Plenty of franchises have been able to grow in popularity and scope, but the Pokémon series has expanded in some exciting ways, like its Pokémon Snap offshoot. The on-rails photography “shooter” series was dormant for over a decade, but New Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo Switch has proven that there’s still a lot of enthusiasm for these spin-off games.
The growing Pokédex in the Pokémon games has nearly reached 1000 unique creatures, which would be difficult to fit into this title. New Pokémon Snap originally features 214 Pokémon, but the new— and free— recent DLC release adds to that number with nearly two dozen more creatures. Some of these additions feel like they should have been included from the start, but others are a little more puzzling.
10 Best: Tepig Brings Some Generation V Blood Into The Mix
There are now so many generations of Pokémon to pull from that a spin-off series like Pokémon Snap faces the struggle of determining which regions to focus on. New Pokémon Snap prioritizes some generations over others and Pokémon Black & White and its Unova region definitely get shortchanged.
This makes Tepig such an encouraging addition, not only because the Fire-Type Starter Pokémon is a satisfying creature, but it’s hopefully a sign that more Gen V love is on the way. It’s difficult to pick between Generation V’s trio of Starter Pokémon, but Tepig’s pig design strays from the norm.
9 Worst: Shroomish Feels Like A Fleeting Addition To Snap’s Pokédex
There’s an unusual relationship in the Pokémon community where some of the grumpy and brattier creatures can be seen as cute in their own special way. There’s a bit of this effect with Shroomish, a Grass-Type Pokémon that debuted in the Johto region, but has never made that much of an impact.
There’s nothing wrong with Shroomish and it’s a Pokémon that feels like it belongs in the environments that New Pokémon Snap visits, but its relative invisibility in the grander Pokémon series speaks to why there are more interesting Pokémon that could have been added instead.
8 Best: Ursaring Is A Natural Fit To The Game’s Environments
At this point in the franchise there are plenty of Pokémon that have designs that draw inspiration from completely unnatural or man-made creations, yet a game like New Pokémon Snap definitely skews more towards the Pokémon that feel like they belong in nature.
Bears are a natural fit for several of the courses in New Pokémon Snap and the initial 214 Pokémon do include creatures like Bewear. However, Ursaring has become one of the most iconic Bear Pokémon from the series and so it’s fitting to see it make its way in via the DLC.
7 Worst: Swalot Is Another Muted Pokémon With Diminishing Returns
There are a lot of Poison-Type Pokémon that get overlooked and admittedly, there’s a lot of similarities between Pokémon like Muk, Garbodor, and Swalot. Swalot brings more Generation III representation into New Pokémon Snap and while the addition of more Poison-Types is helpful, it doesn’t feel like Swalot is the best choice to represent this underdog group of Pokémon.
There are more exciting Poison-Type Pokémon that could have been turned to or at least utilize Swalot in a more creative way that’s not so inconsequential to the courses.
6 Best: Feraligatr Is The Right Mix Of Ferocious And Nostalgic
Pokémon has come a long way since its earliest days, but there’s still a tremendous amount of love for Generation I and II, which is reflected by a number of the existing Pokémon within New Pokémon Snap. Feraligatr is a popular Johto region Water-Type that’s the intimidating final evolution of Starter Pokémon, Totodile.
It’s difficult to feature all of the beloved Starter Pokémon from the different generations, but inclusions like Feraligatr make sense from an environmental standpoint and still cover some of their bases when it comes to classical Pokémon representation.
5 Worst: Diglett Returns From The First Game, But The Series Has Moved On
There’s a sense of completion to take satisfaction in when a missing Pokémon from Pokémon Snap gets added to New Pokémon Snap, but it’s not always a worthwhile experience. Diglett, the Ground-Type Pokémon, makes its return here.
It’s nice to have Diglett back, but there are just now so many more exciting Pokémon out there that there’s less appeal in this Pokémon receiving a showcase. The original Pokémon Snap had less creatures to pull from, but now Pokémon like Diglett have less appeal and feel more like relics of the past than friendly faces.
4 Best: Rockruff Is An Adorable & More Recent Pokémon That’s Worthy Of A Showcase
There is no shortage of cute Pokémon that have entered the franchise, but one of the more recent additions from Generation VII’s Alola region is the fetching Rockruff. The Rock-Type canine Pokémon didn’t originally make the cut in New Pokémon Snap, but the DLC rectifies this omission.
Rockruff is definitely one of the most photogenic Pokémon from this extra DLC material and even an off-center shot of this creature will still be full of charm. A lot of giant Pokémon that represent the grandiose aspect of nature are in New Pokémon Snap, but Rockruff skews in the opposite direction.
3 Worst: Tropius Is A Natural Fit & A Popular Pokémon But Blends Into The Background
Tropius is an interesting Pokémon because it’s actually a creature that many players were disappointed wasn’t initially featured in New Pokémon Snap since the Fruit Pokémon is such a natural fit for the game’s tropical locales.
It’s unclear if the addition of Tropius via DLC is a response to audiences or not, but it ultimately doesn’t amount to much. The Hoenn region Grass- and Flying-Type Pokémon does provide that Jurassic Park-esque brontosaurus moment, but it blends in with its surroundings more than it makes a bold impression.
2 Best: Gyarados Is A Classic From The Original Snap Who Makes His Return
A lot of the Pokémon from the N64’s original Pokémon Snap transfer over to the Switch’s sequel, but this isn’t the case for every creature. One of the most memorable moments from the first game is when a Gyarados majestically bursts out from behind a waterfall. Many were disappointed when New Pokémon Snap didn’t recreate this experience in a modern context.
Thankfully, the DLC brings back Gyarados from the Kanto region in all of its glory. There’s nostalgia to appreciate with the addition of Gyarados, but it’s also just a Pokémon that properly meshes in with the game’s courses.
1 Worst: Snorlax Is A Classic Creature That Coasts On Nostalgia
Some of the original 151 Pokémon function as if they have a free pass and can do no wrong, but it’s not always helpful to bring them on board. Snorlax is another Kanto region Pokémon that returns to the series after his initial absence.
Snorlax is a popular Pokémon, but in a title based around precision photography, there’s not as much appeal surrounding a gigantic target that barely moves. However, the addition of Munchlax to the game in tandem with Snorlax would be a whole other story.