Classic Review: Pokémon Snap

Yay it’s finally saturday, which means I can finally come out to play! The others Pinkie’s might be bigger than me and have like important jobs and such …but just because I am just a chibi doesn’t mean you can think little of me! I am the Pinkie that discusses like the actual fun of playing like the games or who plays with the toys and the likes. Today I decided a classic Pokémon game a lot of people seem to like! My Pokémon Fun the Mime Jr will play it along side of me! Even if this is a single player game! Today me and Fun wil play Pokémon Snap on Nintendo 64.

The concept

Uhm even though I find this a bit of a difficult word, the main Pinkie told me I should talk  about what’s the game about here so here goes! This game is like a 3d on rail shooter… but like not one of those mean ones where you kill people or monsters while a lot of angry music blasts through your speakers.In this game you shoot, with a roll of film… well quite a few a rolls actually.  You play the role of Todd “Gimme any name’ Snap. A photographer that one his adventures once encountered a Mew but Mr Snap failed to snap it on camera. Luckily after he is tired of the Pokédex and Red, Oak calls Todd to investigate a mysterious place called Pokémon Island. On this Island Mew is to roam and it’s up to our generic looking hero to succeed where he failed before. Generic looking as he may be, he has a nice short! Gotta love the colour. Poké-Island is pretty rough terrain for a hike though, so luckily professor Oak shows us his skill in engineering as he made an all  terrain vehicle named the Zero-One… and I mean ALL-Terrain. Mr Snap can take this yellow basket looking vehicle thing out to seven stages that unlock as you complete puzzles or score enough points. Yes points, rather than paying the young photographer in cash, professor Oak hands him points based on how good your photograph is. Earn enough points and you will get new tools and sometimes stages. Solving puzzles with these tools will allow you to snap new pokémon or progress in the game even further. It is a nice idea that is executed quite well and some puzzles are very clever, but more on that later. A lot of people are still hoping for a sequel and given how far the pokémon world has progressed  it could make for a nice beefy and mostly relaxing game! This one really misses out on the beefy part.

The Atmosphere

Professor Pinkie told me, I should tell how a game looks, sounds and feels on this spot. So I think, this is what Pokémon Snap does best! It looks super cute! The pokémon are very recognisable and are lively, they do their own thing and if you bonk them with an apple or pester ball on the head they react to it in a funny way! The best thing is, Pokémon have their anime cries. That means every single pokémon states their name or a part of it. Jigglypuff sings it’s iconic song if you save it in a cave, Pikachu is full of Pika-Pika’s and shellder pop out of the water with their cute..yet somehow annoying shell, cry. The 7 stages are very diverse and though they are short they are filled with fun things and easter eggs. Like a surfboard for Pikachu or zelda like walls. Of course this is a game of 19 years ago and yes you will spot it, but the way they move and flow around, it really doesn’t feel that old. The fact that this thing is on rails instead of a massive stretch of land might really help with that. The Pokémon theming is done very VERY well. Originally this game would be launched as Jack and the Beanstalk for something called the Nintendo 64DD , which was supposed to be like an extension or something, but with that falling through Pokémon Snap was born.  Normally when a game originally is something else you really notice it. Think Super Mario Land 2 for example. You can easily tell it was Doki Doki Panic first, well not the title of course.. but you can tell it used to be a NOT mario game. Snap can let you lure a slowpoke to a shellder infested river so it can evolve, you can see meowth being mischievous and you can see Snorlax sleeping peacefully. Everything FEELS like pokémon. They look like Pokémon and sound like Pokémon as well. Graveler looks kinda bad though!

Except for Graveler not being as sleekly designed as he could be, the only complaint I have is how boring the non pokémon stuff is. The nature in stages are fine.. but the items and technology thingies are bland and seem to not contribute anything. Todd is blander than Pidgey and never gets anything going for him. The Zero-One.. though practical.. is just a basket on wheels and doesn’t really seem like the best thing to send on this adventure. That loading screen where Oak waves at the Snap kid makes them both look terrible. However this is kind of a nitpick, cause you only see those elements at the beginning and ending of a stage. The stages themselves like the pokémon are wonderful and varied.

