Pokemon Snap – Game Review – The Good, The Bad

Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo 64 is one of the most iconic games from that era. Pokemon was the bees knees in the 90’s, it was absolutely everywhere and anything associated with the phenomenon sold like hot-cakes. So, when an on rails shooter released wherein you could take photos and get points for capturing your favorite Pokemon released for the 64, it was an instant classic.

Fast forward to 2021 and the much beloved Pokemon Snap finally gets a sequel. The Nintendo Switch version gets announced, and the internet loses it’s mind. Clearly if Nintendo’s intent was to cash in on people’s nostalgia, well, they’ve succeeded. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the game can stand up on it’s own two feet. Being nostalgic for the original game will only take Snap 2021 so far.

So, how does that sequel stack up against the original? Was the game worth the wait? How has the developer addressed the changes in both the Pokemon series and the industry in general? Strip all the nostalgia and hype away and is Snap 2021 a good game in its own right as a standalone experience. Well, we’re going to go through that right now and give you our impressions of both: the things that the new version of Snap does well, and the things it just doesn’t get right.


The Good:

  1. Relaxing gameplay
  2. Features work well with the Switch
  3. Pokemon Snap is now portable
  4. Fans finally get another Snap game

The Bad:

  1. Vast majority of Pokemon are missing
  2. On-rails feels clunky for the modern era
  3. Scoring is wildly inconsistent
  4. Gets old quite quickly
  5. Overpriced for the content
  6. Animations and graphics are awful

The Good – Relaxing Gameplay

I think that’s the point of Pokemon Snap. You can just sit down, relax, enjoy the slow pace of the ‘on-rails’ aspect of the game, and just shoot some photos of your favorite little critters. Everything about Snap 2021 is set to relax the player: the music, the aesthetic, the activity of your game-play is designed just to be a really chilled experience and this is something the game achieves as well as it desires.


The Bad – Vast Majority of Pokemon are missing

There are only 214 Pokemon in the new Snap game, out of a total of 898. So, it is highly likely that your favorite is in the 684 that have simply just been completely left out of the game. What does this mean? Well, the same thing happened in Sword and Shield and those games later charged the player money through DLC to access the Pokemon initially left out. It’s likely that if you want to snap pictures of your favorite in the future, it’s going to cost you money.


The Good – Features Work Well With the Switch

We simply didn’t have the opportunity to port the photos we took in the original game, but with the Switch release the player can take their photos and put them on their storage device and then the sky is the limit. Upload your favorite picture to your computer and use it as a desktop wallpaper, the technology of having the sequel on the Switch means that the possibilities are endless for using the photos you’ve taken in-game.


The Bad – On-Rails Feels Clunky for the Modern Era

The Nintendo 64 Version of the game was limited by the hardware, but that isn’t the case now. An opportunity to evolve the series and actually have the player being a roaming photographer exploring the land and snapping shots was absolutely an option. But, instead we’re stuck with another ‘On-Rails’ game in 2021, that doesn’t make any sense to me.


The Good – Pokemon Snap is Now Portable

If you wanted to play the original on the go, you’d have to be packing a generator and a TV in your backpack. Good luck with that. But, the latest iteration can literally be played anywhere. That is more praise for what Nintendo has achieved with it’s latest console rather than praise for the game itself, but nevertheless, playing Pokemon Snap anywhere feels good, and it deserves a mention.


The Bad – Scoring is Wildly Inconsistent

This one pretty much explains itself. The scoring system in Pokemon Snap 2021 doesn’t feel consistent whatsoever. You might take a picture that you yourself deem pretty underwhelming, or with a mistimed shot, and the game’s internal scoring will wildly praise you for your photographic ability. The same can be said for the inverse. You might get the perfect shot, only to be disappointed with an abysmal score. There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason.


The Good – Fans Finally Get Another Snap Game

This is what will move units. The powers that be over at Nintendo and The Pokemon Company genuinely listening to their fan-base of late. They haven’t quite hit the mark when it comes to execution of that desire, but they’re at least acknowledging the desire. People have wanted Pokemon Snap to be a series with regular iterations for a very long time, and finally their prayers have been answered. Only time will tell if the series will continue, but at least there’s something new for now.


The Bad – Gets Old Quite Quickly

Simply put, there just isn’t enough content. The entire experience feels like a mini-game that could have been tacked on to a properly executed JPRG Pokemon experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept, and I think that there is potential for a full Pokemon Snap stand-alone experience, but this simply isn’t that. It’s really simple, there’s no depth whatsoever, it feels phoned it, and gets boring fast. Which brings me to my next point …


The Bad – Overpriced for the Content

If I’m paying full price, I wanted a heck of a lot more content that Pokemon Snap 2021 has. I wouldn’t mind if there was a really expansive experience, with every Pokemon included, and some genuinely well thought out depth, a great region to explore, and a really exciting avenue for this spin-off to thrive in. But, as of right now, you’re paying way too much for which is an essentially a mini-game.

You’re not going to get value for money whatsoever if you pay full price for Snap 2021. Wait for a sale, and at that, a very good sale.


The Bad – Animations and Graphics are Awful

You’d think with the vast majority of the Pokemon cast being left out, this would mean that the developer would dedicate their time and resources into perfecting the ones they bothered to include. You’d be wrong.

The graphics looks extremely rough, and the animations look like animatronics from a carnival that went bankrupt a decade ago. What’s the excuse for this, considering there are so few Pokemon available? There isn’t one really, none that I can think of anyway. It makes the whole game feel rushed, and slapped together with no passion for the project.


Closing

That’s going to wrap things up for our initial impressions of the new Pokemon Snap game thus far. If you agree or disagree with any of the points we’ve made, we’d love to hear from you either on the MGN.gg blog, the YouTube channel, our new Discord that’s in the video description, or our new Twitter that is also in the video description.

Credits

ProgramFounding Writers
AuthorLuke Cowling
PublisherMGN
GamePokemon Snap

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