New Pokemon Snap Review: Could the Nintendo Switch sequel benefit from a refocus?

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New Pokemon Snap Nintendo Switch Review (Image: NINTENDO)

When Nintendo announced plans to release a new Pokemon Snap game for Nintendo Switch, I knew it could go one of two ways: either Ninty would completely overhaul the entire system and gameplay style, or the developers would revamp the original concept alone.

Unsurprisingly, Nintendo chose the latter and decided that instead of messing with a great formula, the original Nintendo 64 game was near perfect. The good news is, the new one is just as good.

If you were a fan of the original N64 game, you’ll be thrilled to learn that New Pokemon Snap is much, much more of the same.

Professor Mirror enables your character to take pictures of Pokemon in a mysterious part of the world.

The game starts by sending players to beautiful farm and jungle regions where they can take pictures of their favorite furry creatures for points while riding the NEO-ONE (a floating vehicle).

The transport is again on rails. While this doesn’t interfere with the game in any way, it’s a bit disappointing that fans can’t roam the Pokemon habitats freely. This is the only part of the game that feels a bit dated.

Photos of the pocket monsters are rated by Professor Mirror on an obscure scale, which – like its predecessor – makes absolutely no sense. A well-taken photo can somehow yield fewer points than a lens bad photo.

“Better” photos get more points, giving you access to more locations where you can take more photos. It’s an age-old loop, but one that’s simple enough to keep you satisfying and entertaining throughout the 8-10 hours of gameplay.

From beaches and deserts to the sea bed and an actual volcano, there are many beautiful locations to explore.

Even more exciting – and one of the few differences in New Pokemon Snap compared to its predecessor – is the ability to track down alternate routes.

It’s all possible thanks to the addition of a special sensor that allows you to discover hidden routes that give you access to otherwise invisible creatures.

The Fluff Fruit (apples) return and are used again as a method to take Pokemon out of hiding or endanger them. They are also used to annoy the monsters by throwing them directly at their heads for even more fun photos.

Pester Balls, meanwhile, have been replaced by Illumina Balls, which create special environmental effects.

The PokeFlute is also making a comeback, allowing you to send creatures to sleep, wake them up or make them dance.

Several Legendary and Mythical Pokemon are scattered throughout the story to keep players captivated, but the gameplay’s meat depends on the love of the franchise and its fictional animals.

And it’s easy to love a game when it looks that good. This may be the first time the Pokemon has been rendered in true high definition, with full 3D models (as opposed to the stuttering versions seen in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield).

While it was a magical feeling to see Pikachu up close and personal in the original game, New Pokemon Snap’s hi-fi visuals make the same moment even more special.

Fans of the original game will love New Pokemon Snap, despite the presence of one or two lingering frustrations.

The photo rating system is nonsensical and completely mind-boggling, to the point that it sometimes seems like it works randomly.

The fact that the game is on-rails and not an open world is another potential issue, although given the source material, it’s hardly a surprise.

Given the power of the Nintendo Switch compared to the N64, the inability to roam freely and shoot Pokemon feels like a missed opportunity, although there’s no guarantee it would have resulted in a superior game.

New Pokemon Snap is simply increasingly the same great idea. Pokemon go on crazy adventures in the world around you, as players take pictures, rinse and repeat.

It’s another great experience full of beautiful scenery and cute creatures. If you are a fan of Pokemon and you have a Nintendo Switch, this is another absolute must-buy!


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