Technical Thingies

So how is the game build? Did the makers do their jobs well?  Does it control well? I really liked the easy controls myself, even though that Nintendo 64 controller  kinda looks like an evil spaceship thingy that can easily cripple you. The biggest problem with Pokémon Snap’s  control on the original system actually is Mario Party. I played a lot of Mario Party on my N64 so all my controllers are a bit..wonky because of certain spin the analogue stick mini games. This gave me some issues while playing this, but for the most time it worked well.  Controls are fairly decently chosen , though I personally would have preferred all items to work from the C pad, like Zelda instead of just one. That being said the apple and the pester ball are a lot more frequent so I get why this was chosen still as soon as you unlock everything it kinda feels odd. Except for some pop up here and there, the game feels quite smooth actually. The main part of the game , shooting pictures works wonders! I like the Z button for photograph mode controls. It is easy to take cute snaps, and easy to send them to the professor. Everything flows. .. except for the throwing.  Throwing apples and pester balls onto pokémon reacts way to specifically. There is no auto-aim whats so ever so be prepared to toss a gazillion apples. Hitboxes can be weird at times and sometimes you knock a pokémon back with a pester ball but sometimes you need an apple for that same job. The balls are filled with some annoying gaslike thing so it would make sense to for it to have an extended hitbox..but no to pester a pokemon you gotta hit it flat on the head. Aside from tossing the technical side is solid as a rock-type though.

The gameplay

Many people adore this game and in the general review scene it would score between a 7,5 and 8,5 out of 10. There is one magazine that has a really weird point score that goes up to 40 and I think they got 30 or so there. Though I had amazing fun playing this game.. I am more in line with the review people as the general public.  This game is not a timeless classic. It’s a snack that is great fun. Though it is great fun to take all the snapshots, the fact that it doesn’t feature all 151 original pokémon is understandable, yet 63 feels like such an odd number as well, especially how easy it is to get them. While progressing to mew, I discovered 54 species without any trouble.  In part because of the gameplay in my eyes biggest flaws. Pictures professor Oak disapproves off still count towards your “Pokédex’
You can litteralty shoot the foot of Kangaskhan in the first stage and it will still be logged towards your completion process. Though your point count helps unlock items, like the Pokéflute, making bad photos still counts, just very slowly. It takes away some of the magic of the game. Puzzles however are positively interesting. There are spots where pokémon can evolve if you interact with it in a specific way. Knock that charmeleon into a lava pit with an apple and bam you have charizard.  Toss an item at Electrode and it will self destruct, which might unlock new secrets, bait a Slowpoke to a shellder pool and congratulations that Slowpoke evolves into a Slowbro! These are fun and oftenly quite clever. Puzzles that you need to complete are nicely telegraphed to the player without it being in your face obvious on your first run either, you really need to look around! These are even fun for non-pokémon players. The only one that might not work for a non Poké-player would be the Slowbro one because the evolution lore is never conveyed to the player. Maybe the diglett you have to snap three times as well.  All the other puzzles are something the game can communicate to you and you find out by playing around with your items and pokemon. Progression is possible for everyone and the game knows what it is doing and relays the needed information to it’s players.

Unfortunately all that cleverness is thrown out the window for the final encounter. The way you snap Mew is so dumb that it aggravates me.  Once you enter the rainbow cloud you see Mew in a barrier that lights up once you photograph it, ensuring it will not be seen. You solve this by tossing apples onto it’s barrier until they break it.  The Pokémon that created all Pokémon life, who has the power to learn every more, shoot fire that can melt through mountains, that inspired the ultimate weapon Pokémon.. which was basically just a clone.. can be stopped by six apples.  How cool would it have been if we could use everything we learned so far to break it’s barrier. Knock a zubat out of the sky with an apple so it heals it.. losing energy to his barrier, then wake up a pokémon with the flute while we see Mew losing some energy playing with it. Using the dash engine to ram into the barrier while it gets closer and the likes.  Or keep it even cuter. Feed a pokémon with an apple, save a pokemon being bullied with a pester ball, wake a sleeping mother pokemon so she can take care of her kids and eventually Mew sees you love pokémon and reveals itself. Instead we really do get in my opinion of of the worst final stages in gaming history! Meany developers this could have ended so amazing.


