Nintendo just released “New Pokemon Snap” yesterday, just in time for the weekend. I spent a few hours last night learning the ropes and taking my first few photos. Here’s what I learned so far, and also what I think of this game. I did indeed also play the original Pokemon Snap back on Nintendo N64. But to be honest, I haven’t played it in so long that I don’t feel confident or comfortable enough to compare and contrast how each game differs. Maybe after I get bored of New Pokemon Snap, I’ll go back and replay the original one again.
The New Pokemon Snap game is a lot of fun with new online features that make it a bit more competitive than previous installments in this series. You can share your favorite 6 photos on your online profile, and view other people’s photos. If you like a photo you can give the player a “sweet badge”. There’s also online ranking for overall photodex scores.
Aside from the online scoreboards though, the gameplay is very casual and laid back. And the game is TOTALLY giving me Jurassic Park vibes… the vehicle thing looks almost EXACTLY like the one in Jurassic Park OMG. Anyone else? Or just me? It doesn’t help that the first rare pokemon you encounter is Megalodon which is a giant brontosaurus looking creature. haha. But hey I like the retro Jurassic Park vibe.
But don’t worry – unlike the creatures in Jurassic Park, the Pokemon are quite friendly thus far (about 5 hours into the game). There is a bit of a story, but to be honest it’s pretty weak. But again I’m only 5 hours in. There’s also a little bit of voice acting too in some scenes. And while not all lines are voiced, the voice acting I did hear, was surprisingly fairly decent honestly. Plus if it annoys you too much, you can switch to Japanese voices and/or turn off the voices completely so you have options. Options are always a plus.
If you never played the classic Pokemon Snap game on N64, you’re probably curious to know what the gameplay is actually like in the New Pokemon Snap game for Nintendo Switch. It’s quite different from most Pokemon Games, and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I think it fits in nicely on my blog here, which focuses heavily on casual games for girls.
The gist of gameplay is simple, but the finesse to get the perfect timed photo is a bit challenging. And some pokemon are rarer than others. Gameplay starts out with a brief introduction of the research lab. Here you meet the professor and his assistant. And later other characters will come to join you as well. It’s the goal of the research center to study Pokemon in their natural habitat and to better understand how Pokemon behave in the wild. It’s your job to help the professor with his research by going out and photographing Pokemon at various park locations around the map. More locations open up gradually upon completion of various goals and tasks.
Once you enter a park location, you are constantly moving. As I briefly mentioned above, you’re in a vehicle quite similar to the ones in Jurassic Park. There’s no way to change speed, or control where the vehicle is going. And also no way to stop. So to get the perfect photo, you have to be fast, lucky, and observant. You can look up, down, all around, complete 360 degrees, to try and find Pokemon that might be hiding.
Later in the game you’re given some tools to help lure Pokemon out more easily. Things like fruit, or the scanner. You can spam both of these pretty often, but some Pokemon are scared of them and will run away, while others will be more curious and come closer. You have to learn when to be more quiet and when to try to actively draw the attention of the Pokemon.
So I promised some tips, so this is what I have for you.
New Pokemon Snap Tips For The Perfect Photo:
- Bigger is better – but not too big – Zoom in, or wait to get closer, but don’t cut off any part of the Pokemon
- Center the Pokemon in the middle of your camera
- More Pokemon is better for bonus points
- Don’t be afraid of 1 star photos – 1 star doesn’t mean bad. And you actually need all the stars, 1 through 4 to complete each Pokemon’s page in the photodex
- Scan with X and follow the arrows to find hidden objects
- Objects of interest can be photographed after being identified with the scanner. Snap photos of things like flowers and ruins to let the Professor study them back in the lab.
- You will gradually unlock filters and other things to make your photos even more unique
- Pokemon behaving unusually will get higher stars – Think of things like a Magikarp jumping, or Hit an animal with fresh fruit to see what happens. Maybe you’ll wake him up, or get a reaction you don’t expect.
- Be careful not to spam too many photos of the same Pokemon, because you will run out of film. Time it carefully and wait for the best moment to take your photo.
- Don’t be afraid of taking bad photos, you can always replace them later with better ones, and bad photos still help you fill up the Photodex and earn some points
- Different Pokemon appear at different times, day or night, and as the area levels up too. So keep going back to revisit old locations to see what’s new!
That’s it for my Pokemon tips – I am not far in the game myself, so no expert by any means. Leave me a comment and share your best New Pokemon Snap Tips at the end of our review.
As the gameplay goes on, you meet more characters wanting to research Pokemon and you learn about ancient ruins and mysterious flowers that cause the pokemon to glow at night with mysterious powers. You will earn titles, team badges, and new bling for your profile.
There’s also quests you can take to get even more goodies. For example some want a specific photo of a specific pokemon working, eating, resting, and so on. These quests send you back to places you’ve already visited and even if you already had the perfect photo, sorry you have to do it again. Example, I had already hit a Hoot Hoot with an apple and saw both his legs. Later a quest came up to photo his legs, and I couldn’t complete it without getting another similar photo.
