New Pokémon Snap for Nintendo Switch, a sequel to the 1999 Nintendo 64 classic, is out now. Reviewers have had some time playing the game, and while it's not a groundbreaking endeavor into the Lental region, it's largely a pleasant and laid back experience.
Currently, the game sits at an 80 on Metacritic (opens in new tab). That score could change as there are multiple reviews in progress.
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Either way, here's a roundup of some of the top reviews floating around on the internet to give you an idea of what people are saying about Pokémon Snap.
For reviewer Michael Goroff of EGM (opens in new tab), playing New Pokémon Snap was a revelatory moment. Growing up, he never understood the Pokémon craze. It wasn't until New Pokémon Snap, however, that he came to appreciate why the franchise is loved by so many.
Goroff enjoyed the graphics, world and lively animations of each Pokémon. He also found the gameplay loop of replaying levels in pursuit of that perfect shot to be satisfying.
The takeaway: "New Pokémon Snap might be one of the most thoroughly pleasant games that’s come out for the Switch, if not ever. While the core gameplay is the same as it was in 1999, everything about the 2021 game is better. The environments are visual delights, the Pokémon are lovingly recreated, and the progression and pacing are just right. If the hobby of gaming has started to feel like a second or third job, then New Pokémon Snap might just be the vacation you need."
The Gamer (4/5)
Cian Maher over at The Gamer (opens in new tab) enjoyed his time in New Pokémon Snap. Even though the game is a lighter version of an on-rails shooter, Maher found the game to be packed with content and personality. Maher would often go through levels just to take in the scenery before planning a second run to get in his shots. It's a meditative process, which is probably not too dissimilar to why wildlife photographers do what they do.
That's not to say the game is without its flaws, according to Maher, who found thatl oading screens are a nuisance and there's some repeat dialogue and animations.
The takeaway: "I’m not sure I’d recommend it to someone who can’t tell Bagon from Beldum, but if you’re a born and bred Pokémon fan, New Pokémon Snap could be your sleeper hit of the year."
Will Greenwald at PCMag (opens in new tab) enjoyed his time with New Pokémon Snap. The new courses, of which there are double than that of the original, had branching paths that kept Greenwald interested throughout.
Greenwald notes that while it's possible to finish New Pokémon Snap in eight hours, that would be doing the game a disservice. Levels are meant to be toyed with multiple times, all in the hopes of getting that perfect snap.
The takeaway: "New Pokémon Snap's gameplay is an acquired taste, and it can be repetitive at times, but it’s still a fun, engaging romp in the world of Pokémon."
Jenae Sitzes over at Gamespot (opens in new tab) has been a longtime Pokémon Snap fan. Like actual wildlife photography, the Pokémon Snap series charms by allowing players to capture moments they weren't supposed to see.
Sitzes was most excited about exploring the new levels. She found environments so densely packed with life that it could lead to "sensory overload" for players going through on their first run.
Sitzes did note that the game's scoring system felt a bit arbitrary. What she thought to be a perfect four-star photo would sometimes fall short. She found the emphasis was on behavior rather than ideal framing.
A new feature in New Pokémon Snap is the ability to reframe photos and edit them with filters similar to those found on Snapchat or Instagram. Sitzes found this experience to be incredibly fun.
The takeaway: "Twenty years later, taking photos of Pokémon in the wild remains as fun and exhilarating as it always was, and though it's been a long time coming, New Pokémon Snap was worth the wait."
The Guardian (3/5)
Longtime games journalist Keza MacDonald reviewed New Pokémon Snap for The Guardian (opens in new tab). For her, the appeal of the Pokémon Snap series is that it delights in the fantasy of humans being able to co-exist peacefully with imaginative quirky creatures.
She did feel the game had too slow of a pace, with a lot of going back-and-forth between Professor Mirror and the next level. The story also felt superfluous and the gameplay loop lost its appeal after a while.
The takeaway: "It is still enjoyable, because the Pokémon themselves are so interesting to look at; it’s just not wildly exciting. It’s a laid-back game and one that offers many hours of gentle photographic research to anyone drawn to Pokémon’s weird world – whether you’re a veteran of 90s Pokémania, or a nine-year-old newly captured by its charm."