Welcome to Bring it Back the place where I take a look at some of the games (and series and franchises) I want remastered, reimagined, rebooted, updated, upgraded, a long overdue sequel/prequel, or dare I say it – a remake. I’m not really fussy which one it is (well OK please not a remake), I just want it back somehow.
With the revival of the Pokemon craze thanks to Pokemon Go what better time than now is there to bring back this Pokemon classic.
Pokemon Snap was essentially a rail shooter but instead of guns you had a camera and instead of bad guys there were Pokemon. A nice twist on a familiar format.
You played as a young photographer sent to a small island by Professor Oak to photograph the local wildlife which was made up of Pokemon from the original 150.
The game had a series of levels that reflected a variety of environments such as a beach, cave, volcano, river etc and each of these levels contained different Pokemon, although some like Pikachu appeared in multiple levels, that were best suited to that environment, so for example the volcano level was made up of mostly fire Pokemon because fire Pokemon clearly like somewhere hot to live.
At the end of each level you had to submit one photo of each Pokemon you had taken to be scored by Professor Oak, I guess Professor Oak is a busy man so only wants to see what you think are the very best. Points were awarded for various criteria such as how clearly the Pokemon could be seen, how many Pokemon are in it, is it eating or performing some kind of activity, is the Pokemon in the centre of the photograph etc.
As you progressed through the game and scored so many points you would be rewarded with items like apples which you could throw to lure Pokemon nearer to you or onto parts of the environment and the pokeflute which would wake a certain Pokemon up and cause others to dance for you. These rewards meant that you had to replay some of the earlier levels to photograph every Pokemon in the game and get the best pictures possible.
The game was still a bit of a challenge because of the rail system, you were on a predetermined course that you couldn’t deviate from and while you could slow yourself down you couldn’t stop so you had to time your photographs just right. Added to this was the fact that to photograph certain Pokemon you had to complete a couple of tasks, the one I most remember is having to knock a Charmeleon into a pool of lava it was walking around in order to get it to evolve into a Charizard, yes there were points awarded for getting a photograph of it evolving. Another one involved creating a trail of apples leading to a surfboard to encourage a Pikachu to climb on it and pretend it was a surfer dude. Again bonus points galore.
Oh and of course the camera only had so much film in it so you couldn’t go mad snapping away constantly.
It was a simple premise for a game but one that I always felt was executed quite well although it probably helped that I was interested in photography.
It’s a shame that the Wii U is coming to the end of its life because it’s gamepad could have been integrated brilliantly into the game by acting as the camera that you had to hold up to the screen to take the photos. It would also have allowed for better and more realistic environments, more Pokemon, more levels etc.
There could also be a few tweaks to the camera, instead of film why not have battery life that is drained with each photo taken or a memory card that is slowly filled up, maybe you could have different lenses for different levels of zoom so distance could be a factor. Alternatively you could start out with a phone and slowly work your way up to bigger and better cameras.
There are all kinds of things that could be done with a new Pokemon Snap game and I’d love to see one so I really hope it happens at some point.