How Snap Makes Me Want to Love Pokémon Again

Love at first snap

Key Takeaways

  • New Pokémon Snap will release on April 30, 2021.
  • The new Pokémon Snap will offer better graphics and animations than previous Pokémon games.
  • It also will offer simple mechanics and a new mystery for players to solve.
A gamer playing a Pokémon game on Nintendo Switch.
Chesnot / Getty Images

After 20 years, Nintendo is finally reviving the cult classic Pokémon Snap, something the Pokémon franchise desperately needs now that it has made the jump to the Nintendo Switch.

Since its inception in 1996, Pokémon has grown and expanded, sparking a number of one-off titles and sequels. Perhaps the most iconic of these spin-offs though, was 1999’s Pokémon Snap

Snap took the monster-catching nature of the franchise and did away with it completely, instead focusing on an on-rails experience about taking photographs of different Pokémon. Now, with over 20 years of Pokémon titles in the rear view, a return to the simple mechanics with the new Pokémon Snap is exactly what the series needs to help refresh and push it forward.

Making Good

Nintendo’s history with gaming consoles over the years has been hit or miss, with the company often taking drastic approaches to make its console stand out from the competition.

With the Nintendo Switch, the gaming giant broke the mold again, offering a console that could be a home console connected to your television, while also being small enough to take with you on the go.

When Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield were first announced in 2019, everyone was excited to see how the Nintendo Switch would push the series further. Better graphics and animations were high on the list of things that the community expected, and when the new games released, fans and critics were disappointed.

A screenshot from the New Pokémon Snap game on Nintendo Switch.

Instead of taking full advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s hardware, Pokémon Sword and Shield offered the same simple animations and graphics as past titles had on much weaker handheld devices.

With Pokémon Snap, the series finally has a chance to make good on the promises fans were looking forward to with Sword and Shield. While not developed by Game Freak—the usual company behind Pokémon titles—Pokémon Snap could show us just how beautiful the Pokémon universe can be with an extra coat of paint and some extra screws.

By offering higher-fidelity graphics, the developer behind Snap, Bandai Namco, is giving players better animations. Visuals have been emphasized heavily during the teasers we’ve seen thus far, which could help future Pokémon titles break out of the box that it has been stuck in since the Gameboy days.

A different genre of game entirely, Pokémon Snap will do away with all the RPG mechanics that are native to the Pokémon franchise.

We’ve Got History

In 2002, when I was just 10 years old, my dad surprised my brother and I with a Nintendo 64. It was the second gaming console that we’d owned in my lifetime, and the one that really fueled my love for video games as a child.

He’d found the old console at a yard sale and had even managed to find a couple of games, including Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Pokémon Snap

It was the first time I’d ever heard the name Pokémon, and I was instantly drawn to the cute pictures of franchise icons like Pikachu. As we sat down to try out the console for the first time, I begged them to let me try out Pokémon Snap.

Eventually they gave in, and I soon was donning my camera and searching for Pokémon to take photos of as I worked to help Professor Oak complete his research.

A screenshot from Pokémon Snap on Nintendo Switch.

It gave me this beautiful, deep dive into a world that I’d never known existed. While I love the RPG mechanics of the main Pokémon titles, nothing ever has captured me quite as much as Pokémon Snap

After that, I explored other games in the franchise, even going back to experience the earlier generations of the series. Over the years, though, I’ve grown tired of the rinse and repeat of the same repetitive sequence in new locations.

With the power of the Nintendo Switch behind it, the new Pokémon Snap could be exactly what I’ve been wanting from the Pokémon franchise: a beautiful and inspiring world full of delightful Pokémon to learn about, as well as an intriguing mystery to help solve. 

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