In the original Pokémon Snap, players were strictly daytime photographers. The game, released in 1999 for Nintendo 64, was essentially a rail shooter, but in the photography sense; players drifted slowly throughout an area while trying to take as many good pictures as they could. New Pokémon Snap keeps the original game’s spirit alive but with a few welcome tweaks — including the ability to revisit locations at night.
New Pokémon Snap is set in the Lental region, where players have been enlisted by a local professor to help investigate “luminous” pokémon and photograph creatures in the area. Each picture you take is judged against a variety of standards on a one to four-star scale; once your trip is over, photos are broken down by their subject. Snapping a picture of a pokémon doing something normal — like, walking around for example — is likely to net you a low score. But if you manage to capture a pokémon doing something unexpected, or reacting to something in its environment, you’ll earn a higher rating.
Composition matters, too. Photos are judged by factors like a pokémon’s pose, the direction it’s facing, framing, and more. The game includes a “resnap” option, where players can edit their photos by zooming in, adjusting brightness or focal points, and adding filters. The better the pictures, the more points you’ll get toward research levels for that area, thus helping Professor Mirror’s work.
During a recent live stream of the game shown to press, a Nintendo representative demonstrated how players will work their way through a typical level. Players can’t control the speed of their vehicle, but they can lure pokémon out, or into different poses, with fruit. Pokémon will sometimes hide in bushes and need a little encouragement to come out. If you capture their attention, they might react with delight or surprise. Revisiting the level at night will open up those possibilities further. In addition to possibly attracting different pokémon, some may exhibit a mysterious glow.
Pokémon Snap has always been about the thrill of a good shot. Its latest iteration is no different. Players won’t know what pokémon they’ll run into in different levels, though that’s sort of the point. The game will feature upward of 200 pokémon, with different environments that will attract different species; you’re more likely to find water types at the beach, for example, but not exclusively.
The game is expected to feature more social options than the original, though Nintendo has yet to release more information on how those features will work. New Pokémon Snap launches April 30th for Nintendo Switch.