I would not have minded the final stage so much if the road towards it was nice and beefy, but you can finish this game  very easily. Within 3 to 6 hours you can beat this game if you can keep your eyes peeled, maybe a bit more if you don’t have the logic sense of a gamer. Speedrunners are even able to 100% complete this game in 24 minutes. That time gap is mostly due to the second gameplay element that can feel a bit iffy, the photo ratings.
At the end of each stage Professor Oak will give you an evaluation of your Pokémon. Size, Pose and is it in the middle of the camera.  That last one works perfectly. The other two are sometimes a bit hard to find out what oak exactly likes to see. A pokémon doing an attack will always give you good points but not every pokémon does that. Sometimes the pose is connected to a seemingly random set of frames. I managed to capture a dragonite during my run and it popped out with a huge smile on it’s face and the moment I snapped it it looked exactly like it was giving me a thumbs up. It was the cutest photo I took during those 3  and a bit hours and Oak didn’t like it all that much! Waaaaaaah! My favorite photograph!
The ratings can make the game feel a bit more static, but if you are just out here to be driven around in the cart and snap Pokémon it’s nothing too bad. It just can break your heart a little of that greyed fool baka meany professor doesn’t like that one truly amazing photograph.

Score

I truly loved replaying this game, I had an amazing time while playing it. Yet though I love spending time with this game, I do not necessarily love the game.  It is definitely worth picking up for an evening when you just want to relax and it ages amazingly well. It doesn’t feel all that retro, in a way it still feels like a modern game. It feels like one of those 20 dollar games you buy on steam these days, you know it’s short but it’s great while it lasts and it’s flaws are easily ignorable for how long the game lasts.  The game feels like it was made for “one evening’ and one might argue we should judge it as such. But I am not going to do that. It feels wrong. It feels like saying you love a hooker as much as a wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend . Simply because  the one may satisfy you fully that one time doesn’t mean she is 100% satisfactory! Pokémon Snap is an enjoyable ride but it is not something you will come back to each night.  It might not it’s intention to last for longer but if we go compare it to a life partner, those can still be fun for that one particular night as well as an entire life. That is why I mark Snap one grade own!

<\ I really need to talk to this girl about her analogies ‘Pinkie Prime>

I am absolutely eager to see a sequel game  someday with hopefully just a bit more flesh on it’s bones and a better final encounter.Until then snacking this will have to do!  Have you ever played Snap? What monster did snap on camera last? Next week you will find me shouting at a pikachu but remember:
I am not weird, just very pink!
Until we read again.

What if Ash started with Eevee, Part 1

Another Wednesday, Another What If, now that this blog is one week old, things are really beginning to flow. Last week, we began the story of What if Red had joined team Rocket at Nugget-Bridge. This week we will take a crack at an arguably more popular story. The story of Ash Ketchum, now that he has his own Eevee in the sun and moon anime, it begs the question. What if Ash started with that other mascotte from the very start. What if Ash started with Eevee?!

Chapter 1: A rough morning
Our story starts , much like the beloved original, Ash excited about his starting his Pokémon journey  stays up way past his bedtime and in his sleep, he accidentally breaks Voltorb alarm clock. When he finally gets to Professor Oak’s lab, he bumps into Gary and here we will find the story is beginning to branch off. Gary you see is followed by a Pikachu.

