Home Previews Exclusive New Pokémon Snap Preview – Back Behind The Lens

Exclusive New Pokémon Snap Preview – Back Behind The Lens

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Exclusive New Pokémon Snap Preview – Back Behind The Lens


Introduction

With Pokémon Red & Blue and the anime less than a years of age in the U.S., 1999’s Pokémon Snap on Nintendo 64 let gamers enter a totally brand-new function in the Pokémon world. Rather than taking a trip throughout the land, browsing everywhere for Pokémon to capture, train, and fight, gamers rather moved behind the electronic camera lens in an experience that brought the world of Pokémon to life in manner ins which were, to that point, unmatched. Now, more than 20 years later on, Pokémon Snap is lastly getting an act on Switch. Separated by 22 years and 3 complete console generations, New Pokémon Snap wants to keep the spirit of the initial while including brand-new folds to the formula. I had an opportunity to enjoy prolonged demonstrations and speak to the director, Haruki Suzaki, to see how this brand-new video game progresses the 1999 cult classic.

Capturing the Good Side

Capturing Pokémon’s Good Side

By 2021, we’ve experienced the Pokémon universe from numerous angles that I questioned if the Pokémon Snap formula would still feel unique. However, following my time with the video game, I’m when again delighted to get the electronic camera. Just like in the initial, you presume the function of a passionate professional photographer who takes a trip on established courses through numerous environments snapping pictures of Pokémon in their natural environments.

Keeping that standard formula was necessary to the advancement group at Bandai Namco Studios. Rather than transforming the wheel, the group rather searched for methods to improve, change, and boost. “I definitely wished to keep the structure of the base gameplay where everybody can have a good time simply taking a look at Pokémon flourishing in nature and taking pictures of them,” Suzaki states.

Suzaki has actually operated at Bandai Namco considering that 2002 and functioned as director of the business’s Pokémon combating video game, Pokkén Tournament. That video game debuted in games and Wii U, however has actually considering that made its method to Switch. Because of this, Suzaki has an eager gratitude of not just the Pokémon franchise, however likewise how the Switch can boost preexisting video games or series. With New Pokémon Snap, Suzaki wishes to provide on the capacity of the Switch hardware, offering gamers rich, lovely environments to move through as they take images of their preferred animals.

New Pokémon Snap

Of course, a lot has actually altered for the Pokémon franchise considering that 1999; not just have fitness instructors broadened their horizons far beyond Kanto, however the Pokédex has actually taken off from the initial 151 entries to the almost 900 that exist today. While Sword & Shield did not consist of every Pokémon, which stays a questionable subject, that topic is more tasty when it pertains to spin-off video games like Snap.

According to Suzaki, the style of photographing Pokémon in their natural environments functioned as the group’s guide. “The choice of Pokémon was genuinely hard,” he states. “My vision was to produce a world where you can really think of wild Pokémon flourishing in their natural environments and community. At initially, we thought of Pokémon’s natural environments and interesting landscapes and climates to research. Then, we narrowed down our choices by balancing out how different Pokémon would live in these habitats and their relationships within each environment. As a result, there are more than 200 Pokémon, rich in variety, appearing in this game.”

Ride on the Wild Side

A Ride on the Wild Side

In an exclusive look at the Founja Jungle stage in New Pokémon Snap, I see firsthand what Suzaki means when he talks about creating beautiful habitats full of Pokémon that make sense for the locale; you can almost feel the humidity of the jungle stage from the jump. While you must work to get the attention of certain Pokémon, the opportunities to see your favorite creatures throughout the game’s Lental region are plentiful.

Whether you’re talking a group of Bounsweet relaxing on an overhead branch, a Pikipek hammering away at a tree, or an Arbok behind the brush, you have several different creatures to focus on and try to interact with using fluffruit or other means. Tossing a fluffruit, which resembles an apple, in the direction of Pokémon can elicit different reactions from creatures. While the most common reaction is happily chasing it down to munch on, the reactions vary by Pokémon. For example, one Liepard, in true cat fashion, completely ignores the fluffruit in favor of continuing its nap.