Things like that are a minor annoyance. I also think this game could have been probably a mobile game really because it’s so casual, but honestly, I’m glad it’s on the Nintendo Switch instead.
Story, characters, graphics, music and voice acting, are all kinda meh? Not the best of any Pokemon Game ever that’s for sure? But not the worst? This game definitely focuses more on gameplay though than anything else. My main gripe with the graphics is sometimes they can look pixelated? I think you can see what I mean in a few of my screenshots here along the way reading this article.
Another thing I would have liked to have seen would be ability to dressup and customize the appearance of our playable character which has been a staple in Pokemon Games for at least a decade now. I know most of the time your player character isn’t even on the screen. But I still would have liked that feature. It’s a feature I always look forward to in the Pokemon games.
I’m 4-5 hours in and I haven’t yet been able to upgrade my camera or my vehicle? I don’t know if that ever happens in this game but seems like it would have been a nice feature? Like burst shots for camera, or telephoto zoom lens, or brakes for the vehicle for x amount of seconds, or I dunno, something like that? I haven’t seen anything to really help me improve the photos except for stuff to throw at the pokemon lol.
But yet, despite any of its flaws, the New Pokemon Snap game on Nintendo Switch is incredibly addictive and incredibly fun! I love it. I really recommend checking it out if casual games are your thing.
Here’s the bottom line for how I’d rate the New Pokemon Snap:
Geeky: 3/5 – Uhm yeah this game is extremely casual, so for most gamers, it’s not gonna be their cup of tea. There’s no battling, no death, and really no end game. I can maybe give it a point or two for the online ranking system I guess which makes it at least a little bit more competitive than the original Pokemon Snap. Also, Pokemon in itself is a geeky franchise, loved by Geeks all over the world. And research and science are a nice geeky theme for an already geeky game.
Sweetie: 4/5 – For us girls though, casual is the sweet spot for most of us gamer girls, so I think my readers will really love this game. Taking photos of cute pokemon in brightly colored environments is awesome. I did deduct a point though for not being able to customize our characters and for not having much of a story.
Gameplay: 8/10 – Let’s be clear, New Pokemon Snap is definitely missing a few things to offer variety and customization and options in terms of gameplay. But on the other hand, there’s no denying that what it does do – which is let you ride in a moving ball taking photos of pokemon – it does well. The desire to continuously get more and better photos drives up the desire to keep playing this game. The fact that content unlocks gradually also makes gameplay that lasts. The quests system keeps players returning to previous locations to get the required photos. Although it would be nice if the quest would auto-complete if you’ve already taken those photos. The online ranking seems fun – but they need a way to make the medals and ranking tangible by giving in-game items or some other things. Otherwise, it’s just fluff.
Graphics: 6/10 – Beautiful, Cute, and Funny – but also Pixelated at times, and ranging from never ending movement in the parks, to stiff almost clay-like NPCs back in the lab. I also docked some points since we can’t customize our player character which seems like a step back from previous Pokemon Games. Although I do understand our player character is rarely ever on the screen.
Music: 6/10 – Manages to not be annoying, but still overall feels too forgettable, and sometimes repetitive. Yeah it’s a miss for me.
Voice Acting: 10/10 – While not every line is voiced, the voices that were in the game were surprisingly mostly well voiced and well cast. If you still don’t like the voices you can turn them off or switch to Japanese.
Story: 5/10 – Uh well – there’s a story, you’re a research assistant and helping a professor and his assistant, some other people show up. They’re mostly interested in these glowing flowers that cause Pokemon to glow at night with mysterious powers. And something about ancient ruins. And something about another researcher 100 years ago. But it’s all quite vague and not very interesting – sorry, it’s not. I can’t rate this high when there’s so many better RPGs to play for story. Pokemon Snap is a game you play for Gameplay, but not for Story.
Characters: 8/10 – I do like the characters, but without much story, there’s no character development. The characters don’t grow or change, and remain pretty much the same throughout. But the voice acting does help bring them to life and they do seem quite human with the youngsters showing over excitement, jealousy, hyperness, and other traits. They’re well rounded. It’s not a bunch of mary janes. So I do like that. I just wish there was more story. Like I said I’m only 5 hours in, so maybe prematurely judging it.
Replay Value: 10/10 – Nothing else like it, except the first Pokemon Snap back on N64. It’s a slow gradual game, with no real end game. You can keep going back. New Pokemon appear as areas level up. It’s nice and casual and a break from maybe more intense games. I find it very addictive. And the online ranking system does offer some competition too.
Uniqueness: 10/10 – Adding this in to pad the review a little bit – but as I said – there’s really nothing else like this. There is a game I backed on kickstarter that’s inspired by the original Pokemon Snap. I can’t recall the name right now. But overall yeah, really nothing else at all remotely like this except the original Pokemon Snap from my childhood.
Cuteness: 10/10 – Again just to pad the score – who doesn’t love cute Pokemon