New Pokémon Snap: Ultimate Guide

New Pokemon Snap Scorbunny
New Pokemon Snap Scorbunny (Image credit: iMore)

Twenty years is a long time to wait, but for those die-hard fans of Pokémon Snap, our patience has paid off. That's right, New Pokémon Snap is one of the lastest Pokémon Nintendo Switch games to release, and we absolutely love it. From knowing which Pokémon can be found in the wild to taking the best pictures, here's everything you want to know about the game.

There was a different Pokémon Snap?

Pokemon Snap Screenshot

Pokemon Snap Screenshot (Image credit: Nintendo)

The original Pokémon Snap first released on March 21, 1999, for the Nintendo 64. It's a single-player photography simulation game where players are sent to different areas like jungles, beaches, and caves to explore and take pictures of Pokémon. That's basically the same for New Pokemon Snap, except now players discover the all-new Lental Region. Not to mention, the game's visuals and mechanics have seen a major upgrade.

What happens in New Pokémon Snap?

New Pokémon Snap

New Pokémon Snap (Image credit: Nintendo)

Players start by picking an avatar and meeting Professor Mirror, who is here to study the strange Illumina Phenomenon of the Lental Region. To help him out, you'll hop into the NEO-ONE travel pod and explore different environments from beaches to deserts, gathering research, and of course, getting the best shot of over 200 Pokémon spanning all eight generations that have released so far.

The latest game displays some fantastic visuals of Pokémon in their natural environment and even has voice acting. You and the professor aren't alone on your adventure as you work alongside his two research assistants: Rita and Phil.

Phil takes on the role of your rival (which you didn't have in the original game) and is dead-set on beating you any chance he gets. Rita, however, is Professor Mirror's eager research assistant, and she's ready to help you with your research.

There are various environments where players can frame up some fantastic shots of Pokémon living their best wild-life. If you're paying attention, you may even encounter a Legendary or Mythical Pokémon!

Ilumina Pokémon

Pokemon Snap New Screenshot (Image credit: Nintendo)

On your photo safaris, you might just come across Ilumina Pokémon, creatures that glow and have unique markings compared to regular Pokémon. This is a mysterious occurrence, and exploring the Lental Region will help you learn more about it.

As you level up, you'll unlock more stages and encounter additional Pokémon on your missions.

Research Levels & Exciting new paths

New Pokemon Snap Ocean

New Pokemon Snap Ocean (Image credit: Nintendo)

Each path can spawn different Pokémon every time, plus stages experience different variants like night and day, coaxing different Pokémon out into the open. As you turn in more pictures to Professor Mirror, your Research Level for that course will increase. When this happens, more Pokémon come out! Leveling up can even open up different paths to explore, giving you brand new experiences.

Scanning makes things easier by helping you identify hidden Pokémon, different paths, or elements in the surroundings. Some Pokémon even react to the scanning sound to provide you with new photo opportunities.

Taking the perfect shots

New Pokemon Snap Photo Score

New Pokemon Snap Photo Score (Image credit: Nintendo)

Professor Mirror scores each photo you take and gives points based on the size of a Pokémon within your shot, the Pokémon's pose, and how well it stays in the frame. Players can earn more points for a little stylistic flair, such as catching more than one of the same Pokémon in the photo or capturing a unique pose. Fortunately, you can also get them to react by throwing Apple-like Fluffruit, playing music, throwing Illumina Orbs, or scanning your environment.

You can keep more than one shot in your Photodex, and these pictures provide information about the Pokémon, like a Pokédex. The goal is to capture a variety of poses and keep improving on your technique. The rarer the behavior, the more stars you get.

New Pokémon Snap features motion controls, which can really help pull you into the Lental region. If you aren't a fan, you can turn off the motion controls — but having this option is an exciting addition.

Share photos with others

New Pokemon Snap Photodex

New Pokemon Snap Photodex (Image credit: Nintendo)

You're not just stuck with the photo you took the first time through the course. New Pokémon Snap has a photo editor, so you can adjust settings, add filters, adjust the focus, and even add stickers if you'd like.

After editing photos, players with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription can upload their images to the game's online photo sharing system for other players to see. If people like the pictures you share, you'll even earn Sweet Medals!

Printing Pokémon photos

Instax Mini Link New Pokemon Snap Printed (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

After you've taken the best photos ever and edited them to perfection, you can print them out using the Instax Mini Link phone printer. Scan your Nintendo Switch QR code using the app and then print Polaroid-style photos in seconds. We can help you get things set up with our guide on How to use the Instax Mini Link with New Pokémon Snap.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.