Gotta Snap ‘Em All… Again!
In this edition of Picture This, I’m going to talk about a game that I’ve wanted for far too long, and a game that could be a rare gem on the Wii U- Pokémon Snap 2. With the Wii U digital console release of the original Pokémon Snap, I find now to be the best time to talk about how the Wii U is the perfect platform to release a sequel on.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious how much the Wii U is prime to take advantage of a Pokémon Snap sequel. The tablet controller is literally the perfect device, with its front-facing camera and large touchscreen viewfinder. So long janky N64 controls, hello 2016 HD precision! Having complete control over the camera, as the camera is literally in your hands, would make for some great Poke-photo fun.
Now while that idea could sell the game on its own, let’s not stop there. With the capabilities of modern consoles (yes, even that of the Wii U), a simple on-rails scenic photography game could evolve into something so much more. First off, there are now over 700 Pokémon, excluding the new additions incoming with Pokémon Sun and Moon. That’s… a lot more than 151. But go big or go home, I’m here to snap ‘em all! If someone’s going to make a Pokémon Snap 2, then they had better include every single Pokémon in it too.
Oh, and they had better be in HD.
Using the touchscreen would also be great for throwing objects. The original Pokémon Snap had three throwable objects, apples, candy and Pester Balls. The former two were used to distract and entice Pokémon, whereas the latter could be used to get Pokémon to do certain things, or even evolve. They made Pokémon Snap a sort of puzzle game, as you had to employ them all in specific situations in order to get the opportunity to photograph rarer Pokémon. With the touch screen, imagine if there were multiple objects you could assign. Different kinds of food for different types of Pokémon, or various types of Poke-Balls that perform different functions. They could both be assigned to the triggers, with the touchscreen used to change out which type of either is assigned.
I think the biggest and best evolution in the gameplay would come in the form of stage traversal, however. Imagine if there were multiple paths that led through different areas of each level, consisting of entirely different Pokémon! The game would then require multiple playthroughs if you wanted to fill up your photobook, and the levels could be loaded with various memorable environments.
Going even one step further, picture having full control of your cart! You’d still be on rails, but imagine if you used the joystick to move forwards and backwards, as well as change routes. This could lead to level design where certain events take place at certain times, forcing players to be in the right place at the right time if they want to find the best shots (you know, kind of like actual photography). This would give Pokémon Snap 2 a major injection of replayability, as the “puzzle” aspects of the original are compounded and improved upon.
With the advent of online interactivity these days, online leaderboards and photo galleries are a given. Picture having a gallery showcasing the top-rated photographs from around the world. They could even be user-rated! Allowing players to view and admire each other’s work could lead to a great online community experience, as players compete and collaborate on the game.
Whereas the first Pokémon Snap was single-player only, I could see a multiplayer component working. The game’s concept is very simple; you take photos that are given a certain grade based on multiple factors. A competitive photo mode could be fun, as two players vie for the top spot. Maybe there could even be a cooperative mode, with a handful of specific Pokémon only able to be seen through a cooperative strategy. Multiplayer isn’t exactly a paramount concern for Pokémon Snap 2, but if implemented correctly, could only go on to improve what should already be a stellar sequel.
So there you have it! Touchscreen tablet camera controls, new equipment, layered and branching level design, online galleries and multiplayer- the Wii U is the perfect console to release Pokémon Snap 2. There has been a pretty diehard fanbase around the original, so a sequel is pretty much guaranteed to succeed. With the Poké-craze over Pokémon GO, the new Sun and Moon launching in November, and the original Pokémon Snap releasing on digital console, now is the best time for Nintendo to release a spin-off sequel. The stars are all aligned for Pokémon Snap 2, but with the NX fast approaching, I have doubts we’ll be so lucky.