I know we’re all excited that official Pokémon games are starting to appear on mobile and optimistic that this means even more Pokésque things for the future. But while we’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 Pokémon Snap will find its way to modern devices.
Is this likely to happen? No.
Luckily, however, Snapimals is happening, and it’s as close to a spiritual successor as you can get without alerting Nintendo’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 island’s tourist-attracting museum. To do so, you’ll take trips through a variety of locations—like the jungle, frozen cave, and even a dinosaur-infested swamp—via an on-rails auto-scroller. As you pass through the wilderness, you’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 “The Captain,” the mysterious old man who built the island exhibit, and then selected for display. Photos that aren’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 abilities—like an inventor who enhances your lens’ zoom—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 elephant’s head, fulfilling the “Companions” 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 helpful—like building suggestions—as well as purely entertaining—like wishing for rain because they need a bath. It’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.