Reviews - Updated on April 3, 2022

Relevant for platform: NSW

Games in which you go on a safari seem to be an idea on the surface, but almost no one has tried to implement it. It is understandable – if you offer photo hunting on existing animals, then there should be a lot of them. Yes, and everyone needs to be drawn and animated, and hardly anyone will take on such a difficult project. With Pokemon in this regard, a little easier, if only because they are fictional. A similar experiment was carried out back in 1999 on the Nintendo 64, and now they tried again.

Do all the work for others

At the very beginning of the New Pokémon Snap, we find ourselves in the Lental region, where we meet Professor Mirror and his assistant. They work in a laboratory and their task is to study all types of Pokémon and learn more about them and the entire ecosystem of nearby islands. The character is immediately given a research camera, with the help of which they will have to photograph all the creatures they see, and the professor will evaluate these pictures and enter them into the photodex.

In the original, apart from the protagonist and the professor, there were no characters, so the plot was very sketchy. Here the situation has changed, but not much: new heroes have appeared, there are more videos, and some dialogues are even voiced – after Pokémon Sword it looks unusual. But the story clearly does not deserve to be played for its sake – as, indeed, in all Pokémon games. The professor, along with his assistants, is trying to understand the nature of large luminous Pokemon (in the original – illumina pokémon), so he doesn’t let him go to all the islands at once and everything needs to be studied gradually – that’s the whole story.

New Pokémon Snap: Overview

The story is not as serious as it seems at first.

Like in an amusement park

Much more important is the gameplay, and New Pokémon Snap succeeded largely due to the unique idea – it feels like they were able to get the most out of it. Getting to the level (there may be several of them within the island), we get into the vehicle and cannot control it in any way – it drives on its own. We just turn the camera in different directions and observe the living creatures by pressing the A button when we want to capture the moment. Trips take no more than five minutes, and they can be restarted or interrupted at any time.

Usually games about Pokemon do not allow you to see how these creatures behave in the wild. Top-down parts (including the already mentioned Sword or Let’s Go) are very limited in this regard – there all Pokémon live in tall grass or run out into the road in the hope that you will fight them and put them in your Poké Balls. But where can you see how laipards jump from stone to stone? How to look at an emolga jumping from branch to branch? Where to look at a bored kuagseer or a scorpion caught in a hurricane?

New Pokémon Snap: Overview

This and apples do not cheer.

New Pokémon Snap allows you to step into the world of Pokémon, watch them and learn how they live, and not just read descriptions. Here the Swan swims along with small ducklets under a stone bridge, here the buffalants graze in the meadow, here the pikipek knocks with its beak on the trunk of a tree or looks out of the hollow, here the shoals of mantins swim under the water, and next to it are quilfish and finneons. Everyone lives their own life, everyone has their own affairs, and we not only observe them, but we can also interact with everyone – for this, as the story progresses, we are given new items.

The scanner is needed in order to mark Pokémon nearby and take a closer look at objects in the location. A soft fruit (like an apple) allows you to throw in any direction. Instead of the flute from the last game, it’s just the ability to turn the music on and off. And glowing spheres, unique to each area, make Pokémon glow and “light up” the flowers that grow here and there. The locations are different – and the desert will be visited, and the jungle, and they will give you a swim under the water – but things always remain the same. Despite the fact that it seems that there are very few of them, they generate a lot of situations.

New Pokémon Snap: Overview

Almost perfect.

With the fruit, everything seems to be obvious – you throw it close to the Pokemon, and he starts eating it. With some creatures, this is indeed the case, but not with all. Some people get scared, some people don’t care. It’s better to throw fruit at someone – let them wake up or get angry. The same with the scanner – you just wanted to scan the area, and someone reacted to it in an unexpected way. Or music – one seems to hear nothing at all, while the other starts dancing. It happens that in order to achieve some kind of effect, you need to use one item every time you see a Pokémon on the way to the finish line.

It needed to be done.

A world full of secrets

For the most part, everything in the game is scripted – if the birds flew overhead at a certain point, then they will always fly like that. However, this world does not make it less alive, especially thanks to the many surprises that each individual location throws up. When you visit it for the first time, you see only a small fraction of what it really has to offer. The better your photos, the higher the level of the researcher, and the amount of living creatures depends on it. Plus, the locations have night versions, where creatures can be completely different, and those who slept during the day wake up after sunset.

Orders help to find the most interesting opportunities – the professor and other characters regularly throw them up, as if hinting to the player that, just traveling from start to finish, he does not really see anything. You’ll be asked to take a photo of a certain Pokémon when it’s laughing or standing on its front paw, or you’ll be asked to look for someone in tall grass. There are more difficult tasks – for example, to take a picture in which one Pokémon fights with another or grabs it and takes it somewhere. This is where experiments begin: you need to throw fruit at someone at the right time, somewhere you need to activate the scanner, attract someone with music, and so on.

