After 21 years, gaming’s least violent on-rails shooter triumphantly returns to usher in a new generation of Pokémon paparazzi. New Pokémon Snap adds layers of complexity to the monster photo safari without straying too far from what made the original so damn lovable.
New Pokémon Snap tasks you with helping Professor Mirror and his research assistants explore the islands of the Lental region, cataloging its Pokémon population by taking snapshots of critters in the wild. It’s actually a rather cozy gig. You’re given a place to stay, top-of-the-line camera equipment, and an unlimited supply of fluffruit to throw at Pokémon to get their attention. You’re also given unlimited access to the NEO-ONE, a high-tech vehicle capable of teleportation and able to survive in the harshest of environments. You aren’t allowed to steer the NEO-ONE, only ride in it as it patrols set paths, giving every course in the game an amusement park ride feel.
Though developed by Bandai Namco Games, New Pokémon Snap is a Nintendo-published game, and early access to Nintendo games means there’s certain information I will not be able to impart over the course of this review. I can’t reveal the exact number of Pokémon in the game, the number of islands in the Lental region, or the number of photo-shooting courses and their variants. There are certain creatures I cannot mention, and aspects of the game’s story Nintendo would rather we keep under wraps until the game officially launches this Friday.