Review New Pokémon Snap
New Pokémon Snap has been out for a little over a week now. I dedicated my spare time over that past week to play through New Pokémon Snap. Let me tell you about the experience. If you checked out my first impressions posting you know I was enjoying the game but it had some shortfalls. Some of these areas were redeemed, others not so much. Read more for a full review of New Pokémon Snap on the Nintendo Switch.
Section 1: The Story
In New Pokémon Snap players set off on a journey across the Lental Region. Professor Mirror has enlisted your help along with Rita and Phil(and Todd from the original game makes a cameo) to solve the mystery of Captain Vince and the Illumina Phenomenon. The journey will take players across a variety of environments such as; The Nature Park, Beach, Reef, Volcano, Jungle, and more. Players ride the self-driving NEO-ONE. A pod-like vehicle that navigates players through the land, water, caves, and other areas. All for the task of searching for Pokémon and clues to solve the Illumina mystery first researched by Captain Vince. Will you be able to finish the research that he started so long ago?
Section 2: Concept
As a Pokémon research assistant to Prof. Mirror, the player is responsible for going out to gather data for the Prof. by taking pictures of Pokémon in different areas demonstrating different behaviors. Throw fluff fruit to feed or badger the Pokémon to get unique pictures. Throwing Illumina Orbs creates a glow on Pokémon and often causes interesting behaviors to catch on camera. Use the Melody to lure Pokémon out of hiding, get them dancing, or wake them up presenting perfect photo ops. The scan tool serves to help players digest their surroundings and maybe find Ancient Ruins or alternate paths. Some Pokémon will even react to the Scan prompting them to do things they may not ordinarily do.
During each expedition, players are able to capture up to 72 photographs in a single trip. After each trip, players select one photo of each Pokémon to be submitted to the Prof. for grading. Pictures are broken down into a star system. The most common behaviors being rated one star and less common behaviors being awarded more. Aside from the stars, each photograph is also given a score. The score is based on the quality of the photo as it pertains to the criteria put forth by the Prof. The criteria include pose, size, direction, placement, other Pokémon, and background. Depending on the score the photo will be awarded Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Diamond status. The points earned from the photo contribute to the overall Photodex Score and toward leveling up the courses.
Review New Pokémon Snap
Section 3: Gameplay
If you played the original Pokémon Snap then the gameplay will feel very familiar. The NEO-ONE is stuck to a path that players have no control over as was the case with the ZERO-ONE in the original game. Pesterballs have been replaced by Fluff Fruit. The Pokéflute has been replaced by the Melody but the changes are trivial as the function and purpose remain unchanged. The camera movement seemed slow at first but I found that adjusting it in the settings resolved this issue. While taking photos was a breeze; the Burst mode made available late game is a welcomed addition to the repertoire.
The Lental region is broken down into five islands each with its own population of Pokémon and individual environments. As players accumulate higher course scores the course is leveled and new Pokémon or unique moments occur on each course. The islands are made up of a total of twenty-three courses; though many courses are the same course but presented in a day/night fashion allowing players to find different Pokémon. This is the part of the game I felt struggled to stay on par with the previous entry. I will certainly go back and play the original again to compare.
The levels are aesthetically pleasing in most cases but lack inspiration, creativity, and originality. The desert course for instance is just sprawling hills of brown sand with the occasional tornado and small oasis. The beach course, while beautiful, was rather bland and nothing special as far as beaches go. The reef was more of the same. Some of the late-game stages presented interesting parts but the moments that shined were far and few between.
Section 4: Summary
Overall I enjoyed my time with New Pokémon Snap. There is something really relaxing about the pace of play and the game style that takes off all the pressure of more serious or intense titles. It was a welcomed change of pace from the real world. The environments and dull yet repeating dialog loops are my main issue with the game. However, it makes up for its shortfalls in some ways. Such as the amount of Pokémon in the game as a whole. The cute and interesting behaviors and the way they interact with the player and each other keeps the player immersed in the experience. The story was interesting enough to give a reason to be doing the activities in the game but it did seem forced. The story took a back seat or was a means to an end when looking at the game as a whole.
As for the replayability of New Pokémon Snap is pretty decent particularly for the completionist out there. With 214 Pokémon to capture on camera and each needing a Diamond status photo for each star level, it could take some real time to fill out that Photodex. The online capabilities present some interesting incentives to continue to play as well. Players can like/share their own or other photos, edit photos for sharing, and compete on the leaderboards for Photodex and course scores. If that wasn’t enough the game also has 122 side quests to complete as well.
Section 5: Pros and Cons
- A fresh take on a classic game
- Lots of replayability – 214 Pokémon, 122 Sidequest, Online Leaderboards, and Photo editing
- Relaxing and enjoyable gameplay
- Mediocre level design
- Repetitive dialog and gameplay loops
- Kinda Short main game – Around 10hrs though this could double to 100% the game
My Review of New Pokémon Snap: 7/10
Buy Guide: $60 if your a fan of Pokémon or casual games – maybe wait for a sale price <$40 if you’re on the fence about it.
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