New Pokemon Snap sees you setting off on an ambitious ecological survey at the request of Professor Mirror. Around the many islands of the Lental Region are a vast variety of environments: lush jungles, coral reefs, volcanos, deserts, haunted forests, and even mysterious ancient ruins! However, IGN beware as there are a grand total of 3 ocean courses, which feels a little repetitive but each delivers its own unique experience. Along the way there are hundreds of Pokemon species to add to your photodex, spanning all 8 generations of Pokemon from small and cute to large and threatening.
The choice of Pokemon featured in this game is a little strange, many fan favourites are present but a surprising few are omitted such as Greninja and Lucario, even though they would have felt perfectly at home in New Pokemon Snap. And the eclectic mix of ‘mons just keeps the surprises coming as you unlock more and more courses. A personal favourite was finding a Snom hanging from the ceiling of a cave just chatting away with a passing Froslass, absolute perfection in game design if you ask me.
To fill in the pages of the photodex you have to snap each Pokemon in 4 increasingly rarer poses, keeping you coming back to each course. On top of this, as you score points with your photos you can level up the courses, unlocking new routes and rarer, more powerful Pokemon.
The gameplay is wonderfully calming and the art style is simply gorgeous. While some textures are a little off, namely the grass, and the shadows definitely need some work (just look under any Vivillon), the vista’s are absolutely breathtaking. The maps you traverse are intricate and hide a plethora of secret routes and hidden pokemon interactions that you can discover at your own pace. As you progress you begin to uncover the secrets behind “Illumina Pokemon”: rare glowing pokemon that have some link to a meteorite that fell hundreds of years ago. It is your task to hunt down and snap a photo of these rare Illumina Pokemon across the Lental islands. For a game that I was expecting to have no story at all, exploring this new phenomenon and uncovering the secrets behind it was tremendously fun.
Having reached the end of the main story I can say with certainty, and without exaggeration, that this is my personal favourite Pokemon spin-off title. After picking it up on release I was glued to my switch until the credits rolled. Seeing pokemon exist out in the wild makes the child in me scream with excitement. And so to anyone who played Pokemon as a kid, especially if they played the original Pokemon Snap, this game is an absolute must have.