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New Pokémon Snap Review

New Pokémon Snap Review

Since the Switch’s arrival, Nintendo has done its best to bring ideas and franchises from its past. Metroid Prime remains keenly anticipated after almost a decade of waiting, Wii Fit was polished up into the fancier Ring Fit Adventure. It has become something of an era of revisiting. Pokémon Snap was the most recent to get the treatment, bringing our total Pokémon releases on the console to 10.

As a kid, the original Pokémon Snap was a charming game that often lacked a lot of value after a few hours of play. It brought those cute little creatures alive in a way my little mind had never seen before but ultimately left a lot to be desired as a game when I revisited it as an adult some years later. New Pokémon Snap, despite providing more content to try and add longevity to the game, still struggles on the same path as its predecessor.

That’s not a claim that the game is awful. This is possibly the best Pokémon has ever looked, regardless of console or series. Everything looks brilliant, to a point where it just drives how much of a visual disappointment Sword/Shield were. Although it may not be a part of the mainline Pokémon games, it’s still an upgrade the fans of the franchise have clamoured for since the series first came to the Switch. With new, upgraded Switch rumours swirling every week, there’s still potential for New Pokémon Snap to grow even more visually.

The graphical discussion is an important one for New Pokémon Snap. Not only is this game a sign that GameFreak can and must do better with the series’ mainline games in the future, but it’s also a game that relies heavily on the scenic areas the player is presented with. When out in the wild, every area of this game is gorgeous - something that is only further confirmed during any of the night phases of an area. It’s a shame then, that the most eye-catching game in the series’ history falls flat in regard to gameplay and replay value.

We can all appreciate that a game centred on photographing wildlife has the potential to quickly overstay its welcome, and New Pokémon Snap does its absolute best to negate that. Sadly, it doesn’t quite deliver, with the game quickly becoming a tedious grind long before you’ve seen most of your favourite Pokémon. Despite implementing a plethora of add-ons to extend the games shelf life, New Pokémon Snap often falls back into the cycle of being a plodding, on-rails shooter.

For some people, this game will work as a relaxing experience after a hard day, but there’s really not a lot to it. A big issue with New Pokémon Snap is the overall implementation of the actual photography. Everything feels sluggish, which is hard to understand because this is a game that should excel on the Nintendo Switch. Despite the clear compatibility between game and console, New Pokémon Snap fails to pull anything more than the bare minimum out of the Nintendo Switch. Despite an introduction to new hardware, where the game should thrive, it somehow ends up feeling more archaic than ever.

One thing New Pokémon Snap gets right compared to previous iterations is helping the player understand how to take good images and what the games are looking for when grading your photos. I have no real-life photography experience outside of quickly snapping a blurred group photo at family gatherings, yet within a couple of cycles of photo taking, I was beginning to pull in the high star ratings. In honesty, the star rating and scoring system is probably the only area of the game that offers any kind of replay value. Each Pokémon you snap has a high score, correlating with the best image you’ve taken of them, which is something you can return to and try to improve at any time.

Earlier portions of the game allow for a great variety, with players earning new gadgets periodically to keep them interested in the next thing. The first couple of hours are good for that, giving the players a clear goal to work towards. All that new stuff dries up suddenly, meaning the only focus is based on new maps to stagger through. Working towards those new maps is a chore though, mostly relying on you playing the old maps again, either at a different time or with a slightly altered route. Doing the same thing a few times to unlock a new thing to do something else a few times is a burden, making it hard to want to push on through the game's typical Pokémon story.

A fair few things could have alleviated this game from its overbearing boredom. Most obviously, there’s a distinct lack of multiplayer - locally or online. Working together or battling out for the better scores are just two additions that could have added so much depth to a game begging for more content.

When my time with New Pokémon Snap was over, it was hard to shake the feeling of mediocrity. On one hand, the Pokémon we’ve grown to love over the years have never looked so good. On the other, the game quickly descends into a dull, repetitive wildlife photography game. Credit where it’s due to the game, even after a few hours of playing, it still gave amazing moments, but those moments become few and far between once the early game magic has worn off. All things considered, Bandai Namco did their best to make an interactive Pokémon world, but the genre as a whole doesn’t really embrace excitement. The reality of New Pokémon Snap is; this an optional mini-game dressed up as a full-priced Nintendo Switch game.

5.00/10 5

New Pokémon Snap (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)

The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.

A middle of the road performance for New Pokémon Snap. It will certainly find its niche, and anyone who considers themselves a big Pokémon fan will come away from this game grinning about some really beautiful moments. The biggest issue with New Pokémon Snap is that there is no reason to stick around after the first couple of hours.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Adam Kerr

Adam Kerr

Staff Writer

Doesn't talk about Persona to avoid screaming in anger

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