If you’re a Pokémon fan that has been around since the age of the Nintendo 64, then you almost definitely remember Pokemon Snap, one of the most interesting and beloved spinoffs of a franchise that mostly involves having superpowered animals fight. Despite so immensely popular, it took more than two decades for Nintendo to actually deem a sequel worthwhile, but it’s finally happened. By the end of next month, we’ll finally have our sequel to the original Pokemon Snap, and based on what we’ve seen from the preview demonstration, it seems to keep fairly well with the original formula.
Obviously, there’s still the alternate goal of photographing Pokemon as opposed to catching and battling with them. But we do have to repeat, this is a sequel, not a remake. So, there are some things that are really and truly new, though it’s not all mechanics-based. First up, the story takes place in the Lental region, an archipelago with diverse environments, in which a strange phenomenon is causing both plants and Pokemon to glow. This phenomenon is being investigated by one Professor Mirror, naturally, he’ll enlist the help of some young individuals (the players) to investigate the disturbance by photographing Pokemon in their natural habitats.
The gameplay demonstration that Nintendo provided focused mostly on a locale that was called The Blushing Beach. Much like that wonderful first level of the original Pokemon Snap, it too is a peaceful coastal beach location. Unlike the original game, however, every locale that you can visit in the new Pokemon Snap has both a day and night version, in which different Pokemon can be seen. There are some Pokemon that can be seen during both the day and the night, but they may be doing different activities, presenting even more photo opportunities.
Also identical to the original game is that the journey through each locale will be entirely on-rails. You travel around in a high-tech pod called the Neo One, which moves along a fixed virtual track through the areas, and you take pictures as you go. Also, like the original, you’ll have a variety of tools to help aid you in your photography adventure including fruits to lure Pokemon out of hiding, or special melodies that may make them react in unique ways for another photo.
Naturally, the Pokemon may interact with each other in special ways, depending on how you interact with them yourself. More notably, this new entry in the series will add some new tools as well. This includes a scan function that provides you with information about important parts of the environment, as well as the Pokemon around you. Pester balls have also been replaced with Illumina Orbs, which light things up, very useful for taking night pictures.
As before, pictures will be graded by Professor Mirror, based on a number of factors, such as the prominence of the Pokemon in the shot, how many are in the shot, and some other things. This time around though, pictures will have a star rating ranging from 1 to 4. Once the rating is over, you can add such pictures to your Pokedex. You can have four pictures of each Pokemon, one for each star rating. This is to encourage continuous snapping of various photos to get one each.
You can also edit pictures you’ve already taken, panning in and out, adding blur and other features, or using stickers and filters. Those don’t stay in the Pokedex, but you can save them in a separate album. Finally, there are research levels: the more you play in certain locales, the more points you’ll amass for them, and as your level increases, Pokemon may exhibit new behaviors to be photographed, among other things. Like the original game, the various locales will have alternate routes as well, if you know how to initiate them.
This New Pokemon Snap launches on April 30th for the Nintendo Switch. If you do want to use the game’s online sharing feature, you’ll need a Nintendo Switch Online Subscription.