Ash sees Gary and one of his partners

Oof, with a loud thumb, Ash just slammed into the boy walking with such swagger, the force toppling the already unstable Ash over. The arrogant looking boy takes a look at him, his hairs perfectly groomed kempt upwards in a flowing waving motion, donned in simple yet expensive blue long sleeve, a pendant representing balance around his neck. He would look onto Ash and say, well well you must be Ash, a little late to the party are you? Well at least you got to meet me’ Ash looks at the boy and can only usher out ‘Gary?’ before he is once more interrupted by his soon would be rival. “Not only did I get the bester starter from professor Oak, I also got this special Pokémon, since you did not show up gramps felt it was best to give him to a capable trainer. ‘ He spins the Pokéball with hs starter around and looks at Pikachu, who turns his back on him. ‘Sure he might be a little sassy but he will fall in line soon enough, after all who can resist the charm of Gary Oak?’ Gary’s cheerleaders do their thing, while he gets into his car and takes his leave, Ash being the sole person remaining when the professor shows up. ‘Oh goodness, I did not believe you would show up anymore, a lot of would be trainers get cold feet to leave the house, so… well I am afraid I do not have anymore Pokémon for you Ash, return next year and be in time and you can start then’
Unlike the prof from the original timeline Oak, now having made a mistake,  takes a more sympathetic stance with Ash. Our hero , who has had the worst morning of his life, shows his age as he begins crying. ‘I really wanted a Pokémon, how could I have been this stupid, m-my clock.. I broke it…’ Oak looks at Ash and says ‘There there, crying in your Pajamas  is not a very good look for a young trainer, perhaps I can give you something after all, my grandson might benefit from someone a bit more humble like you. However Ash, i’ll warn you this Pokémon was never intended for a young trainer like you, you may found your journey very difficult, perhaps it would be wiser to come back next year. Ash wipes his tears as his eyes flare up. “No professor this is the year I will become a Pokémon master, no matter how difficult the challenge will be.

Ash dreams of the night before might never come true!

Chapter 2: Who’s  that Pokémon?
Samuel, yes that is Oak’s first name,  would take Ash to his lab.’ I have been doing some research on this Pokémon, it can evolve into three separate Pokémon,I was studying how that is possible, and if maybe other Pokémon can evolve in multiple ways as well, however it is quite timid, it doesn’t seem very eager to battle and seems to be scared to death of evolutionary stones, because it is so scared it also doesn’t seem to like playing with other Pokémon either. Yet perhaps you can draw something out of it that I could not’ Oak looks at Ash in a pensive matter, his grey hairs somewhat thinning, as his age and work stress is beginning to show in his appearance.  ‘Oh and I should also mention this Pokémon is to scared to be in its pokeball’ Oak walks into a room where an Eevee is sitting in a cage eating some pellets, flinching when the two come in. ‘It’s alright Eevee , this will be your new trainer Ash’. The young boy excitedly moves to the cage and holds out its hand to let Eevee sniff it. The creature having basically understood what the professor just said to it sniff’s Ash hand, and reacts surprisingly enthusiastic. ‘Oh look at that professor it seems to like me!’ Ash clamoured with joy. Oak nods with a smile, a look he would become somewhat familiar for. Ash releases Eevee out of its cage and asks the little monster if it is ready for an adventure. The creature flinches a bit, adventures sure sound scary, yet it does like this boy. For some reason it makes Eevee feel safe, kind off.
And so Eevee and Ash set out to adventure together, at the gate of Oaks lab, Delia Ketchum stood to wave her son goodbye, giving him some actual clothes rather then Pajamas, as well as some camping supplies, and LOTS of clean underwear. ‘Whose this little darling’ Delia would ask her son, as Eevee hid behind it’s new masters legs. ‘Mom this is Eevee and with it by my side I swear on this day that I will become a Pokémon master.’ Ash put on the cap from his bag as he said so, taking a pose, that kinda looks silly from a boy in his sleepwear. Delia knew her son had always been a dreamer so she just chuckled and waved at her son, teary eyed as he and Eevee began to follow route 1 towards Viridian city, she would miss her boy so much!

