New Pokémon Snap is surely long awaited for the fans. For the rest of us, it’s a fun and well executed but a bit too simple game.
For those of you who were not gamers in the 90’s, we can tell you that Nintendo 64 was a giant thing when it was released. The Japanese giant’s response to competing SEGA Saturn (which was short-lived) was a huge success and introduced, among other things, the first Mario in 3D (Mario 64). Another game that got a fan base then was Pokémon Snap, a kind of photo simulator in a Pokémon environment. The phenomenon of collecting pocket monsters completely exploded in the 90’s, on Nintendo 64, and even if Snap never became a massive success, many fans have long been waiting for a sequel. It can be said that we have now got in New Pokémon Snap to Nintendo Switch – which maybe should be called Pokémon Snap 2, for the sake of clarity?
The game is about you as a Pokémon hunter going on a pocket monster safari and trying to photograph as many Pokémon as you can, in as cool image sections as possible. Preferably several at once and preferably that you use special objects to influence the monsters to behave in a certain way to capture the image. Basically is New Pokémon Snap a kind of family-friendly rail-shooter, where you automatically move around a predetermined path and try to score as many targets as you can with the camera. You can zoom for extra nice pictures, which gives extra points, but you can only deliver one picture per round of the same Pokémon – which makes many replays of the same course a requirement for maximum payout.
Like most things that come from Nintendo, so have New Pokémon Snap a high minimum level. The game idea is very simple, easy to pick up and get started with. Pokémon have a tendency to create collector mania and you initially like to replay to improve your result and catch that one or those the pocket monsters in the best pose. At the same time, the scope of the mechanics is almost a bit of a mini-game and there is a small question mark about who the game is really aimed at – we would say older children, who are the right target group for the gathering but also because it requires some dexterity. The editorial staff’s youngest mini-reviewers, aged three and four, thought it was too difficult, for example. And adults can certainly have fun with this too – at least for a while, but the question is how long does it take before the concept starts to feel a little too repetitive and ja well, limited?
Technically, as usual, there is nothing to complain about. The graphics are clean and nice, the controls work great (both movement and via buttons) and here is the classic setting with “gotta catch them all” which has proven to work over decades (most recently a few years ago with the AR game Pokémon GO). Possibly the full price feels a bit salty for a game that might have been better suited as a DLC or a simpler release of around SEK 300. But at the same time it is a good game, which is supposed to make the fans happy and not least all those who have been waiting for a sequel for all these years. If you belong to that group, it’s not a snack – go out and buy immediately. Everyone else can possibly wait for a sale or try before buying.