Developer(s) – HAL Laboratory & Pax Softnica
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Director(s) – Yoichi Yamamoto, Koji Inokuchi & Akira Takeshima
Producer(s) – Satoru Iwata, Kenji Miki & Shigeru Miyamoto
PEGI – 3
Pokémon Snap was one of many spin-offs to the Pokémon game series for the Game Boy developed during the fifth generation of gaming. The premise of the game revolves around taking pictures of wild pokémon, catching them all (and I use the term loosely) in a different manner to which gamers certainly would have been accustomed to at the time. This unique rail-shooter for me made for a lot of entertainment growing up, and it still holds up fairly well to this day, I find.
Graphics – 7/10
Featuring some of the best visual quality the Nintendo 64 had to offer, there are some fairly diverse settings as well as minimal in-game glitches; something, which had been a problem for the console early on. Though the frame rate can drop at times, especially in the opening cinematic, it doesn’t become enough of a problem to warrant too many complaints or to hinder gameplay, most importantly. But what I like most about the visuals is how the pokémon are portrayed throughout the game. The settings speak of how each type of pokémon adapts to all the different environments present, which in turn, provides a much more realistic representation reminiscent of conventional animal behavior. They portray the critters in a much more different manner than in any conservative game in the series that came before it.
Gameplay – 7/10
The game revolves around taking pictures of pokémon across the different stages of the game and unlocking each stage, whilst trying to rack up the high scores by taking the best quality pictures. It is very satisfying and fairly addictive to try and capture the perfect shot of each pokémon and to rack up as high a score as possible. But a major problem I found with this title was that there are only 63 of the original 151 pokémon present, purely to coincide with the fact that it was released on the Nintendo 64. And as a result, the game is somewhat lacking in substance. I think if the developers had included all 151 pokémon, then there would have been a lot more for gamers to play for, and in turn, a lot more call for different level designs and for more substance in general.
Controls – 10/10
Although there are no problems with the control scheme, it is also fairly unique in a certain respect. It does blur the lines somewhat between first-person shooters and simulation games and combines elements of the two to make for something pretty exciting, also being comparable to such future games Dead Rising and Beyond Good & Evil.
Lifespan – 6/10
Although it can merely 2 hours to rush through each course and unlock all the extra items used to take pictures of certain pokémon, there is quite a bit of replay value to be had in re-visiting each course and trying to capture as many excellent pictures as possible. The Wii Virtual Console version added even more with the inclusion of the facility to share pictures with friends. But after grinding through each course and collecting everything, it does become a case of racking up the highest score possible, but as I said earlier, I can’t help but feel there would have much more to it with the inclusion of all 151 pokémon.
Originality – 10/10
Pokémon Snap was and still is among some of the most unique games ever developed. The only games like this that have come along since are the likes of Fatal Frame. There was no concept like it at the time, and it’s a concept that has never truly been fully replicated since.
In summation, Pokémon Snap has been praised as a refreshingly unique game, and I couldn’t agree more. It comes highly recommended from me and will make for a good few hours of fun gameplay.