What’s So Great About Pokemon Snap?

In 1999, the cutesy Pokemon spin-off game Pokemon Snap released on the Nintendo 64. Armed with just your camera and sense of adventure, this game saw you riding on a cart through the many areas of Pokemon Island, snapping pictures of every unique creature you can uncover. Despite the game receiving plenty of critical acclaim and a significant fan-base, developer HAL Laboratory and publisher Nintendo have never shown interest in making a sequel. That said, you can see Pokemon Snap‘s influence in games like Pokemon GO and Pokemon Let’s Go: Pikachu, as these games offered a more streamlined Pokemon experience focused on adventuring over battling. Now, after a nearly 20-year hiatus, Nintendo has announced a fresh Snap adventure in the form of New Pokemon Snap on the Nintendo Switch.

While we’re super excited about this sequel to one of our favorite cult-classic N64 games, this also presents a great opportunity to take a look at the original game and find out what it did so well. We’ve got tons of hopes and dreams for New Pokemon Snap on the Nintendo Switch, but before we talk about that, let’s take a look at the game that started it all.

What’s So Great About Pokemon Snap?

If you’ve never gotten the chance to play the 1999 original Pokemon Snap, don’t feel too bad. Apart from the intoxicating levels of charm and the unique photo-snapping gameplay, Pokemon Snap isn’t a remarkably complex game for its time. Playing as a young and brave photographer, you link up with Professor Oak, a classic character from the original Pokemon games. Professor Oak acts as your guide through Pokemon Island, an oasis of beauty and variety, where the cuddly (and occasionally fearsome) Pokemon frolic naturally. Using the Professor’s specialized on-rails buggy, you’ll take a leisurely ride through seven beautiful levels. By filling up your film roll with shots of the native Pokemon, you’ll help Professor Oak with his scientific research and theories.

After you’ve taken a trip through one of the game’s lush areas, you’ll pick which photos you want to show to Professor Oak. There are over 60 unique Pokemon in the game, so as long as your vigilant, you shouldn’t have too big of an issue snapping a picture of them all. However, your photos are rated based on a few aspects, so nailing the perfect shot is a bit harder than it seems. In addition to gaining points based on the size and positioning of the Pokemon, you’ll also receive bonuses and multipliers depending on what pose they are in. As you earn more points, you’ll unlock a variety of useful items that help you nab the ideal photo as well as force shy Pokemon out of hiding.

3 Things We Want in New Pokemon Snap

During a “Pokemon Presents” stream in June, Nintendo announced a brand new Pokemon Snap sequel, which is an absolute dream-come-true for many Nintendo fans. Debuting with a short, 60-second long trailer, there’s already a lot to love about New Pokemon Snap. The charming sequel seems to be sticking to the formula established in the original game, encouraging you to discover the secrets of Pokemon Island through your camera lens. That said, the original Pokemon Snap is nearly 20-years old, so there are definitely a few changes we’d like to see.

1. Double (or Triple) the Pokemon

When you take into consideration that the original Pokemon games contained 151 unique Pokemon, the fact that only roughly 60 made it into Pokemon Snap is kind of disappointing. Judging by the looks of the debut trailer for New Pokemon Snap, it seems like the game will contain a good variety of Pokemon spread across the many generations of releases. With over 850 Pokemon to choose from, we’re hoping that New Pokemon Snap has a much bigger total number. The game will likely feature an abundance of creatures from Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, but we’d like to see some classic and underrated Pokemon pop up as well.

2. More Intricate Puzzles

As you made progress in the original Pokemon Snap, you’d unlock items like the apple-shaped Pokemon Food, or the gaseous Pester Ball. In addition to helping you manipulate the Pokemon for a better photo, these items could be used in some unique ways. Using the items, you could unlock new paths and shortcuts, find special Pokemon poses, and more. While the original game made great use of these items, we’d love to see even more complex puzzles and hidden secrets for us to tinker with. Trying to find the various hidden secrets was one of our favorite parts of the original game, so doubling down on that mechanic would be splendid.

3. Gyroscopic Photography

Although we’re not the biggest fans of motion controls, they can heighten immersion and create a unique experience when used properly. Since the Nintendo Switch is fully outfitted with gyroscope sensors and motion controls, it would be awesome to swing around in real-life, using the console as our porthole into the virtual world. Sure, getting the best shot might be a bit tougher when your hands are shaking with excitement, but we think the trade-off would be worth it. While we still fully expect a classic control scheme that’s reminiscent of the first game, we wouldn’t mind a bit of motion control as a secondary option.

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By: Matt   Matt started gaming at two years old with Wolfenstein 3D on the PC. His early days of gaming were spent on classic NES and DOS titles, growing his love for both retro action and point ‘n click adventure games. Matt is the creator of Super Gamesite 64 and he especially enjoys doling out the end-of-year awards. When he’s not playing the latest release for review, you can find Matt gobbling up movies and TV shows. Matt has a love for every aspect of gaming, and will surely be tapping away for as long as possible.