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New Pokémon Snap: Every Photographer’s Dream Game

"Pokemon Snap" Original N64 vs Nintendo Switch - photograph taken by Shaheena Uddin

Roar writer Shaheena Uddin reviews New Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo Switch.

Having played and replayed the N64 version of Pokémon Snap “back in the day”, I can safely say it’s one of my favourite video games. It’s very underrated, and I was thrilled to hear that they were remaking it. The original was released in 1999, so it’s about time they updated it. If you like Pokémon and Photography, this is the perfect game for you! 

How it stacks up to the original

New Pokémon Snap Gameplay

Overall, I would say the remake contains the same playful essence of the original, just with 100x better graphics. The purpose of the game is essentially the same – to go on different nature courses, try to take the best photographs of Pokémon, and build up your Photodex. Essentially, you “Gotta Snap ‘Em all!”

The ranking system is relatively similar to the old game, as your photographs are still evaluated with Oak’s criteria (Pose, Size, Direction, Placement, Other Pokémon, Background). Yet the remake also adds a star rating which not only allows you more options to keep your photos, but makes it more of a challenge to collect pokémon photos in every number of stars.

The original items have mostly been kept intact, with the small exception of “the flute” being renamed “music player”, and the original “pester balls” being replaced with “illumina orbs” (probably to avoid associations with animal abuse). They have also added several easter eggs and nostalgic references to the original N64 game – so do look out for those!

What I like about this version is that it is no longer a game you can simply binge and finish in a day. You have to actually pace yourself because there’s so much to do. The new version also contains the same amount, if not more, of puzzles and challenges to solve, and these get progressively harder as the levels increase.

The “scan your surroundings” function is a nice touch. It gives you more info about mysterious objects and enhances your ability to spot hidden pokémon, so you don’t miss anything crucial. This also gives an opportunity for pokémon to react to your scan, which creates more potential for rare photographs.

I think the auto select button, a feature which analyses your best photos and selects them, is also very useful tool for speeding up the process of having to shift through all your snaps. But at the same time, it still gives you the creative freedom to manually choose your best photographs.

I also like that when you’re choosing between two pictures of the same Pokémon, it hovers over the highest rated one first (so there is less of a chance you’ll accidentally pick the one with fewer points) when you are skipping through. That was one part of the original I always found frustrating.

There is also way more of a mystery and storyline in this remake of the game, that the original game lacked. Not only do you feel part of a team and community in this version, you also feel the experience of being a real researcher and discoverer, as well as a nature photographer.

Other unique features include –

New Pokémon Snap Gameplay

  • Alternative routes & Nighttime play: This gives you the chance to explore the same region in both day and night. Within this, you also can unlock different routes which lead you down different pathways into meeting different pokémon. For this reason, the possibilities of this game, and the types of photographs you can take, seem endless!
    • Posting your photos online: I really like the social aspect of this element because it provides a great avenue for making memes or adding funny captions to your photographs. The game mimics social media, but it doesn’t feel annoying or braggy, like social media platforms normally do. It gives the option to post if you want to, but that is not a necessity.
    • More Pokémon than ever before: This game includes pokémon from every single generation and region!
    • Exceptional quality graphics: Beautiful scenes of nature are displayed in this game, you really do feel like you are being transported to these incredible destinations. Travelling on the “NEO-One” reminds me of a specific scene in the film “Zootopia”, where they are travelling through all the regions.
    • Subtle details: Even the subtle details incorporated into the menu screen are well thought out – for example, the loading icon is a “crystal bloom” unfolding. Each region has its own set of colours and backgrounds, too. I also noticed how the Voluca island (the sand/volcano region) seems to resemble an Onyx, and the research lab has a Pidgey wind dial, which is super cute!
    • Possibility to expand: What I love already about the idea of this game is that they have even more possibility to potentially expand it through expansion packs of new maps, routes, and so on. There is so much Nintendo could do with this game, and I’m excited to see where they take it in the future.
Anything I didn’t like? 

New Pokémon Snap Gameplay

  • Characters: Some of the kid characters are annoying and loud. Although I do enjoy the anime trope of Professor Mirror’s reflective glasses. I still do miss Professor Oak and his “wonderful” comments.
  • Saving:  Sometimes, when I’m playing the game, it doesn’t feel like my photos have been saved in my album because there is no visible save button (you have to simply press back and it does it automatically). I know the Switch has a very fancy auto-save system, but I like the satisfaction of having a save button. Otherwise, my brain gets anxious that I will have lost a platinum four-star photo, because I didn’t click save. I also wish the album function was incorporated into the “send professor” part, so that I don’t have to go through my photos twice every time.
  • Soundtrack: The old soundtrack was the one (particularly Professor Oak’s Lab theme). This new updated soundtrack is a bit dead, in my opinion. It’s not as catchy and fun as the original. The sound effects in this new game could be better too. Every time I look through my photos, it sounds like a confused “Despicable Me” Minion, and after a while it gets very annoying.
  • Editing: One of the features I like is the use of stickers and filters to edit your photos, but I wish I could submit my edited photos to Professor Mirror. Although that may be considered cheating, I think it should be allowed, because in real life when you enter photography competitions, you are allowed to edit them before you submit.
  • Photo album: I’m an incredibly indecisive person, so I want to be able to submit more than six photos on my page. I wish they sorted photos in album by stars/colours rather than date, because it makes it much easier to sift through the best photos.
  • Single player – I really wish they added a multi-player, split screen function, or perhaps some mini-games. It would have taken this game to a whole new level.

All of these are small areas that Nintendo could potentially work on and improve when they update the game.

Overall verdict – Is it worth your money?

NEW Pokémon Snap Gameplay

I would say it is definitely worth your money and time. I found it relatively cheap on OfferGames and I was very pleased with my purchase. Even if you’re not into Pokémon that much, I would still recommend it, because it’s a really nice, fun game to have. The gameplay is super calming and relaxing, but also challenging, because there are so many mysteries and puzzles to solve. When you finally unlock a new level or figure out how to bring a pokémon quite literally “out of their shell”, it is incredibly rewarding. This game is also perfect for those who are still in lockdown/quarantining, or people who prefer to stay at home anyway.

My personal favourite photos I’ve taken

Just to give you an idea of the possibilities available…

Some accounts I liked

If you’re looking for a new Switch game to add to your collection, why not give the NEW Pokemon Snap a try? Watch the trailer for NEW Pokemon Snap here.

English BA Student. Cat person. Tea addict.

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