your captured snapshots. For example, when a course is over and your pictures have been rated, you have the option to retake pictures, adjust focus and filters to make your picture as good as possible, like it has never been a photo.
You can do this too.
Back in 1999 on the Nintendo 64 when we wanted to share Pokémon Snap We had to invite people to take photos (gross) or let ex-girlfriends steal our cartridges (true story). Now we have the internet that we can fill with stick-on pictures of Pokémon until there is no room for the cloud, which will never happen because clouds are magical.
New Pokémon Snap is pretty magical too. It takes the unique formula of the original from 1999 and expands it just enough to feel like a whole new adventure without compromising the simple joy of riding and photographing impossible creatures.