In addition to fluffruit, players have other tools at their disposal. Scan allows you to not only see if something is hiding beyond your view, but also garner a reaction from some Pokémon. You can use the Melody tool to see if the Pokémon feel like dancing. New Pokémon Snap also introduces Illumina orbs, which can trigger unique behavior and cause Pokémon to glow.

The key to getting the best shots is to keep your eyes peeled and get creative with how you use the tools. “These are simple things, but a combination of these tools, timing, and situations can cause a variety of things to happen,” Suzaki says.

Not all Pokémon need to be incentivized, however. Throughout Founja Jungle, Beautifly curiously flutter right up to you, giving you several chances to snap them both alone and in swarms. Later in the stage, you’re given a scenic waterfall with a pool surrounded by species including Magikarp, Quagsire, and more. I wonder if there’s some way to push that Magikarp into the waterfall, but I unfortunately don’t get the opportunity as my look at this stage ends.

Seaside Snapshot

Seaside Snapshot

In addition to Founja Jungle, I’m treated to multiple playthroughs of an early tropical level called Blushing Beach. As players travel to different islands in the Lental region, they explore vastly different biomes, even diving beneath the ocean’s surface in some cases. Sadly, I don’t get to see the secrets hiding under the waves in Blushing Beach, but I do get a great sense for what to expect from this sandy stage depending on when you visit.

The first playthrough of Blushing Beach I see takes place during the day. Right off the bat, I spot a couple of Exeggutor frolicking across the sand as a Crabrawler scurries along. A Lapras swims in the shallows and a Pikachu playfully runs past. In the distance, I spot Vivillon and Wingull soaring over the sea. Immediately I recall the fond memories I have of the Nintendo 64 original. That scene, with Exeggutor basking in the sun while other Pokémon go about their days, takes me back to the first stage of the original Pokémon Snap, where a flock of Pidgey fly toward the camera before you see Pikachu, Doduo, and Butterfree hanging out on the beach.

We toss the Exeggutor a fluffruit and it joyfully scoops it up as we snap away. We continue along the beach, but another Exeggutor sits in the way, bringing our NEO-ONE pod to a halt. We could lure the big guy away to clear the path, but instead we look to our left and notice something is bustling in the bushes. We scan to reveal that some Bellossom are tucked away. As Suzaki says, it’s up to the player to figure out how to lure Pokémon to you and get them to react. In this case, we use the Melody tool to bring two dancing Bellossom out of the bushes. As players of the original game know, if you can snap multiple Pokémon in the act of doing something unique or exciting, you’re well on your way to getting a highly scored photo.

Now that we’ve gotten some great shots of Bellossom, it’s time to move on. We throw a fluffruit and pull the Exeggutor off the path so we can continue. While you can’t manually stop your vehicle whenever you want, certain encounters like this one give you a little extra time to figure out how to optimize your opportunities.

Continuing down the path, the pod leaves solid ground to float among the waves. Weaving between rocks that jut out of the sea, we have a wealth of opportunities presented to us. Do we photograph the Machamp hanging out on shore or do we focus on the Pyukumuku lounging on the rock next to Corsola? We end up scanning two water-types on the rock, causing Pyukumuku to wave at us and Corsola to flash a smile our way.

Finneon swim beneath us as we head back to shore. This trip through Blushing Beach is just about over, but not before we spot a Stunfisk lying flat on the sand. We shoot a picture of it and then head straight for the goal, exiting the daytime run of Blushing Beach.

A Mirror to Your Work

 

Holding a Mirror to Your Work

After completing each stage, you select the photos you want to share with Professor Mirror. Each shot is given a rating up to four stars. This is important, as your Photodex can hold one photo of each Pokémon at each rating. Once you present your favorite shots to the professor, he’ll score them based on pose, size, direction, placement, other Pokémon in the shot, and what the background looks like. You then have the option to replace the current picture in the Photodex with the new one.

If you feel you could make your shots a bit better with some tweaking, New Pokémon Snap gives you the tools to perfect them. Seemingly inspired by the Instagram age, New Pokémon Snap allows you to “re-snap” your photos by adjusting the zoom and tweaking the brightness, blur, focal size, and focal point. You can add a filter and even stickers to create comical or cute scenes within your shots. Unfortunately, Professor Mirror will only grade your raw photos, and thus, you can only save the originals to your Photodex. Don’t worry, though, as you can still save the re-snapped photos to your in-game album and share them with the world online.

