New Pokémon Snap Nintendo Switch Review

New Pokémon Snap is an excellent sequel to the N64 classic and if you're a fan of the original you'll love this.

By Grayshadow, Posted 03 May 2021

Since releasing on the N64 Pokemon Snap has been a cult classic among gamers and after going dormant for decades we finally got a new game called New Pokemon Snap. The concepts in this new installment are the same as the original, take pictures of Pokemon in the best possible way with small tools provided to the player. It's a relaxing and often engaging experience as you try to capture that perfect moment but obtuse grind goals often create artificial barriers that hinder the experience. New Pokemon Snap gives players more of what made the N64 classic such a hit but could've used fewer grinding requirements.

New Pokemon Snap,Nintendo,

New Pokemon Snap has players taking control of a mute custom character traveling to the Lental region to investigate a new type of glowing Pokemon. The vegetation appears to be affecting the Pokemon in this region with this cosmetic glow and you must take pictures, gather research, and attempt to solve this mystery alongside your handler Professor Mirror. It's a basic story that propels the game forward with very little depth but the narrative isn't why people came for New Pokemon Snap. It's about taking pictures and you'll meet a familiar face along the way.

Much of New Pokemon Snap's concepts remain loyal to the original game. You're placed on an on-rails route and can take a variety of pictures of Pokemon during this route. As you progress through the game new tools are provided such as fruit, glowing orbs, music, and more to slightly alter the behavior of the Pokemon. The latest new tool is a scanning option that allows you to find hidden clues about Pokemon not yet documented and areas of interest. Each tool slightly alters the Pokemon's behavior for specific challenges or just to get that perfect picture. These challenges offer general clues of where and when the photo challenge is located and it's up to you to grab that image.

Each level has various stages that unlock as you gain experience for that specific stage. Each new variant offers slight changes to the route such as a different Pokemon layout or even new Pokemon including a night variant of the stage. This is a great addition as it promotes players to return to routes to see what they've missed as the game encourages you to look around and provides a great sense of exploration. This is unfortunately soured due to the grinding goals that reduce the encouragement to return to older routes to improve your skills but instead just to increase a number. The environmental diversity is strong with forests, volcanos, beaches, and more and each area has specific Pokemon themes so you'll have a general idea of what to expect.

New Pokemon Snap,Nintendo,

The game looks beautiful with an array of colors and atmospheric details. Each Pokemon has been intricately animated to be faithful to their Pokedex summary and will interact with the environment and other Pokemon, making each area feel like an actual ecosystem. Pokemon in the general area of the player move and act with fluid animations but further down you'll notice drops in the frame rate of those same animations.  The draw distance and skyboxes are not as well done, most likely due to the Switch's power. Such as the skybox in stages like Fireflow Volcano which looks like low-resolution photos.

After each route, you're rated based on your pictures from a 1-4 star rating that has a sub-point score. You only gain experience if the points from the new picture are above your older picture and you can only select 1 picture from a selection of images of each Pokemon or allow the game to auto-select for you. The issue comes when you realize the amount of experience to gain new levels becomes increasingly more vexing as the grind goal to obtain new levels becomes annoyingly high. 

New Pokemon Snap,Nintendo,

The grind goals become increasingly more apparent as you progress. The game essentially locks you down until these goals are met which aren't hard but just time-consuming. Often I would have to revisit stages 4-5 times just to claw my way to the next level and take pictures of the same Pokemon hoping it'll be enough to reach that new rank and progress forward. I wish the game simply combined the leveling system for each area to make more about you wanting to get that perfect picture and less about just getting that point goal.

The main boss locations are against Illumina Pokemon. These glowing Pokemon and require very specific photos as your goal are to learn why they're glowing. Some require specific actions to get expose them but like the other routes these are on-rails and you can return to them as many times as you want. However, due to the heavy grinding goals unlocking new levels for these stages are harder because of the limited Pokemon picture opportunities, limited to about 1-2 photos per completion, and hoping its points are higher than your previous picture.

New Pokemon Snap,Nintendo,

The controls are simple and effective. Each face button controls your various tools and you can zoom or take pictures at a distance. Changing position is quick and darting options are available if you need to change direction quickly. Motion controls are available and they work efficiently, allowing you to get that perfect position just as well as the traditional controls.

Perhaps the strangest addition is how players are required to have Nintendo Switch Online to share photos. It just seems like a strange addition considering this is a single-player game and it's just sharing photos. There's no active gameplay cooperative online function where players go on routes together here so it's just greedy to gatekeep what should be a free option with a premium membership. If a cooperative or competitive gameplay option existed in this title I would understand but this is just photo sharing.

New Pokemon Snap,Nintendo,

New Pokémon Snap was made for fans and provides more of the same experience from the previous title. There are more areas, opportunities to take photos, and environmental diversity to keep players coming back. It's annoying to see the most appealing option is locked away with a premium member but there are free options where you can share your photos online outside of Nintendo's servers. New Pokémon Snap is an excellent sequel to the N64 classic and if you're a fan of the original you'll love this.

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Switch
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): The Pokémon Company
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Photography
Release Date: 2021-04-30

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