Video Game Review: Pokémon Snap

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The return of a long-awaited Pokémon spinoff series is just around the corner, and it looks better than ever. 

Pokémon Snap is not your average Pokémon game; in lieu of catching, training, and battling Pokémon, Pokémon Snap is all about doing what people would actually do in a world with Pokémon: take pictures of them out in the wild doing cute, cool, or silly things. 

The game takes place in the Lentil Region, one of the few to host multiple regions’ worth of Pokémon in one place. It casts you as a member of the Research Team, a collection of individuals dedicated to recording information about Pokémon around the region. You do this with the help of a hovercraft called the Neo One and one seriously beefy camera. 

The gameplay consists of the Neo One carrying the player-character through the level’s environment on a fixed path, while the player uses a variety of items and angles to get as good a picture of any Pokémon they see as they can. The items you have consist of fluff-fruits, an apple-like fruit that causes the Pokémon it is thrown towards to react in a certain, photogenic way. This includes dancing, smiling, jumping, and any other activity that would get an Instagram cat profile hundreds of thousands of likes. 

Furthermore, there are Illumina-Orbs, which highlight the Pokémon they are used on in a lovely blue glow. These items are specific to the Lentil Region and have not appeared in any other game. The last ability that has been shown thus far is the onboard music box. This allows the player to play a little music, which will cause nearby Pokémon to dance or sing. These actions set the scene for some of the higher grade photos; this adds the replay value in the game, as will be mentioned later. 

The environments consist of deserts, oceans, forests, mountains, and plenty of others, and some blend into others within the same level. No matter where you are, you will never know what you will encounter. These courses also incentivize the player to replay them often, because, for each Pokémon in the game, there are four potential pictures that could be taken: one, two, three, and four-star photos. There are precious few ways to snag all four quality shots in one run, so wise use of these items and abilities is what will yield the highest probability of the rare four-star shots. 

The Pokémon Snap series, which has only recently become a series, got its start back in 1999 for the N64. That should demonstrate how much demand there was for this game, especially considering New Pokémon Snap is not a remaster, but a direct sequel to the first game. If anything, it gives me some hope that game developers are still paying attention to their audiences and what they are asking for. Games like these are the ones that give me faith in the game developing industry and dispel the nagging suspicion that they are all soulless corporations intent on making a quick buck from minimal effort and their fans’ nostalgia. New Pokémon Snap is releasing on April 30, and, though it seems more like a vacation than an adventure of a Pokémon game, it is going to make so many fans happy, that I cannot help but join in on the excitement. 

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