How in the world did it take this long for New Pokémon Snap to exist? The original Pokémon Snap has held a special place in fans’ hearts for over 20 years and they’ve practically been begging for more. Considering that it feels like there are as many Pokémon spin-offs as creatures themselves, the decision to wait this long is mind-boggling.
New Pokémon Snap is a delightful sequel that’s a perfect fit for the social media era. With tons of courses to explore and interactions to discover, it’s a laid-back amusement park ride that’s a worthy evolution of the original.
As a series (God, it feels good to finally call it a series), Pokémon Snap is almost the ideal implementation of the franchise. Rather than battling monsters, it lets players simply dive into their habitats and observe every precious behavior. While it’s a tragedy that Pokémon aren’t real, the photography simulator is a suitable vacation into their world.
For those who never grew up with a game that’s already old enough to drink, New Pokémon Snap is a first-person shooter– but not in the way you’re thinking. It’s a photography simulator where players leisurely ride across the new Lental region and snap pics of creatures as they pass by. It’s like taking a tour through a series of wholesome nature reserves.
The central photo mechanic works so well because it’s simple to understand, but gives dedicated players a lot of nuances to work with. The challenge comes from framing perfect compositions, not executing the basics. Just about anyone can pick it up and immediately understand how to play. It’s especially well-suited for our modern times where kids start using cameras at a young age thanks to smartphones. Photography is more drilled into our basic lives than ever and New Pokémon Snap puts those skills to the test.
Pokémon has always been a franchise with two distinct strengths. For RPG diehards, it’s a strategic game that can be fiercely competitive and complex. For those who just think Pikachu is dang cute, it’s just a good excuse to collect some creatures. New Pokémon Snap is a game custom-built for the latter, giving new meaning to “gotta catch ‘em all.”
To help players get their perfect shots, the game offers little tools that create different interactions. Toss a Fluffruit at a Pokémon and they’ll gleefully munch it, giving players a new pose to capture. Play a little music box and a Chandalure might twirl around in response. Each tool brings a layer of experimentation to the game that constantly rewards curiosity with consistently delightful results.
The slow, laid-back pace isn’t going to work for everyone. Like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it’s a cozy game that plays best when kicking back on the couch in handheld mode on a lazy weekend day. But as far as Pokémon games that try to appeal to casual fans go, it’s an ingenious twist on the franchise that turns something we do every day into the world’s most intuitive gameplay hook.
- On Nintendo Switch, there is a new Pokémon Snap game that is a good game but has bad visuals.
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