10 Photography Centric Games Like New Pokemon Snap
It’s been over 20 years since the original Pokemon Snap was released for the Nintendo 64, and, later this month, the New Pokemon Snap will be released for the Nintendo Switch. The original Pokemon Snap offered a safari-like experience in which the player can take pictures of Pokemon in their natural environment, with points being awarded for getting dynamic shots of Pokemon in action or more than one Pokemon in a single frame.
Hopefully, the New Pokemon Snap will be able to capture the same exciting experience the original iteration offered and may even open the door for more photography-based games to be made. With that in mind, here are 10 other photography-centric games with similar gameplay to the New Pokemon Snap.
This is an obvious choice, but if you’re looking forward to playing the New Pokemon Snap, returning to the original title while you wait seems like an excellent idea. The player takes the role of Todd Snap (yes, that’s his name) as he explores Pokemon Island on behalf of Professor Oak. It’s a rail-shooter experience, but, instead of blowing Pokemon away, you’re taking mind-blowing pictures.
The game encourages patience and attention to detail. If you wait for the right moments, you’ll catch Pokemon doing funny and exciting things or even spot a rare Pokemon in the environment.
Gekibo: Gekisha Boy
Gekibo: Gekisha Boy is one of those lost gems that never made it to a real release in the west. It is a photography-based side-scroller that stars David Goldman. He wants to be a photographer, but his parents suddenly died. That tragedy discouraged him, but his mentors at the university push him to keep trying.
As you can tell, this is a weird one, and the art style is more than a little unsettling. However, its gameplay is most mechanically like a Pokemon Snap game that you’re probably going to find outside of a horror title. David takes unique and interesting pictures of the world around him and, once he gets a high enough score, he unlocks the next stage. Gekibo never got a western release, and its sequel, Polaroid Pete, never got a full release in the west. You’d have a hard time finding a way to play it, but a few enterprising individuals have gotten their hands on it.
Life Is Strange
Life is Strange is an episodic story-based videogame developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix. It follows Max Caulfield as she gets involved in a conspiracy at her art school, Blackwell Academy, that leads her to reconnect with an old friend named Chloe Price and the development of time-travel powers.
Max is at Blackwell to become a professional photographer, so being able to take pictures is a mechanic of the game. It’s often an optional thing the player can do for fun, but it becomes relevant to the plot on a few occasions.
The Bradwell Conspiracy
The Bradwell Conspiracy is an adventure game developed by A Brave Plan and published by Bossa Studios. It takes place in the near future where the protagonist is trapped in a giant underground complex with no clear path to escape. The player’s only option is to take pictures with their Google Glasses-like equipment and send them to another survivor trapped elsewhere in the complex.
It’s a very interesting idea for an adventuring puzzle game, and it involves a similar need to take photos, study the environment, and trial-and-error that Pokemon Snap offers.
Beyond Good & Evil
Beyond Good & Evil is where this list is going to start drawing away from Pokemon Snap a bit, as this game is primarily an action-adventure game. However, Beyond Good & Evil has elements in its gameplay that replicate the feeling of Pokemon Snap.
Beyond Good & Evil was developed and published by Ubisoft. Its protagonist, Jade, fights monsters with her combat staff instead of taking cute pictures of them from a railcar. However, Jade’s actual occupation is that of a photojournalist, and a big part of the game is her collecting photographic evidence of a vast and diabolical conspiracy. To this end, she has to use her trusty camera to take the perfect shot to get the evidence she needs.
Firewatch, the 2016 adventure and investigation game by developer Camp Santo and publisher Panic, isn’t quite as much of a photography-centric game as the prior entries on this list. However, it does have a photography segment in the middle of the game that allows it a slot on here.
The player can find a used disposable camera in a knapsack and take up to 18 photographs of the lovingly crafted environment. The player can upload these photos, and, for a while, Camp Santo was actually developing these photos and mailing them to the players. However, this is no longer the case since the game came out almost five years ago now.
A lot of games involving photography and taking pictures of the environment are actually horror games, and the most famous of these is the Fatal Frame series by Koei Tecmo. The games surround the Camera Obscura, which falls into the hands of various protagonists who end up exploring haunted locales.
Taking pictures is central to Fatal Frame gameplay, as it is the only way to ward off ghosts. The better the picture and the closer the ghosts are to the player, the more damage the photograph will do to the ghost. There have been five total entries into the Fatal Frame, aka Project Zero, series, with the most recent one, Fatal Frame: The Maiden of Black Water, releasing on the Wii U in 2014.
Phasmophobia is a fairly recent release that made some waves with gaming YouTubers and streamers. It is a cooperative multiplayer horror game wherein a team of ghost investigators go to a location, determine what kind of ghost is present, get evidence, and get out. It was developed and published by Kinetic Games.
There are several ways to detect ghosts and gain evidence of their presence, and one of them is, of course, taking a picture. This isn’t always an option or even advisable, but it is an element of the gameplay that can give the player the feeling of a real photographer.
Outlast is another horror release that has players recording and observing events with a camera. This one came out in 2013 and was developed and published by Red Barrels. This game stars a photojournalist by the name of Miles Upshur. Using his camcorder is a central part of the gameplay, as Miles is aiming to record what has happened at Mount Massive Asylum.
Using night vision is a necessary element, as it’s the only way that Miles can see what’s happening around him in the dark–and it gets dark a lot. Recording certain items and events will also prompt Miles to take notes, and it helps uncover more details and clues for the player to read.
Finally, we have the Dead Rising series. The first Dead Rising game stars Frank West, a photojournalist who is trapped in a zombie-filled mall, and he has 72 hours to escape. The game’s primary hook is using anything and everything as a zombie-killing weapon as well as the ability to combine items to better kill zombies.
However, Frank West is a photojournalist, and he can take pictures of the zombies to gain experience points, here called Prestige Points, to upgrade Frank’s zombie-survival skills. It’s not a necessary gameplay mechanic, but it’s one that helps Frank better survive the world around him.
We’ve traveled pretty far from Pokemon Snap by now, but photography games are, as of right now, still fairly rare. Many of the ones that exist are horror games, but, if you’re looking more for the photography experience than just the cuteness of Pokemon, these games can still suit your needs.