“Go snap a picture of this Pokemon,” Professor Snap tells you, snapilly.“Yeah, go do that snapping!” his daughter, Lil Snap says.“You ain’t never gonna snap as good as me!” your rival, Kid Snap brags.“Also I’m here,” Todd Snap says.
This is how conversations go in New Pokemon Snap. I love the game, but I don’t think it could be possible for me to care less about any of the human characters in it. One of those names isn’t even a joke, by the way. Todd Snap, the hero we all definitely don’t remember from the first game, is back – and it’s apparently a big deal, despite his underwhelming personality and lack of impact on the narrative. When it comes to humans in Pokemon Snap, it just feels like there is zero point to any of them being there.
Let’s start with the professor, who is actually called Professor Mirror; named after the famous Peruvian mirror tree. There is a point to his presence, I will grant you. He shapes the game, giving you various updates and introducing new mechanics like the multi shutter and the turbo boost, while it’s his research that lets you use different illumina orbs and unlocks new routes. I don’t really care all that much about the story, but I can see Professor Mirror has a place in it. He’s doing research, your photographs help, a bit of waffle about a meteor… it all makes sense. He’s a bit boring, but sure, he fits in easily enough. It’s the rest of them I have an issue with.
It feels like Lil Snap (turns out her name is Rita, who knew?) is there to add more personality to Professor Mirror’s bland delivery, and that’s great. Or at least, it would be if she actually had a personality. Instead she just stands there and either repeats what he’s already said or says something he could have said anyway – neither with any more personality than the Prof himself. Rita was apparently based on Goodra, but why on earth is she not just an actual Goodra? Have a dull child stand there or one of the coolest, grossest Pokemon ever just dripping in slime like it just came from the Kid’s Choice Awards? No contest.
Then there’s Kid Snap – actually called Phil, which I presume is short for ‘please Phil with a personality’. I’ve already written about Phil specifically, but he is without question the worst rival in Pokemon history. He’s too competitive to be friendly, too boring to be comic relief, and never actually acts as a rival. He occasionally says that he’s going to take an even better snap than you, but he never actually takes any pictures. I don’t think he takes a single photograph across the entire game, but there’s nothing comedic or clever about this – it’s not played as a joke. He just doesn’t bother. It’s clear that even his mentor, Todd Snap, doesn’t want him. Todd tells you he’s not really Phil’s mentor, Phil just won’t leave him alone. You’d think that would be a funny situation to riff on, but as you might have guessed by now, the game does not.
That brings us on to our final human character, Todd Snap himself. As I said before, he’s also there.
The humans in New Pokemon Snap are dull even by generic Pokemon supporting cast standards, but at least the Pokemon make up for what they lack. If I had to spend time with this lot, I’d probably develop a hobby that meant being on my own for long stretches of time too.
Next: Bruxish, The World’s Most Photogenic Pokemon, Needs To Be In New Pokemon Snap
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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey
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