For the sake of a good shot, you will have to repeat the process by restarting the expedition.

All this is complicated by the fact that the descriptions of assignments are sometimes too vague. One of them says that the pidjot bird does not approach people, but it can be attracted by fruit. It would seem – you throw the fruit so that she comes closer, and take a picture. But no, more action is required, but guess what. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t announce the completion of the task before you go to the lab and show the photos to the professor, so you’ll have to rely on your luck and just assume that you did everything right. Plus, if you have already taken the desired picture before receiving the task, the game will not take it into account and you will have to photograph the Pokemon again.

Work well

This is where the image rating system helps, which has changed a bit since the original. The number of points depends on several parameters. Posture is important – if the Pokémon is jumping or flying, it’s better than if it’s just standing. The size of the creature in the photo is important – if you took a picture from afar, then you will get few points. The direction of gaze is important – photos in which the creature is looking at the camera are especially highly valued. It is important whether the Pokémon in the picture is centered. Well, the environment matters – here the background is preferably beautiful, and it would be better to catch other Pokemon in the process of shooting. In the original, photos with several identical creatures were awarded bonus points, but here there is no such strange rule.

New Pokémon Snap: Overview

Without a normal background and other Pokémon, they give noticeably less points.

For each Pokémon in the photodex, you need to take four photos with different ratings. One star is given for an ordinary photo where the Pokemon is standing or walking somewhere – nothing happens there. But pictures with ratings from two to four stars are already more interesting – some kind of action is captured there, and in some cases it is these photos that are required in assignments. Although even without these tasks, sometimes it turns out to guess what is required of you. It all comes down to using items, and if they don’t help, then you just start to keep a close eye on the Pokémon and keep an eye on them – you never know what they will do when you turn your back.

Of course, the grading system is imperfect and sometimes fails. It happens that you took a beautiful picture that turned out better than the previous one, but the professor has vision problems and he gives a lower mark. Or for some reason, similar photos deserve a different number of stars. However, this does not spoil the impression, since it does not greatly affect progress, and in most cases you still agree with the expert’s assessments. But still, it’s a pity that out of the pictures taken during the expedition, you can only give one for each Pokémon – you always think that you would get more points if you chose the eighth photo instead of the sixth. However, this is also an insignificant trifle.

New Pokémon Snap: Overview

Before submitting photos, you can see how many stars they pull.

This was not the case in the 90s.

If the pictures seem particularly successful to you, you can edit them and save them to your album, after adjusting the brightness, focus, filters and a couple of other parameters. And after that, it will be possible to decorate the picture with additional elements – they are just given out for completing assignments. Frames, bonus filters, stickers – you can put a crown on someone or emphasize the dynamics with a frame with thin black stripes. Pictures can be saved to the console (and shared on social networks), or simply uploaded to the internal network, where other users can evaluate them, and you will gain inspiration for the next expedition.

New Pokémon Snap: Overview

You can’t upload offensive pictures, but this one doesn’t count as that, does it?

The result is a game that can captivate even those who have never noticed their love for photography. In all seriousness, you begin to select angles, monitor whether the Pokemon is in the center of the frame, try to catch the best moment – you don’t want the back of the Pokemon in the picture instead of the muzzle. Well, you try to improve the results – even among the pictures with one star, there are those that deserve only two thousand points, and there are much better ones, with four thousand. And I don’t want to have unsuccessful photos in the collection, although this, in fact, does not affect anything.

It’s very funny to play the game in handheld mode, turning in different directions along with the console – it feels like you really hold a camera in your hands and find yourself in an alternate reality. But, of course, you can also play in stationary mode – it is only desirable to increase the sensitivity of the sticks, otherwise the turns are too slow with the standard settings. But by pressing the cross, you can turn sharply on all four sides.

New Pokémon Snap: Overview

There are more than 200 Pokémon in the game, and in the last Snap there were only 63 of them.

The New Pokémon Snap is like the old sticker books – to fill them up, you had to buy packs with random content and hope there weren’t any duplicates. I had an album with animals as a child; however, it was not possible to collect the entire collection of stickers – which is a pity, for this there was a chance to win a car! The new “Pokemon” do not offer such a prize, but you can get all the pictures here without any extra investment. The Snap formula can be improved, and you don’t always agree with the decisions of the professor who evaluates the snapshots. But even in its current form, the game gives great pleasure and squeezes almost all the juice out of an unusual idea.

Pros: still an original idea that has been developed; the opportunity to observe two hundred Pokémon in the wild; a lot of secrets and surprises at each location that help you find numerous assignments; the region seems alive, despite the scripting of many elements; the process of improving photos and results is very exciting, as well as filling out an album; a sufficient set of settings for editing pictures.

Cons: descriptions of assignments are sometimes too vague, and it is difficult to guess how to solve puzzles; the professor is not always able to appreciate good photographs.

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