Eevee was not a big fan of crowds

Chapter 3: Killing two birds, with one stone.
About an hour or so into their journey Ash began to truly notice how skittish Eevee was with each sound it would hop in of his legs, sheltering itself against the scary wind or ominous moving twigs. ‘Come on Eevee, you don’t have to be that scared of everything, don’t you pokemon like adventures normally?’ Our hero would say this with some despair and annoyance in his voice. Eevee shaked it’s head fastly in response it was not ready for adventure yet, when suddenly a rustling sound could be heard , as a pidgey popped up from the grass.”Ah Pidgey, Eevee let’s capture it’  Ash took a stance waiting for Eevee to jump by his side, however Eevee chose to tactically retreat and stare at the scene from a bush. ‘Oh come on Eevee’ Ash shouted. The sad looking eyes in that shrubbery however made Ash forgive his Pokémon fast as he told it to just look and see how he would do it. Ash however had not one bit of expertise when it came to Pokémon so he found out fairly soon he would have to deal damage to a Pokemon to capture it. After trying to use his pyjama to trap the pidgey, and getting blown away of wind, eevee screamed in terror fleeing up the tree. ‘Are you sure you can not help me weaken it? ‘ The young trainer would look up at the fox that was now stuck in a tree, just to see it heavily shake it’s head again. Ash picked up some rocks, missing the first stone he scared away three pidgeys, but in the distance he spotted one that was sitting perfectly silently, he would hit it capture it and thus he could teach Eevee how pokemon should normally behave as well, things might work out after all. He just had to land this hit, he trained for this when he tried tossing pokeballs, carefully aiming and YES!
Ash rock hit the bird straight in it’s head, however it turned out this was not a pidgey. It was a young spearow. With some tears in it eyes from the sharp pain it glared at Ash and began it’s attack.

Ash made Spearow miss a delicious worm, he had been looking forward to it a lot!

Chapter 4: A fated meeting
Spearow took flight on a collision course with Ash, who managed to stumble away. As the angry bird pulled up, his gaze met that of a terrified Eevee, deciding it would be its next pray Spearow aligned his flightpath to peck the living hell out of that terribly spoiled, owned pokémon. It hated trainer pokemon and it would pay for what it’s master did to him. While Ash shouted at the spearow to leave his eevee alone, Eevee in blind panic fired a sand attack at its attacker hitting it dead in the eye. The spearow shrieked in pain, getting sand tossed into your eye hurts a lot, blinded by the process it slammed into the tree. Spearow now dazed and confused and angrier than ever felt helpless in this moment, signaling he was in trouble and afraid of being captured he send out an S.O.S call , a call that was answered by plenty of allies.  Ash and Eevee saw the sky darkening as at two dozen, if not more spearow came charging towards them.”Eevee Ruuuuuun” Ash commanded, however the pokemon would have run anyway, the pair began to dash of towards a small waterfall in the distance. ‘Don’t worry I will keep you safe pal’ The ten year old looked at his partner trying to inspire some confidence, to no avail. Eevee spurred on by pure terror began moving faster than Ash could run, not hearing Ash cry for it not to run ahead, it’s mind to clouded by fear. The pack of spearow taking advantage of this to catch up with the Eevee began pecking at it relentlessly, causing to to sustain heavy injuries. Ash, only now becoming a target picked up the injured little fox and with one big plunge jumped off the waterfall. Being dragged by the current, the next thing Ash clearly remembers was being pulled out of the water by a , quite stunning young lady. “Oh my are you okay”  she asked looking visually shocked. ‘Yeah I am doing alright’ the boy would reply grunting a bit in pain as he does so. ‘Not you! your Pokémon, it needs help right away, there is a Pokémon center in the city not far from here’ Misty would look very concerned, where in the classic story it was a pikachu and one of the Pokémon types she isn’t too friendly with , seeing a harmless eevee injured this time, would push her concern over an important edge. ‘Here take my bike, you’ll get there faster’ she would say. Ash would thank her before sprinting off with Eevee in the bike’s basket. Ash thought to himself… “Ash now is the time and place to show what your worth, you have to protect Eevee’, sprinting off with the bike as fast as he could. 

