New Pokémon Snap is the perfect game for the here and now: a relaxing, wholesome adventure where you can kick back and spend some time just lazing around with a camera in a beautiful, Pokémon-filled world. It’s a game fans have been waiting on for 20 years, and it lives up to expectations in nearly every way.
To kick off your snap-happy safari, you’re given access to a camera and the NEO-ONE, an on-rails pod which allows you to glide through various Pokémon habitats, protected from harm. It’s a simple concept, but it’s one elevated by the gorgeous landscapes and Pokémon-filled locales you travel through in the game. This is one of the prettiest modern Pokémon games by far, and it’s filled with glittering colours, vivid fields, cool blues and beautiful sunsets.
If you’re looking a game to relax with, this is it.
You don’t even really need to be a Pokémon fan to enjoy it.
All you need to do is kick back, calm yourself and get your trigger finger ready.
New Pokémon Snap is filled with depth, and there’s plenty to see, do and discover while you’re exploring wild, gorgeous landscapes. You can easily spend 50+ hours in the game because there are so many ways to snap Pokémon and fill out your Photodex. There’s also way more locations in this game than in the original Pokémon Snap so if you’re worried about content, don’t be. This game will keep you busy for a good long while.
For each Pokémon in the game (and there are many), you’re required to grab four different photos based on a ⭐ rating.
One star photos are typically taken when a Pokémon is in a neutral pose (i.e. lounging, being calm, smiling or staring), while higher rated photos will include Pokémon performing a move or taking on a cute stance (dancing, laughing, starting a fire). The highest ⭐⭐⭐⭐ star photos are taken when a Pokémon is part of a unique phenomenon or interacts with another Pokémon in a strange way (i.e. Octillery turning its ink canons on a mean Seviper).
Once your photo is categorised on a star basis, it’s also ranked by Professor Mirror, the Pokémon professor of the Lental region. He’ll score it based on a few criteria including Pokémon pose, placement, size and whether or not they’re looking at the camera. This will then tally with your area score to determine if you can level up your location to see different Pokémon and behaviours.
You’ll need to perfect your photography skills if you want to level up, and this does require a fair amount of grinding and level repetition to grab the best shots. You can usually find new things to snap in each stage, so it’s not a major issue — but if you ever get stuck trying to get to the next level, it can be a frustration.
You’ll need to play through every stage multiple times to grab the perfect shots of each Pokémon and fill out all four-star slots in your Photodex. Some moments can only be found in higher-levelled stages while others will present themselves to players with a keen eye.
This system means you’re constantly on the lookout for new and better shots, and that there’s a reason to go through and replay your favourite phases. After the sixth time you might find it repetitive, but those early retries remain magical.
As you play through each stage, you’ll unlock more world map areas to explore and new tools to help you discover better Pokémon poses. Illumina Orbs play a big part in this, as do the other tools you unlock over the course of the story. Alongside fluffruit, which can be thrown at Pokémon to get candid shots, you can also toss Illumina Orbs onto Pokémon to make them glow.
Some Pokémon like this and respond accordingly, while others will simply stare down the camera to mock you. Discovering which Pokémon respond to which stimuli is an important part of New Pokémon Snap and really elevates gameplay. It encourages you to try new tactics and interact with your environment in more engaging ways.
After 15 hours with the game, I’ve only just finished the main story, but that doesn’t mean my journey is over.
Even after the story concludes, there are new Pokémon to discover, new lands to explore, and plenty of secrets to find. The game’s absolutely brimming with content, and if you’re a fan of the franchise it’s likely you’ll have an absolute blast discovering every nook and cranny.
The world of New Pokémon Snap is teeming with life and there’s plenty to see, do and discover as you make your way through its beautiful, populous worlds.
After 20 years of waiting, Pokémon fans finally have a sequel worthy of the Pokémon Snap name.
New Pokémon Snap launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on April 30. If you’re keen for the game, make sure you block out the weekend for a wonderful, world-spanning safari. It’s worth it.