New Pokémon Snap – Game Review

Played on: Nintendo Switch

Released on: Nintendo Switch

Genre: Adventure, Photography, Rail-Shooter

Posted: 6th May 2021

In the early years of the Pokémon series’ inception, the original Pokémon Snap released to surprising success. The game took the concept of ‘capturing’ pokémon in a different direction and became a favourite amongst pokémon fans.

Following this success, in the years that followed, fans always remained hopeful that there would one day be a sequel to Pokémon Snap. Finally, the day has come.

New Pokémon Snap is the successor that the original Pokémon Snap deserves in every single way. The game takes what was so widely adored by its fans and builds on it exponentially.

First and foremost, New Pokémon Snap is without question the BEST looking Pokémon game that has ever been released. Everything from the character and monster models, to the lighting and the environments are simply beautiful. The fully rendered cutscenes and even the voiced dialogue are great. 

While Pokken took the realistic interpretation, New Pokémon Snap shows that the regular artistic style can look just as, if not more, impressive. Which, for a photography game, is a perfect foundation.

New Pokémon Snap proves that a cinematic approach to a Pokémon game can be a great thing. However, with what we receive here, I’m more than happy for this aspect to remain exclusive to the Snap series – so long as that means that we get more entries less than 20 years apart.

The gameplay controls and mechanics for New Pokémon Snap are very simple and fairly easy for most people to pick up.

Using either the analog sticks or the motion controls are your controller, you can move your camera around as you ride through an environment on a fixed path.

Your only objective is to take photographs of the pokémon in the environment.

To aid you on this task are the various tools to your belt, including the new Illumina Orb.

The newest feature to New Pokémon Snap is the introduction of Illumina Pokémon: larger variations of pokémon that radiate a glowing aura. By studying this phenomenon, you’ll obtain Illumina Orbs that can be used to your leisure to make any pokémon you hit shine.

The original Pokémon Snap was a short and sweet romp that you could pick up, play and finish in around 4 hours. New Pokémon Snap maintains the original pick-up-and-play charm, but triples in length.

New Pokémon Snap not only boasts a larger number of stage areas, but some of these contain different variations of the same areas, such as a Day and Night version. These changes to the stages can alter the positioning of the pokémon, but also the species of pokémon in them.

Furthermore, New Pokémon Snap have added ‘research levels’ to every stage and variation. As these levels increase, further changes are made to the stages: new pokémon can be found, and new interaction between them can be created.

Replayability is New Pokémon Snap’s main objective.

The game does the best it can to encourage players to replay every level that’s put into the game. With so much growth and development open to players, very few people will have the same experience twice.

This is best seen through the game’s revamped scoring system.

For those that have played the original Pokémon Snap, the photograph grading scheme will seem very familiar. However, there are a couple of tweaks to once again build on the idea of replayability.

The photographs that you take are graded based on a number of criteria, such as, its size in the frame, or whether there are other pokémon in the frame alongside it. However, a new addition this time round is the ‘pose’ star-rating mechanic.

The photographs that you take of each pokémon collate together to produce your very own Photodex. For each pokémon, there are four different pictures that you can store at a time. Each of these are separated by a Star Rating.

Very early on, you’re told that your aim should be to capture pokémon displaying odd behaviours, and the pictures you take of these behaviours will net you a higher star rating, from 1 Star to 4 Stars.

Therefore, not only are you endeavouring to photograph the 200+ pokémon in the new Lental Region, but trying to capture as unique moments as you can.

I think this is a great concept. It actively encourages repeat visits to areas to find what you missed out on and experiment with the utilisation of the various items at your disposal. 

Although, this isn’t without its drawbacks.

The way that the game operates with its research scores is that you only accrue more points to your Research Level with each new, or higher-graded photos. Therefore, you may find yourself at a point when you’re constantly revisiting the same level attempting to find better photo ops that just aren’t showing themselves.

Fortunately, this is where the Requests come into play.

Throughout the game, we will receive requests from members of the ensemble cast. These requests offer very little in the way of rewards – for the ones that actually offer something, that is.

What these requests do provide, however, are helpful hints and suggestions to guide you to find these more elusive photo ops.

Sadly, due to these alternate versions of levels and the research levels, one of the best aspects of the original Snap has been removed. In the original game, you actively had to accomplish certain obscure tasks in order to unlock new stages. Whereas, in New Pokémon Snap new stages unlock after completing a certain amount of story progress.

There are alternate routes through some levels, but it just doesn’t give the same calibre of excitement in discovery as the original game.

Ultimately, this is such a small quarrel for a game that gives so much more!

New Pokémon Snap is beyond a worthy entry to the series. It takes what made the original game stand out so much and re-energises it with a modern twist; once again showing that a Pokémon game need not be an RPG to be an excellent experience.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Time Logged by Point of Review: 13 Hours

Reviewed by: Sam

Thank you for reading our review of New Pokémon Snap. Have you had the chance to play it yet? If so, which do you prefer: the new or the original? Let us know!

If you haven’t played New Pokémon Snap yet, let us know if you think you’re going to pick it up.

If you’d like to read more of the reviews that we’ve posted on BlackDiscGaming, you can a link to all of the reviews we’ve done so far below:

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