New Pokémon Snap

Based on the photos you provide to the professor, you gain expedition points, which boost your research level for the stage. Once you reach a certain threshold, you unlock new levels for that area and time of day.

“Pokémon behavior will change as the research level increases,” Suzaki says. “A new research will start when your level increases to search for the changed behavior and photograph it. The game is also about trying to take a photo of a great moment you missed in the next trip, so if the research level is the same, the research course stays the same in general. But if the research level goes up, you will see many changes such as Pokémon that didn’t appear before will start appearing, Pokémon that didn’t eat fluffruit because they were being cautious will now eat them, and the pod’s course will also change.”

Nocturnal Negatives

New Pokémon Snap

Nocturnal Negatives

After chatting with Professor Mirror and further filling out the Photodex, we jump back into Blushing Beach. However, this time, we’re going after the sun sets. As you might expect, the Pokémon you spot at night are often different from the ones you see during the day. Even as the character is entering the environment, I spot a Drifblim in the background and a towering Zangoose walks along the path. We throw the Zangoose a fluffruit and get a great shot of of it smiling as it enjoys it.

As we approach the bush where the Bellossom were during the day, we once again scan the area. The tool tells us something sounds like it’s sharpening a blade. This time, we’re not graced by the playful twirling of the smiling grass-types; instead, a fierce Seviper emerges just in time for a photo. It’s a good thing we scanned early on, as there’s no Exeggutor to block the path at night.

New Pokémon Snap

The night path is the same as the one we traversed in the sunlight, but your opportunities are vastly different. As soon as we go out onto the water, Inkay floats by and we see a Magikarp asleep on the rock where the Pyukumuku was during the day. We could snap a photo of the sleeping Magikarp, but what’s the fun in that? Scanning does little to wake up the sleeping splasher, but by tossing an Illumina orb at it, the Magikarp springs to life, and flips off the rock and into the water. We capture its acrobatics before moving to the next rock.

This evening expedition presents an Octillery perching on the rock next to a Crystabloom plant. We throw an Illumina orb at the Crystabloom and the octopod reacts by spitting a fountain of ink straight into the sky. We snap a photo, then throw a fluffruit at it and the Pokémon waves at us with one of its arms. As we continue to survey our surroundings, I spot a Bellossom and a Zangoose relaxing on the shore, but just above them, a Mareanie looks down off the cliffside, presenting a new Pokémon for us to photograph; we don’t waste the opportunity.

While we’re out at sea, an icon pops up in between some of the protruding rocks. If you scan that, you’re able to go along a different path through the stage. However, to fully explore how different night and day versions of stages really are, we opt to stay on the main path.

We return to land to perhaps the most exciting opportunity of my entire demo: Several Sandygast lay hidden beneath the beach, while an Alolan Raichu sleeps on shore next to a chill Octillery. We toss a fluffruit at the Sandygast to get it to emerge. As we pass by, the Raichu awakens, hops on its surfboard-shaped tail, and rides out into the waves. Just before we reach the goal, we lob a fluffruit at a Sandygast next to the Octillery. When the creepy sandcastle Pokémon emerges, it gives Octillery a huge fright and the water-type Pokémon panics, fleeing out into the middle of the ocean, arms a-flailing.

This hilarious scene is just an example of how players can not only evoke interesting reactions, but exciting interactions between multiple Pokémon in the habitat. The environmental puzzles of New Pokémon Snap appear to be just as much fun as they were in the original. Shortly after that, my nighttime run ends, as does my time with New Pokémon Snap.

Developing Results

Developing Results

If what I saw is any indication, New Pokémon Snap effectively captures the magic of the original. With a new region, new mechanics, and a vastly expanded collection of Pokémon to pull from, I’m excited to see how this entry improves upon the first game. More importantly, I can’t wait to get back behind the lens and document the interesting sights for all to see when the video game is launched at the end of this month.


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