New Pokémon Snap how to play

Find out everything you need to know about how to play New Pokémon Snap with our rundown of the ten most important elements to get the most out of the game. On the face of things, the latest addition to the Gotta Catch ‘Em All phenomenon is a simple rail shooter where you ride the NEO-ONE and snap away to your heart’s content. However, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that it is actually Groundhog Day experimentation with a lot of variables to play with throughout each level run.

You play a Pokémon photographer working for Professor Mirror to research and snap the Pokémon as you explore the Lental Region. The good news is that the Prof will give you some pretty good tips as you play the game, but if you ever need a refresher, you can check the details below, along with the play mechanics that will help you get better results from your photographs.

New Pokémon Snap how to play: The basics

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The controls for New Pokémon Snap are fairly simple. You don’t need to steer the NEO-ONE, so all you need to do is tilt either the Nintendo Switch console or the controller to look in different directions as you’re taxied around each location. You then use the various controls below to take pictures and interact with the Pokémon you encounter:

  • X to use the scanner
  • A to snap a picture
  • Y to throw an Illumina Orb in the direction of the target on the screen
  • B to throw a Fluff Fruit in the direction of the target on the screen
  • ZL to zoom into focus on a Pokémon

The 10 most important how to play mechanics for New Pokémon Snap

  1. The rule of attraction: Fluffruit

If you want to get a Pokémon to come a little closer then you can simple throw a Fluffruit at it. If you get the location just right then you’ll be able to attract them to you, meaning that they will be bigger in your pictures and give you better scores. They might also do something interesting as a result like roar or eat the fruit, which adds to your potential score.

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You should also keep an eye out for holes in trees or the ground. Throw a Fluffruit towards it and you might attract a new Pokémon out of it to snap. This is the same for long grass, but you might also want to try the Pokéflute music to see what happens in these situations, but this will be covered in more detail below.

2. The subtle art of distraction: More Fluffruit

Unlike the original Pokémon Snap, there are no Pester Balls in the Nintendo Switch sequel. However, you can achieve similar results with the Fluffruit. Throw one gently at a sleeping Pokémon at night and you can wake them up to see some new behaviour. Equally, if they are running away and you want to stop them a little, you can try throwing one of the fruits right at them to get them to halt their progress. This should give you a little more time to get your shots off or get closer to them for better size scores.

3. Music is good for the soul

Play a little music to Pokémon as you’re passing by and you’ll get to see new behaviour for your research and pics. This can also be used to slow them down or to attract them closer to you, so experimentation is key. Different Pokémon respond differently to the music, so try it out on all of them to see how it affects your scores.

4. Scan, scan and scan again

You won’t be able to see all of the Pokémon in an area by just looking around. Instead, some of them might be hiding and the only way to find them is to use your scan function as you ride the NEO-ONE. Be on the lookout for caves, holes, long grass and foliage that might be concealing a ‘Mon or two and as soon as you discover them, be ready with the attraction and distraction tips mentioned above.

There’s also an accidental feature of the noise of the scanner, which makes some Pokémon pause and react, which can give you the time needed to get off a better picture.

5. Check your stats

If you really want to get to the heart of how to play New Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo Switch, then you really need to become a statto. You might be tempted just to give the results from Professor Mirror a cursory glance, but the pro tip is to really study them and what they mean for your pictures. It’s only by understanding these that you’ll become great at the game. The stats are pose, size, direction, placement, other Pokémon and background. In general, for the best scores you want a nice pose (some kind of interesting behaviour), a big size in the frame of the picture, the Pokémon entirely in the frame, facing the camera and ideally in the middle of the shot. Having other Pokémon in the picture can add to your score and stare rating and then it also helps to have a little interest in the background.

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The scores are different to the star ratings, which are based on the action of the Pokémon in the shot. You need to photograph special actions to get a higher star rating, so try out all of the other tips in the guide to achieve this.

6. Level up for new options

Each time you run through an area and complete research, you’ll increase your level for that area by picking up scores for your pictures. Keep doing that and as you increase the level, you’ll unlock new behaviour and Pokémon for that area. This will be key to completing your Pokédex and getting higher scores and star ratings. It’s also going to be the way to unlock higher-scoring Pokémon like Legendaries, so it’ll be worth grinding a little and you should see something new as you retry levels.

7. Illumina to illuminate

Using the Illumina Orbs, you can light up Pokémon with the effect, which will add to your potential score. This might result in new behaviour or pause them briefly to get a closer shot. You can also fire these at certain plants to light them up, which again results in some very different results.

In addition to the Illumina Orbs, you’ll also discover Pokémon that naturally exhibit the Illumina Phenomenon. We’re expecting this to be tied into research level unlocks, so see the point above for more on that. These will be some of the highest scoring pictures to get in New Pokémon Snap, along with the Legendary discoveries.

8. Pokémon specific behaviour

Try to think about the specific behaviour each Pokémon has. A good example is Pikachu’s electricity. Could this be used to do something new? In the original game, this was how you hatched the egg in the cave to unlock Zapdos, so thinking about this idea as you go through each level will help you uncover new discoveries.

9. Pokémon evolution

You should also think about the evolutions that might occur. For example, in the original Pokémon Snap, you could only get Gyarados by evolving a Magikarp. If your Pokédex is missing anything that is a later evolution then it could be something to think about for your next run.

10. As different as night and day

Finally, you will need to explore both the night and day of a location to discover all Pokémon. Obviously, some of the ‘Mon are nocturnal, so you’ll only encounter them at night. Equally, you might see some new behaviour from daytime creatures if you research them at night using all of the tips above.

And that’s it for how to play New Pokémon Snap. With this knowledge, you should be smashing out the 4 star photographs a whole lot easier. Don’t forget to share the guide on Facebook and Twitter to anyone you think might a few tips.