What’s New in Pokemon Snap?

When I saw a Pokemon Snap poster hanging in the window of GameStop, I became really excited. Pokemon Snap was one of my favorite games to play on the N64. The premise is simple and the game is straight-forward, but I can’t get enough of it. One of my favorite parts about Pokemon Snap was getting to see a world where Pokemon lived and interacted with one another. Getting to feel immersed in their world was a huge selling point and I was hopeful that the new one would give me that same feeling.

I’m going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. I’m going to at least give you an idea of the structure of the game versus how the old one operated. Granted, it has been decades since I played the original Pokemon Snap so my memory may not be exactly accurate.

The new Pokemon Snap is a lot like the original, but it is completely and utterly SATURATED with Pokemon. In the old Pokemon Snap, you learn who shows up where, what they are gonna do, and how you can influence them. Armed with your treats, pester balls, and a Pokeflute, you can force Pokemon to evolve, create interactions, and lure Pokemon to props to capture the perfect picture. While you have tools you earn as you progress in this game, there are slight modifications to these assets in the new Pokemon Snap. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the treats aren’t as effective as they were in the original. I feel like the Pokemon are on a delay responding to them and I miss the approach of the old school pester balls.

As is standard with many Pokemon games, there’s a professor, a friend, and an arch rival. Like the original, there are numerous zones to explore with different types of Pokemon inhabiting each. The difference now is that these zones can be leveled and some can be explored during different times of day. As you go through taking pictures, you’ll accumulate experience and gain access to new paths in the same zone. New Pokemon may appear, new behaviors and interactions can be observed, and you’re always on the lookout for what has changed. Like I said, the zones are completely saturated with Pokemon. You will not be able to get pictures of every single one each time. You’re constantly looking around trying to find that unique shot and you will need to visit several times.

Another difference is in the collecting of photos. Now, I’m rusty on this aspect, but I’m pretty sure the original didn’t operate like this. Each Pokemon has an entry in a photodex. Each page has room for 4 photos that are ranked 1 star through 4 stars. This encourages you to go back through zones and find those special moments that rake in the points. Additionally, there are photo challenges in each zone. You earn titles, photo frames (you can edit your photos afterwards), and other flair.

So, is it good? If you’re a fan of the original game, I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of this. As an old-timer, I don’t know all the Pokemon in this game. Pokemon Go has refreshed me on some of them, but you’ll find Pokemon that span across the generations as you explore the zones. From what I can tell, this game does not include tricks for evolving Pokemon, but I haven’t beaten it, so who knows what the future holds.

I am about 10 hours in so far and I am enjoying it. I’m sure there are many secrets to uncover still and I am going to try to keep playing without reading any spoilers or other reviews. If you enjoy the world of Pokemon, I think you’ll enjoy Pokemon Snap.

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