I have three nephews and, ever since the eldest of them was born, I have also had a mission. A mission to get them to like pokemon.
The original Pokemon Red and Blue were the first video games I ever really played on my own and the first ones I ever beat. Since then, pokemon has held a treasured place in my heart and I still enjoy playing pokemon games to this day. As such, I wanted to share the joys of the pokemon world with my nephews.
Phase one of my master plan involved giving one of my nephews a squirtle plushie for his birthday. This ploy was a huge success; he loves that squirtle (which has been affectionately named “My Turtle”) and drags it everywhere with him.
With the concept of pokemon having been successfully introduced, it was time to move on to phase two – getting them to love an actual game.
Being five and almost three respectively, the gaming abilities of my oldest two nephews are somewhat limited. Luckily, a game that was perfect for them to play with me was released earlier this year: New Pokemon Snap.
New Pokemon Snap is the second game in the Pokemon Snap franchise, a spinoff of the mainline Pokemon games where you take pictures of pokemon instead of having them battle for your glory and amusement. It’s a cute and relatively simple game that’s perfect for my young nephews, but I was surprised to find that it was a lot of fun for me, as well. I hadn’t really played the original Pokemon Snap, so I discovered the charms of this franchise alongside my nephews, and I am hooked!
Here are the top three things that made me fall in love with New Pokemon Snap!
1. It’s adorable.
The levels in New Pokemon Snap are full of beautifully rendered pokemon that are hanging out and waiting for you to snap photos of them. They nap or frolic around and interact with each other in interesting ways as you wind your way through the various courses on a set route. You can illicit different reactions out of the pokemon by scanning the area, tossing a fluff fruit for them to eat, or playing a little tune for them to dance to. It’s always cute to see their happy expressions after they’ve chowed down on a fruit, or their startled demeanor when you accidently hit them in the face with a fruit that you meant to toss at their feet.
As you progress through the levels, the in-game characters will give you challenges to complete in the form of specific scenarios that they want you to capture photos of. Fulfilling these requests can lead you to discover new sides of the pokemon you’re researching. In one level I reunited a lost deerling with it’s parent and witnessed the heartwarming scene of them finally finding each other again. In another level, I led a swinub to a geyser and took a photo of it getting comedically shot into the air by the burst of water. There are lots of humorous or sweet moments like this to discover as you work your way through the levels and encounter new pokemon – and they’re all pretty adorable to witness.
2. There’s lots to explore
New Pokemon Snap includes several courses you can play through which feature different types of environments (e.g. seaside, desert, jungle, etc.). Each course features various pokemon, and most of them have an option to traverse the course during either the day or at night. Changing the time of day allows for different pokemon to appear and new events to take place, meaning you get a fresh experience, even though it’s still the same course. Taking these variations – and the new levels that were added as part of the free DLC that was released in Aug 2021 – into account, there are a total of 23 courses in the game. This means there’s quite a lot to explore!
As I mentioned earlier, interacting with the pokemon can cause entertaining events to occur, but you can also interact with the environment to unlock alternate routes within the course and discover new areas. Courses will also upgrade as you wrack up points with your photos and additional pokemon will start showing up. This helped me avoid getting bored, even when playing through the same level several times in search of that one specific shot I needed to fulfil a request or complete a requirement to advance the story.
3. It’s a great way to introduce young players to pokemon
Since my nephews are still quite young, the simple gameplay of New Pokemon Snap was really helpful when it came to teaching them how to play and allowed my oldest nephew to play the game on his own. Mind you, he did take a lot of photos of the ground, but since you move along a set track through the different courses and he only had to focus on moving the camera around, he was able to get by pretty well with a bit of practice. My second oldest nephew is still too young to play a game on his own, but he would sit on my lap while I played and “help” by spamming the button that throws the fluff fruit, laughing with delight as we beaned pokemon after unsuspecting pokemon in the head with fruit. Everyone had a great time.
I was honestly a little surprised with how much I enjoyed this game, as I had always thought the concept sounded a little boring. I’m glad to report that I was wrong and that there is a lot more to do in New Pokemon Snap than I had realized. I had a lot of fun playing this game, both with my nephews and on my own.
There are a few flaws I would like to see ironed out though.
When it comes to judging if a photo fulfills the requirements of a request the game can be a bit nitpicky. For example, if the camera isn’t locked onto the right pokemon when you take a photo, it won’t count as fulfilling the request, even if the pokemon you were trying to photograph is also in the picture. The game’s storyline, which involves helping a professor to research a phenomena of glowing pokemon, is also pretty barebones. This didn’t bother my nephews, who enjoyed acting like detectives, but I would have preferred a story that had a bit more to it.
These minor quibbles aside, New Pokemon Snap is a very fun game, for both children and adults. Best of all, I’m happy to report that it helped me succeed in my very important mission. Two out of my three nephews now love pokemon thanks to New Pokemon Snap.
Now to start working on the youngest nephew… as soon as he’s old enough to talk.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
For more information on this game, visit Nintendo’s website.
If you enjoy reading my reviews, please consider supporting me through Kofi.