Pokémon Snap Review – Definitive 50 N64 Game #24

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

If you were trying to dream up a Pokémon spin-off to make, first-person on-rails shooter probably wouldn’t be your first idea, but it turns out the concept is pure genius. Pokémon Snap is the most fun Pokémon spin-off there is.

Of course, Pokémon Snap doesn’t put you in command of a gun, but a camera. You play as Todd Snap, a Pokémon photographer recruited by Prof. Oak to photograph the pocket monsters living in the wild on Pokémon Island.

You traverse the island in the Zero-One vehicle, and try to snap the best photos of the native Pokémon as you can while guided along pre-set routes. The island’s diverse geography, made up of beaches, caves, volcanoes, rivers, and more, makes for great Pokémon watching.

In a case of some seriously dubious science – you need to toss apples and pester balls at the Pokémon, as well as get them moving with the Poke-Flute, in order to lure, knock, smack, or enrage the animals into the best poses. You can’t expect to get the highest scoring snaps by simply leaving the Pokémon be.

At the end of each ride through a level, you must flip through your photos and decide which ones to send to Professor Oak for study. He’ll rate and critique each one. The professor is looking for well centred, close-up photos, but he’ll give plenty of points for snapping Pokémon in strange poses and for getting multiple of the same monsters in a shot. The basic idea is to unlock the secrets of Pokémon Island by opening up the game’s levels, but reaching ever higher scores is reward all its own.

For an on-rails game with just seven courses, Pokémon Snap actually offers plenty of exploration and replayability. The first run through a level tends to leave a lot of questions. Numerous oddities in each level inevitably turn out to be opportunities to lure out obscured Pokémon, or even chain together events that lead to strange photos and even secret exits.

Back when it was released, Pokémon Snap offered aspiring photographers an artistic outlet. You could visit certain stores (in North America, it was Blockbuster locations) and use special Pokémon Snap Stations to print stickers of your photos. When Pokémon Snap was released on Wii Virtual Console, the extra effort was made to allow you to to share photos from the game using the Wii Message Board. Unfortunately, with the end of WiiConnect24, this is no longer possible either.

The second most disappointing aspect of Snap is simply its limited number of Pokemon – just 63 of the original 151 appear.

Of course, the most disappointing aspect of the game is that there hasn’t been a sequel. Despite the possibilities of both the 3DS and Wii U for expanded gameplay – either through the 3DS’s AR capabilities, or either system’s gyroscopic control options, no hint of a follow-up has been given.

Let me know what you think of Pokémon Snap and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe. Check back next week for entry #23 on the Definitive 50 N64 games!