Not everything is capturing Pokémon to put them to fight: this game puts you in the role of a photographer who captures their wildlife and how they act when nobody bothers them (or not much)
Pokémon is a saga with a multitude of versions, from movies and cartoon series to mobile applications or toys; but video games are still its main product. Specifically, the games that are released with two versions (such as Red or Blue, or more recently, Shield and Sword), but there are many other very beloved games even though they are not the protagonists.
New Pokémon Snap is perhaps the most original game of them all because it reverses many of the ideas posed by the originals. You don’t catch, fight, or travel the world accumulating stronger coaches’ medals. Here you just take photos. And the better the photos, the more you progress in the game and the more things you can do.
This is not an approach for everyone, since it seems that the most contemplative and calm video games (slow, some may say, but I do not agree with that idea) are more boring and have less things to do.
New Pokémon Snap is a Pokémon game more designed for those who enjoy Animal Crossing because there is a great element of relationship with the world that is explored and of contemplating those moments instead of ‘dominating’ them, which seems the most common in all video games .
Analyzing that world and being able to capture it in the best possible way with the camera is a fantastic challenge in itself. And although there are tools to force the moments we photograph to be more original or there is a clearer response from the Pokémon, in the end this is a matter of looking, pointing and taking a photo at the right time.
Progress is perhaps somewhat more complicated than I would like. You have to accumulate points by taking the best possible photos, which means repeating the maps often. Although these vary, both with accumulated experience and with the different routes that are being opened, it can be tedious at times. It is a game to take it easy.
You quickly get several tools, such as apples or radar, to attract the attention of Pokémon or to discover clues and secrets that allow you to take exceptional photos, but the process remains much the same throughout the adventure. It is not as if this were a bad thing, because each of the various maps of the archipelago that is explored there are many situations, many variants and possibilities of all kinds to take different photos.
And in turn, each creature of the more than 200 can be captured with at least four ratings (from one to four stars), and this without going to assess whether they are bronze or platinum stars.
Are you bored by all this I’m telling you? It’s okay, this game is not for you, but it is for me. I find a very particular pleasure in being a humble spectator of a fictional fauna that I just annoy about, like a photojournalist from another universe.
And like all photographic work, editing plays a large part in how good a photo can be. It is a pity that the game does not allow you to submit to score a photo that has been cropped so that the framing is better, although I understand that this is the case when you put filters or put a hat on the smiling Pikachu on duty.
New Pokémon Snap has adapted well some of the ways in which we understand modern photography, that is, photography on Instagram. It is a shame not to be able to share the photos on this social network, although on Twitter and Facebook this works very well through the system of the Nintendo Switch itself.
If you’ve played the original Nintendo 64 Pokémon Snap, you might be a bit disappointed that you can’t annoy Pokémon a bit more to get angry or evolve, as is the most iconic case of the Charmeleon that you push to evolve in a lava pit. . Times have changed and I understand the reasoning behind this change: it is tricky and can be annoying and even negatively affect the experience for many players with an increased sensitivity towards animal suffering. It is therefore logical that you cannot ‘mistreat’ the creatures the least bit beyond giving them an accidental slap with an apple.
In return, there are many improvements in the behavior of the Pokémon and many ways to interact a little with them, the most important being the Illumina phenomenon, whereby some special creatures can glow in the moonlight. Capturing them with the camera is a little challenge, but very satisfying.
After about 15 hours playing and having managed to see the credits of the game, I do not consider that I have finished with it because I have many better photos to take. But even if it only lasts that long, I think it’s a more than fantastic duration for a game like this.
If you recently praised the launch of Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch, a tremendous action game; I am also very happy that New Pokémon Snap exists and that my Twitter will be filled as of April 30 with fantastic photographs of Pokémon in the most varied situations. It’s a very different game, perfect for relaxing, and a product that Pokémon fans will appreciate.