Do you want to be the very best like no one has been before? You catch it all by yourself, you know the danger? Do you maybe even roam the whole country and search far and wide for the Pokémon – to understand – what gives it this power? Then you are exactly right here! No, as the title suggests, of course, it's not about the next big Pokémon main game. Such a game is currently not announced (but it is very likely that the fourth generation remakes for the Switch and Pokémon legends: Arceues, also for the hybrid console).
No, instead we had the opportunity to take a closer look at another pocket monster game that was announced some time ago at an online preview event, namely New Pokémon Snap. We weren't able to play ourselves yet, but we got around 25 minutes of gameplay from the adventure game, and we also had the opportunity to ask our questions to a representative from The Pokémon Company. He was clearly trying to answer detailed questions very precisely – the same applies to the pre-produced video, in which the various gameplay elements were explained in detail.
But first of all it is important to explain what New Pokémon Snap (buy now € 59.90 )is at all. It may sound surprising to long-time Pokémon fans (aged 25+), but not every pocket monster player knows the original or the first part for the venerable Nintendo 64. Developed at the time by HAL Laboratory and in spring 1999 for Nintendos 64- Bit-Kiste appeared, Pokémon Snap had one particular powerful selling point: to display Pokémon in 3D and on the "big" screen.
Large in quotation marks because, at the end of the 1990s, tube televisions in four-to-three format were still common, and rarely had a screen diagonal greater than 60 centimeters. Yes, back then the size of a television was usually not given in inches. Nowadays, of course, quite different, as LCD and OLED devices over 55 inches (that's almost 140 centimeters, by the way!) Can be found in most households, 4K resolution, dynamic HDR image, smart features and the like are left aside . And they are also cheaper than many tube televisions at the time, but that's not the point here.
In other words: The basic requirements will be completely different in 2021, not only because of modern televisions, but also because of the Pokémon themselves. Little monsters in 3D, what should be special about it? Fair question given Current Pokémon titles such as Sword & Shield, where the pocket monsters are of course shown in three dimensions. But that was different in 1999, when a lot of imagination was necessary. All over the world, gamers were used to mostly single-color Game Boy graphics, in an 8-bit look. What triggers nostalgic joys nowadays was back then the tough reality of technical limitations. And so the experience of seeing the beloved little monsters (apart from anime series and films) on the "big" television in their natural habitats was felt to be lifelike (of course not really), a really impressive experience. And with that back to New Pokémon Snap: Of course, it doesn't work the way it did back then. So the game has to score with other advantages in order to convince.
The premise is still the same with the Switch Snap: As a newcomer to an island, you go on a photo safari through the different areas on behalf of a professor, who in this case goes by the name of Mirror. Wild Pokémon live there, and you have to take a picture of them in the best possible way. Your vehicle, the Neo-One, shows the way, so you don't really move freely in the game world. This has an advantage because you can fully concentrate on the Pokémon photography. You can control the camera via classic control with the left analog stick or optionally with motion control, zooming is also possible via the shoulder button.
You can encounter and photograph more than 200 different Pokémon, including special forms such as Alola Raichu. When working in the field, you don't just have to rely on the camera and the Neo-One, you can also use items such as the apple or a melody function to get the wild pocket monsters to do something special, for example to dance. That in turn makes your snapshots prettier. After one round, you face Professor Mirror and his rating of your photos, one to four stars are awarded for each picture, depending on the performance. A total of eight criteria are used, including, for example, the position, size and direction of the Pokémon.
The more photos of different monsters you shoot and have them rated, the higher your research level rises. This in turn unlocks completely new levels, as well as alternative routes to areas that are already accessible. You can explore the levels at different times of the day and night, which are not always the same. This means that while you discover a level, for example during the day or night, you can choose from midday and sunset during another, and night and sunrise during another. After every safari you have the opportunity to edit your photos and adjust brightness, focus, blurring, filters and more. In addition, stickers and frames are available to further embellish the pictures, and you can also assign a title.
You can optionally, but not necessarily, share online. You can assign and receive likes, particularly popular snapshots are presented to all players on a separate start page. In order to be able to use the online features, a paid Nintendo Switch online subscription necessary. Regardless of this, you can of course publish screenshots from the game directly on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter at the Switch system level in order to share your favorite moments from New Pokémon Snap with the world.
There is also a story, you could also call it the main task, as we learned in a question-and-answer session after the video presentation. Not too much has been revealed yet, but we have to go to New Pokémon Snap complete the so-called Fotodex, so to speak a Pokédex, only with photos instead of captured monsters. Since we're also dealing with a rival who goes by the name of Phil, there should be more story elements. Plus, there's Rita, Professor Mirror's research assistant. In any case, New Pokémon Snap is a pure single-player adventure, there is no multiplayer either locally or online. So if you were hoping to go on a photo safari as a couple, you have to look into the tube.
Speaking of looking into the tube: looking into the camera viewfinder and photographing the wild Pokémon should also be in New Pokémon Snap As much fun as it was on the Nintendo 64 over 20 years ago. During the 25-minute gameplay video, we always felt we were used to, namely the joy of portraying and staging well-known pocket monsters in a natural-looking environment. At first glance, the different times of day and night are a nice step forward. Not only do you meet different little monsters in the same levels, the atmosphere is always different. We got to feel that at the (presumably first) level "Blushing Beach", to which the video presentation was limited. The atmosphere is great, especially at night, and pretty snapshots are possible, also because Pokémon can be made to glow with the new Lumina balls. Anyone who owns a television or screen with adapted RBGW lighting will have a lot of fun with it.
How many different levels there are in the game, was unfortunately not revealed when asked at the preview event, there are probably as many as the N64 original, at that time seven areas were available. Each level can be explored on different routes, some of which you have to unlock first. Each route, the gameplay video conveyed, should be completed in under ten minutes. When asked, we were told that all levels were similar in size to "Blushing Beach". So it means: New Pokémon Snap It won't be the most extensive game of all time, but it doesn't have to be, because quantity is not synonymous with quality. And older players in particular with professional, family and other obligations may even be more than happy about it. In addition, the game shouldn't be particularly demanding or even difficult, we quickly got this impression at the online event. In addition to the nostalgic older Pokémon fans, the developers will definitely want to take the younger ones with them too. That should be with New Pokémon Snap succeed without any problems.
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