New Pokemon Snap review: Got me reeling

Nintendo /

Title: New Pokemon Snap
Developer: BANDAI NAMCO Studios
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Release Date: April 30, 2021

I’ve legit been waiting for this day for a long time. A long, long time. As a huge fan of the original Pokemon Snap on Nintendo 64, I woke up this morning to three different alarms reminding me it was Snap day. And I’m pleased to say, the wait has been worth it. New Pokemon Snap on Nintendo Switch is everything I had hoped for and surprisingly more.

While the basic gameplay is largely the same as the original, there’s a lot that has changed and been improved upon. New Pokemon Snap takes an already great game concept and modernizes it with new features.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the Pokemon actually make realistic noises. It’s silly, but I love it.

It’s not the weird thing from the cartoon where they’re just screaming their names over and over again but actual animal sounds and it makes the world seem so much more natural — especially when you’re in the game listening for growls and chirps.

The progression of the game is the perfect level of carrot as well. It seems like I was constantly unlocking things that had multiple uses. Even your scanner, which can be used to find hidden paths, items or to get information, lets out an audible chime when used that will either scare away some Pokemon or get their attention so they look at you. The fruit can be used to bait Pokemon closer, bonk them or hit things in their environment to trigger events. Everything has a purpose and the game is constantly giving you new things.

The game is constantly introducing new areas for you to explore. Even if the map looks small, I can’t stress enough how many different ways there are to explore.

New Pokémon Snap
Nintendo /

Even without discovering any other ways to go explore an area, you can choose to visit during the day or night. The time of day has its own Pokemon and behaviors with it. The better you do, the higher your level in that area gets.

Choosing different levels also changes what Pokemon appear and what they do. Bouffalant on a one-star run can be seen off in the distance but when you get two stars they all come really close and appear in multiple spots. A two-star run might also introduce you to a grumpy Tangrowth if you’re willing to look over your shoulder enough.

New Pokemon Snap
Nintendo /

And every stage is like this. Even if you eliminate the option to take multiple routes, you’re looking at four different star runs of each stage. With the day or night option, you’ve got eight different ways to go through the same path of each level. Combine that with the paths, with your various tools, and there’s a lot to see here.

Not only that, but the professor doesn’t just want one picture of each Pokemon. If you want to fill your “Photodex,” you need four pictures of differing quality. Luckily, he’s pretty cool about letting you know his scoring process.

Here’s Professor Mirror rating my gorgeous Florges.

As time goes on, you can also do things like edit your photos with a bunch of stickers and upload your creations to the internet via a public sharing platform where you can view a lot of really cool pictures other people have submitted (as well as a lot of Bidoofs in sunglasses).

The only thing that gets me with the game is that after you have your camera given to you, they gush over how it can also be used as a scanner and a communication device (you know, like every smartphone). And then they casually throw you in your flying machine that can turn invisible, go underwater and teleport. Professor Mirror, it’s cool that you like photography but your ass literally made a teleporting vehicle. That is world-changing, son!.

New Pokemon Snap is out now on Nintendo Switch there’s honestly no better casual, chill experience out there.

New Pokémon Snap. 9.5. While the graphics are slightly lackluster in small areas, like grass, New Pokémon Snap is gorgeous as a whole. The controls are solid, the design is adorable, and the game gives you a wealth of tools to work with. Combined with the fact that each path has more than eight ways to go about it and the professor wants four pictures of each Pokemon, you end up with something that has more replay value than I thought would ever be possible. And that’s coming from someone who still pops in the Nintendo 64 original. This is such a pleasant surprise that I was hyped for this game and it still exceeded my expectations.. Nintendo.