Pokémon Snap

Rating

A relaxing game I wish I hadn’t missed out on the first time.


Summary

➕ Super relaxing.
➕ Gorgeous graphics.
➖ It could be a bit more intuitive sometimes.


I don’t usually stay on the sofa in front of a console for many hours at a time, but this game had me.

My gaming habits are 90% PC gaming. I own both a handheld Switch and a TV-connected Switch, but aside from my debilitating Animal Crossing addiction, I usually only play Tetris on the handheld when I’m on the toilet (don’t judge me, we all do it… right? Right?!)

So it came as an incredible surprise when I installed Pokémon Snap on the big Switch, “just to see the graphics on the TV”, and then… just never stopped playing.

The game is so relaxing. I’m on the sofa, on the verge of falling asleep from cosiness.

But I guess I’ll take a break to tell you all about it.


Gameplay

The premise is very simple: you travel around to what I can only explain as a safari route, and your goal is to complete your Photodex (super original portmanteau of “photo” and “Pokédex”) by snapping photos of the Pokémon you run into.

At first, the Pokémon will be wary and your photos will be basic. After a while, by repeatedly grinding the same course, you will level up and the Pokémon will start to trust you more, resulting in more up close photos with cuter animations.

Levelling up courses unlocks more courses, and maybe you’ll even find some special Pokémon to photograph.
Not spoiling that yet, go find out for yourself! It becomes clear soon enough, and you’ll love it. I promise.

Every Pokémon has four photo slots in your Photodex – for one, two, three and four star ratings respectively. The amount of stars a photo gets, is largely based on the animation you’re photographing. Special animations get more stars.

Stars can be bronze, silver, gold or diamond depending on how many points the photo gets:

  • Score < 2,500 points for bronze;
  • Score between 2,500 and 3,500 points for silver;
  • Score between 3,500 and 4,000 points for gold; and
  • Score over 4,000 points for diamond.

These scores are based on several things:

  • the size of the Pokémon in your photo (more up close = more points);
  • the direction your Pokémon is facing (face to the camera = more points);
  • the pose it’s in (special animations = more points);
  • the Pokémon’s placement (smack dab in the middle = more points);
  • the background of the photo (special scenery = more points); and
  • any additional Pokémon that are also in the photo, as well as their poses.

That’s it.

The core mechanic of the game is taking great photos, completing your album with all the Pokémon species, preferably with four photos that all have diamond ratings for each Pokémon.

Not enough? That’s great, because there’s more!

Alongside the main story line of you photographing Pokémon to help a professor with his research (again, very original, but why fix it if isn’t broken, right?), you get your personal photo album to keep any photos you didn’t submit to your Photodex, and edit them with filters, frames, stickers, effects and captions.

Do you want to collect photos of gorgeous Pokémon against an equally gorgeous landscape? A great idea!

Or maybe you want to photograph every Pokémon in the game eating an apple?

Or maybe you’re a bit of an artist, and you wan’t to create abstract Pokémon pop art?

Or perhaps, editing these photos into Pokémon memes is your thing?

Also a very valid waste of time, I guess.

Other people can “like” the photos you put online. You can also get super competitive over the online ranking of total Photodex scores, check out other players’ profiles – there isn’t any direct multiplayer aspect (think Pokémon battles) in this game, but it’s fun to be connected, anyway.

Looking for a place to share your photos? 👇


Want to share your hype about this game with others?

Come find us at Open Gates, a Discord community where
a bunch of online friends talk about games and play together!


Tutorial

The tutorial is practically “on the job training”, which is fun and straight-forward enough.

The only issue I have, is that later in the game, when you get “stuck” not really knowing how to unlock the next bit, there are practically no suggestions or any guidance at all to get you through, which leaves you stuck until you accidentally find the solution and advance to the next course.


Graphics

Super gorgeous graphics, I was genuinely in awe of the view the first time I fired up the game on my TV.

Looking good is the whole premise of this game, so of course you’ll see new things everywhere you look.


Interface

The interface is simple enough. Every button on your controller does something (e.g. throw food, scan the area, play a sound…) that will result in the Pokémon reacting in a different way, allowing you to take different photos. Everything is explained rather well, with constant reminders of which button goes where.


Recommendation

👍 I’d absolutely recommend this game if you love Pokémon and are looking for a not-battle-y game for a change.
It is super chill and relaxing, just photographing Pokémon by day and editing them into memes by night.
This was my first time playing Pokémon Snap, and I wish I could go back in time and not miss out on the first one.


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