We’ve known about it for months now, but it still feels weird to think that in just a few weeks we’re going to get another Pokémon Snap. The original achieved solid reviews and sold well, and is even seen as one of the more unique Pokémon spin-offs that we’ve ever seen.
In New Pokémon Snap, you’ll assume the role of a Pokémon Photographer as you explore the various islands within the Lental region. The Lental region differs slightly from what you’d expect to see in the mainline Pokémon games, with no new Pokémon being introduced this time around. Instead, you’ll come across a variety of Pokémon from past generations, such as Blastoise, Meganium, and Grookey to name a few.
The driving force behind your photography efforts is a new phenomenon within the Lental Region. Professor Mirror and his assistant Rita are studying the Illumina phenomenon, which results in Pokémon and plants emitting a glowing aura. When you load up New Pokémon Snap on launch day, you’ll soon find that Professor Mirror and Rita need your help in learning more about the Illumina phenomenon and what it might mean.
New Pokémon Snap follows the same premise as its predecessor with its key focus towards on-rails game mechanics. You’ll naturally progress through the level while you try to grab the best shots of Pokémon in the wild. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like the team is focused on modernising the experience of the original instead of reinventing the wheel, and I think that’s great. Fans have been longing for another Pokémon Snap for some time, so it seems natural for the team to craft an experience that feels familiar.
I’ve been going back over gameplay for both titles recently, and one of the features that I’m most excited about is just to see the Pokémon move. Recent entries into the franchise have allowed us to see Pokémon in the wild, but never to the extent that New Pokémon Snap will. I’m hoping that we’ll see a real display of a Pokémon’s character and personality in the game through their animations.
The quality of your photos will be measured through a star-rating system. Ultimately, you’ll want to achieve the most amount of stars, and certain factors can affect this. The Pokémon’s proximity to you, the angle, the pose, and more will all factor into the final rating of a photo. If you’re looking to get some great shots and unique poses, you might want to play a melody or toss a fluffruit!
There are also a variety of biomes to accommodate the different types of Pokémon in the game. Each biome looks bright and vibrant, with the team making use of some solid lighting effects to make everything pop. Unfortunately, I have noticed many low-res textures, particular on the ground and some trees. It might just be a matter of technical limitations due to the Switch hardware, but I’m hoping the team have either worked on these for the release build or they’re at least not as glaringly obvious as they might seem from the trailers.
For your favourite photos, New Pokémon Snap allows you to save them to your in-game album where you can edit them to make them even better. ‘Re-Snap Mode’ is a new tool where you can adjust the brightness, blur, zoom and other aspects of the photo, while also having the ability to share them online with your friends. This feature was highlighted in the most recent trailer, and while it’s not groundbreaking by any means, it looks like a useful little tool that will be fun for casual players to fiddle with, but great for more dedicated players to perfect their shots.
New Pokémon Snap is set to launch at the end of this month, and from what we’ve seen so far it’s shaping up to be a fitting sequel for a cult hit. The team is clearly putting in a lot of effort to create an experience that feels just like its predecessor, and while I’m not expecting the game to blow my mind, I’m looking forward to jumping in at launch.