Snap is a fun, relaxing entry in the Pokémon franchise while it lasts.
In the 18 years since its original release on the Nintendo 64, Pokémon Snap has continued to be a cult favorite among series fans. And replaying it on the Wii U Virtual Console gives a good reason why - it’s still pretty fun to play all these years later. After all, who can resist taking pictures of cute Pokémon! While a few things age it a bit Pokémon Snap’s intuitive gameplay and simplicity proves to be a fun experience that’s worth exploring.
The goal is to climb aboard a cart that will take you around seven levels and let you snap pictures of Pokémon for Professor Oak to inspect. The levels themselves take about five minutes at the most to get through, though a few things unlocked later allow you to take pictures of even more Pokémon. For example, after you earn apples, you can lead a Pikachu to a surfboard for maximum radness . The gameplay is pretty straightforward, though it's kind of a hassle to use the joystick to take pictures. It's not bad enough to hamper my experience, but the unnatural feel is noticeable.
Presentation wise, Pokémon Snap does a great job of creating a relaxing atmosphere, even though sometimes the scenarios you’re involved in (like a constantly moving river, or an active volcano area) are anything but. The music is a bit underrated, as each level has its own theme and fits in well with the scenery and location. Graphics are cleaned up for this Wii U re-release, all the while retaining the Pokémon series’ vibrant and colorful aesthetic. Unfortunately, on a technical level, the text and pictures look faded, a result of compressing images into a Nintendo 64 cartridge (and the poor emulation on the Wii U).
Pokémon Snap is a fun, somewhat brainless game that allows you to take pretty pictures of Pokémon, and not much more beyond that. It's only around three hours long, with a little replayability. The content isn’t much, but the atmosphere and gameplay separate it from a wide variety of other Nintendo 64 Virtual Console games. As a quiet, simple game that doesn’t take long to beat, it excels greatly.