I know weâ€™re all excited that official PokĂ©mon games are starting to appear on mobile and optimistic that this means even more PokĂ©sque things for the future. But while weâ€™re treated to augmented reality and match-3 spin-offs of the series, those of us with fond memories of throwing apples at Bulbasaurs and catching glimpses of surfing Pikachu are left dreaming that PokĂ©mon Snap will find its way to modern devices.
Is this likely to happen? No.
Luckily, however, Snapimals is happening, and itâ€™s as close to a spiritual successor as you can get without alerting Nintendoâ€™s lawyers.
The first mobile offering from new development house BebopBee, Snapimals is a ridiculously charming simulation that combines wildlife photography with lite park building elements. As the recently hired photographer for a brand new island animal exhibit, your job is to snap engaging photos of the local fauna which can be displayed in the islandâ€™s tourist-attracting museum. To do so, youâ€™ll take trips through a variety of locationsâ€”like the jungle, frozen cave, and even a dinosaur-infested swampâ€”via an on-rails auto-scroller. As you pass through the wilderness, youâ€™ll need to move and zoom your camera in an attempt to find, and capture, the best shots of the wildlife possible.
At the end of each trip, your photos will be judged by â€śThe Captain,â€ť the mysterious old man who built the island exhibit, and then selected for display. Photos that arenâ€™t up to snuff will be sold off for cash, which you can then use to expand your museum and the rest of the park, attracting more visitors and opening up new areas of the archipelago to explore. Some of those visitors will help improve your photo-taking abilitiesâ€”like an inventor who enhances your lensâ€™ zoomâ€”while others will just contribute money to your ever-expanding animal imagery empire.
The combination of photography and park-building provides a lot of progress to focus on, but there are also plenty of achievements and special challenge photos for you to uncover. On one of our first outings in the jungle we were treated to a dik-dik sitting on an elephantâ€™s head, fulfilling the â€śCompanionsâ€ť picture request. Besides the laid back and rewarding gameplay, everything about Snapimals oozes with charm. The animals are lively and adorable, making each trip out with your camera a delight. Patrons wander your park and make comments that are both helpfulâ€”like building suggestionsâ€”as well as purely entertainingâ€”like wishing for rain because they need a bath. Itâ€™s a simply feel good game, obviously built with a lot of heart, and has already stolen ours.
Snapimals is currently soft-launched in Canada and will release worldwide on iOS Oct. 15th and on Android Nov. 30th.