Back in 1999 during Pokémon’s First Generation a somewhat different game was released. It was like a rail shooter in that you moved along a set path but it worked like a nature photo shoot in the Pokémon world. Pokémon Snap was that game. Inside your auto moving vehicle you went through a small selection of courses with limited ways to interact with the Pokémon that went about in the wilderness away from trainers and tried to get the best shots of them and finally uncover a secret to the island. It was a short game you could complete in basically an hour but was popular and for many years the Pokémon fans were crying out for a sequel.
Last year while the world was burning (it still is) a sequel was finally announced showing new kinds of environments to explore and a selection of Pokémon to find in the wild from all 8 Generations. People were happy and for a few minutes even those people who constantly complain about Gen 8 were quiet… till they started complaining again as to why Gen 8 didn’t look like new Snap (here’s the answer people, it’s much easier to have preprogrammed interactions instead of 1000 playable characters with variable stats and move sets).
New Pokémon Snap is exactly what people who were fans of the original were hoping for. It’s got more Pokémon; more tracks more varieties of tracks and new ways to interact with those new Pokémon on new tracks (though the Pester Ball is gone).
There are the other little features that are there thanks to improvements in technology. Namely the ability to post your photos online, ether in the games own internet areas or through use of the Switch itself onto social media like Twitter. Heck you can even edit the photos after scoring is done, ether allowing you to get that photo centered just how you want it (done after scoring so it’s not cheating) zoomed in a little bit more, maybe add filters for a stylized look, or add wee stickers for an amusing little pic for your friends.
The amount of tracks has increased considerably and has far more interesting biomes like underwater. But it also lets you go into tracks at night, resulting in different interactions. As you gain more experience your rank in that track will go up resulting in other slight changes to the track and Pokémon behaviour.
So anyway to the actual game play. It’s very much the same as Classic Snap. There are however a few other elements. Rather than just having one category for each Pokémon, you get 4 different star rankings for behaviour each with their own entry into the Pokedex. So a Bidoof just walking about may be a one star photo, but suddenly equipping a jet pack and flying about shooting lasers out of its eyes could be a 4 star (as far as I’m aware that doesn’t happen, but don’t let me discourage you trying to get that to happen). This means each Pokémon gets 4 score totals and those scores help increase your experience on a track further allowing progression.
Items also return, the fruit returns allowing you to do a whole bunch of things from plain feeding, luring a Pokémon out of a far away area or just bonking them on the head. There is an other item I’m not telling you for spoiler reasons, a little music player and a scan feature (the game does a good job explaining those so I’ll let you find them). All of which you will need to find hidden interactions or routes.
Those that remember the end of Pokémon Snap will also be happy to learn that kind of challenge (no not the one finding landmarks… well kind of that comes back too) returns as a sort of puzzle boss like scenario but also there’s more than just the 1 (also that very challenge from the first game is back and you can find it after the main game).
Lastly the game is quite a bit longer than I was expecting, remembering how the first game was maybe an hour once you knew what to do but thankfully this game is much more packed with content it will keep you busy for a few days.. Until you decide you want to post up cute and silly pics online to cheer people up.