A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
With the goal of helping Professor Mirror with his research, patience and perseverance pay off. Though it may take several tries to capture the perfect moment on one's trusty camera, players are encouraged to experiment with different ways of getting the Pokemon's attention. In addition, Professor Mirror serves as a helpful mentor, providing guidelines and encouragement to players regardless of the quality of the images they bring back from each excursion.
Positive Role Models
As a passionate biologist who has devoted his life's work to understanding Pokemon better, Professor Mirror has taken many young photographers and junior scientists under his wing. Professor Mirror's intern, a young girl named Rita, is treated as the professor's equal, with Professor Mirror admitting that sometimes Rita knows more than he does about certain projects and photography tips.
Ease of Play
The play experience is extremely casual, though it can be tough to get the requested photos captured perfectly. There are many beginner-friendly tutorials and no penalties for attempting the same tasks many times. In fact, this is encouraged, as every visit gives players more EXP (experience points). This raises the research level in an area and actually means that the Pokemon who live there will be more comfortable being photographed.
Products & Purchases
This is a sequel to a 1999 N64 game of the same title and is part of the larger Pokemon universe, which includes everything from Pokemon cards to video games to stuffed animals. Players are never pressured to make any in-game purchases and there's currently no downloadable content (DLC) available for the title.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that New Pokemon Snap is an adventure game exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. The game's based off the classic N64 game, and unlike other Pokemon titles, you're not exploring environments to capture creatures. Instead, you're traveling through areas to take pictures of Pokemon in their natural environments. Thanks to your self-driving vehicle, the Neo-One, which provides an "on rails" experience (similar to an amusement park car ride), players can dedicate their attention to observing and shooting creatures. To assist you in lining up the perfect picture, you can toss food at the creatures, enticing them out of bushes or from behind rocks. Players will also be able to decide whether they want to explore a location during the day or night, which will affect the kinds of Pokemon that are active. You'll be able to add these shots to your Photodex, but you'll also be able to edit these pictures to suit your taste, such as reframing, filtering, and cropping pics. There's no inappropriate or questionable content in the game, although players may be interested in checking out other Pokemon titles after playing this one.
Is It Any Good?
This adventure is quite successful at capturing the simple, yet consistently effective appeal of the Pokemon franchise. Though this game is a sequel to a game released in 1999, enough time has passed to reasonably warrant a remake in New Pokemon Snap. Many players have never experienced this safari-like simulation before, making this feel like an entirely new experience with their beloved characters. But New Pokemon Snap is fitting as follow-up, reveling in the unpretentious joy of watching a Grookey eat some berries or run through a field of flowers with its friend, Pichu. The environments are beautiful, and since the quests provided by Professor Mirror and his team are open-ended and pressure-free, the gameplay experience is very relaxing. The controls are certainly beginner-friendly as well, as players really only have to master a zoom-in motion in addition to camera positioning to capture their photographs. While longer stretches of play can feel repetitive, this is something to keep in mind, instead of being a dealbreaker.
But it's also worth noting that this title has the same hefty price tag as a full-length Pokemon adventure. While sinking 40-50 hours into the main series installments is often pretty easy, New Pokemon Snap players may not all clock the same amount of time. Some gamers will become obsessed with filling their Photodex to 100% competition, but it's likely that other players may hit a wall of monotony after about 5-10 hours of playtime that they just won't want to invest the time in breaking past. Overall, it's the love for these creatures that fans of the franchise feel so deeply that carries New Pokemon Snap through. With a perfectly balanced mix of old and new faces to search for, there's always the giddy feeling that the next trip onto a course is going to be the best one yet. Though long-time fans have already technically seen Pokemon in their natural habitats either in previous games or in episodes of a Pokemon TV series, New Pokemon Snap is a chance to fall in love with the same wonderful and mysterious creatures yet again.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.