Ash and Misty’s meeting was a bit more friendly….just a bit.

Chapter 5: Ash
Our unfortunate protagonist could not outrun the Spearows for to long, being knocked off the bike, Ash knew this would be his final stand, the skies darkened by storm clouds. ‘Eevee get in your Pokéball, I can keep you safe… just hurry up in and get inside’. The wounded fox creature saw how Ash was about to take some serious damage to protect it, something awakened in Eevee, it had never seen bravery before now..but seeing his new trainer willing to take all these hits for it, filled eevee with strength.
As the spearow began their attack on Ash, Eevee jumped on his shoulders to join the fight. The cowardly pokémon launched it first ever quick attack, having finally found someone to fight for. As the quick attack struck one of the spearows, Eevee realised it’s attack was not very effective. The pair was completely brutalised by the group of swarm of spearow, as Ash saw how they were still attacking his already knocked out Eevee, he knew that this would end badly, that was the last realisation he had before everything went black.

The Spearow would not stop attacking Ash and Eevee for a good while after they went down

He had no idea how many time had past but Ash woke up to a slander hand grabbing his wrist. “Looks like he is alive” a feminine voice says.  The hand that isn’t being held by the slender hand is suddenly licked by a narrow tongue. Ash opens his eyes just to notice Misty checking his pulse and Eevee, covered in grey dust licking his hand. Noticing he is covered in the dust himself, he tries to get up. To his surprise , he doesn’t have any trouble with it at all. Nothing hurts at all! As he tries to dust himself, the girl asks him for his name. ‘It’s Ash’ he replies. ‘I know it’s ash, but how did it get here, and what is your name boy?’. The orange haired girl sounds quite demanding yet there is still a lingering calmth in her voice.  ‘I mean my name is Ash’. The woman giggles a bit, well then Ash covered in ash, my name is Misty’.
Our hero pets his pokémon which gets dusted off a bit with each pat. ‘How did you heal your pokémon so fast, and what’s with the spa treatment in the middle of the road?’  Misty sounds curious as she examines him, doesn’t she notice he wounded he is Ash wonders. That’s when he realises he has no injuries at all, not a single bit of flesh is cut anymore, yet his clothes are in bad shape. ‘I … I don’t know’ the boy must confess he has absolutely no idea on what happened. ‘I thought we were going to die’ Ash looks down to the ground, noticing some weird rainbowlike reflection, he looks up to the sky to see where it is coming from, only to see clear blue skies. ‘Well, we will figure it out, looks like you can use someone who can teach you a bit about Pokémon, I’ll travel along a bit with you… think of it as way of me saying thanks for returning my bike back safely to me. Misty points towards her bike that although being covered in ash, still looks quite fine.’Thanks.. that might be useful, right Eevee?’ The Ketchum boy looks at his partner which shouts out his name with enthusiasm, looking eager for an adventure now. “Ash there is something in your hair” Misty would  gently touch the boys head, seeing how caring he is for his eevee made her smile, gently caressing the hair before taking the item and handing it to the boy, their gazes lingering on each other for a bit. Looking at the item in his hand, he realises this was what gave off that weird rainbow reflection from before. In his hand rest on bright multicoloured feather that seems to give off some shine.

Eevee and Ash stared at their relic for quite a while, while night began to set in.

In the distance a balloon lingers in the air, three strangers are using magnifying glasses to see the group. A female whips her hair back as she removes the binoculars from her eyes. Did you see that? That boy and his Pokémon died out there… than that stuff fell out of the sky. I bet the boss would like that feather very much’. A posh male voice would add ‘and I bet he would not mind an Eevee that came back from the dead either. The third voice doesn’t belong to  a human but to a pokemon a golden coin shimmering on its forehead as it simply agrees with the others “That’s Right!”

The End

Yay my little monsters, part one has concluded, I quite like how this turned out. Expect some major changes coming in the near future. Until then, let me know if you are Team Pikachu or Team Eevee, leave a like to brighten up my day but most of all stay pink!