New Pokémon Snap reviews praise a chill but grindy reboot
New Pokémon Snap lives up to its legacy with one catch.
New Pokémon Snap is almost here, so the first reviews for it are rolling in.
It’s easily one of the most anticipated Nintendo games of the year. The original Pokémon Snap was a novel photography game for Nintendo 64. While it had a rough development, to this day there isn’t much else like its on-rails, creature photography gameplay.
Finally, fans have gotten their wish for a follow-up. So, was the wait worth it? According to reviewers, New Pokémon Snap meets expectations with just a few noteworthy hiccups.
New Pokémon Snap faithfully expands the subfranchise
Reception to New Pokémon Snap has been fairly positive, as the game currently sits at a score of 80 on Metacritic. “Whether you're photographing a Pokémon that burst out in front of you or zooming in to take a shot of one that's hidden in the distance, the sense of wonder and constant anticipation of what you'll see next in New Pokémon Snap is exhilarating,” Janae Sitzes says in her 8/10 review of the game on GameSpot.
That review praises the faithful modernization of the classic formula thanks to the addition of nighttime stages, the ability to save and edit photos for a personal album, and “requests” that will point the player in the right direction as they search for Pokémon.
Jon Cartwright also gave the game an 8/10 for Nintendo Life, loving the fact that “Snap presents Pokémon in their purest form; it lets Pokémon be Pokémon without any strings of battling attached — something no other entry even attempts.” These reviews make it clear that if you’re not a fan of turn-based RPGs but love the design of Pokémon, this game might be a better fit for you than upcoming games Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, and Legends: Arceus.
Rebekah Valentine surmises it nicely in her 8/10 review for IGN. “After a 22-year gap, New Pokémon Snap is a successful modern reinvention of all the best ideas of Pokémon Snap, with more courses, more Pokémon, and more reasons to revisit familiar spots in pursuit of the perfect shot,” she says.
New Pokémon Snap is a less-than-snappy grind
New Pokémon Snap isn’t a flawless game, as The Washington Post points out how it can feel like a grind at times as you constantly replay levels to get high-scoring images. “After my pride over the accolades that Mirror showered me with had faded, I was left with a strong feeling that I wasn’t having any fun,” Shannon Liao wrote, giving the game a 7/10.
“For a photography game, it could certainly be snappier.”
A 3-star review from The Guardian expresses frustration with the game’s grind as well. “Actually, the repetition in this chilled ecological surveillance started to get to me; for a photography game, it could certainly be snappier,” Keza MacDonald asserts.
Fanbyte’s Imran Khan also shared some negative impressions on Twitter, pointing out that the game can sometimes struggle to run well on the Nintendo Switch.
“There’s some real performance problems in the game,” he says. “One instance of a Wailord surfacing from the ocean drags the game down to 15 or so FPS.” (The rumored Nintendo Switch Pro can’t come any sooner, apparently.)
Overall, it appears the game is very faithful to the Pokémon Snap picture-taking grind, and if that repetition doesn’t sit well with someone, the game can get a bit boring.
Still, while some negative critiques of the game have emerged, the reception of New Pokémon Snap has still been largely warm. The sequel appears to retain the charm of the Nintendo 64 original while modernizing it for Switch. If you were on the fence about picking this game up, early reviews indicate that you should give it a shot.
New Pokémon Snap will be released for Nintendo Switch on April 30, 2021.