In today’s Console Corner, we review the new Pokemon Snap. More than 20 years after its release on the great Nintendo 64, Pokemon Snap finally has a sequel. But what’s the Nintendo Switch version like? Let’s take a look…
The unimaginatively named New Pokemon Snap has launched on Nintendo Switch. But for those of you who weren’t gaming (or born) in the 1990s or haven’t got into Pokemon until recently, here’s what the fuss is all about.
New Pokemon Snap review: Capture them all – on camera
New Pokemon Snap is what’s known as an on-rails first-person simulation. It takes us back to the true essence of Pokemon – finding and capturing them all – on camera.
You traverse the Lental region using an on-rails hovercraft and research Pokemon by photographing them.
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For research expeditions you travel in the Neo-One – if you played the original you’ll remember the Zero-One – to photograph Pokemon in their natural environment. Habitats include jungles, deserts and beaches. You can visit day or night with different Pokemon on show at different times.
Each photo you take is graded by Professor Mirror on a scale of one to four stars based on how rare the Pokemon’s activity is. Your photo is then awarded a score based on factors such as shot composition, how close the Pokemon was, and whether they’re facing the camera.
You save your favourite pics to the Photodex, which can hold up to four photos of each Pokemon (one at each rating).
All in the name of research
As you take higher-quality photos, you earn ‘expedition points’. These improve the ‘research level’ of each area in the Lental region. Higher research levels will open more levels to explore in that area.
And these areas are the crowning achievement in New Pokemon Snap.
The environments are gorgeous and feel genuinely alive – even though the life they’re teeming with are monsters.
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This is a wonderful interlude for Pokemon fans. It provides a new encounter with bags of secrets to uncover and plenty of longevity.
New Pokemon Snap is strangely rewarding and undoubtedly addictive in true Nintendo/Pokemon style.
You can edit photos and build an album of your favourites. This, for me, feels like the true core of the game rather than the bland scoring system.
New Pokemon Snap does justice to N64 original
Mission requests are a cool addition as you explore areas to uncover its secrets. The sense of discovery is fantastic and, as someone who played the N64 original, I can confidently say this does the 1999 hit justice.
My favourite part of New Pokemon Snap is trying to photograph at night. Like a night-time safari in your living room – or wherever you’re playing in hand-held mode – it’s great fun.
I struggled to follow the story at times, however, with the path not always clear – or that could be me! Some of the confusion comes when your photos are awarded high scores when you don’t feel they deserve it.
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Overall, it has to be said this is an excellent and faithful comeback for Snap. It’s packed full of content, new areas and concepts while retaining that element of nostalgia.
Levelling up courses rather than grinding out photo scores is where the fun’s really at in New Pokemon Snap. And, once again, Switch shows its charm and power by producing a vibrant ecosystem Pokemon fans will love.