It is truly impressive how many Pokémon encounters can be had in New Pokémon Snap. With over 200 Pokémon in the game, there’s already plenty to take pictures of. But add to that the many ways the Pokémon interact with each other and the environment and there’s an almost endless amount of rare photo opportunities that capture the spirit of awe and spontaneity inherent to wildlife photography.
I’m impressed at how much there is to do in New Pokémon Snap. The fact that each level is on-rails makes it more of a safari or an interactive zoo. But by changing each course after key goals, like new research levels, are achieved, the game manages to continually refresh them. Of the many jaw-dropping or heartwarming moments I’ve had so far, some have obviously stood out more than others. Here are some of my favorites.
10. Spheal rolling around living his best life
No matter what you catch Spheal doing up in Shiver Shownfields, he’s always having one of the best times of all the Pokémon in the game (Bidoof might just barely edge him out). Sometimes he’s just rolling around on a patch of ice, other times he’s blissfully floating on his back, and sometimes he’s being pursued by a pack of Piplups. And every time it is beyond adorable.
9. Eevee protecting his trash friend
In the research camp level, throwing an apple at Eevee only prompts the usual response…until you hit his friend Trubbish, which is basically throwing down the gauntlet. Try it again later and you’ll see Trubbish spew out toxic gas, prompting Eevee to run away.
8. Eevee jumping on Meganium
Oh, to be a tiny Eevee with a giant Illumina Meganium to jump on. At the start of the Illumina level for Florio Nature Park, look over to Meganium’s spot on the left to spy this little scene (a picture of Eevee at the height of his jump will award you a three-star photo!) And for more small boys with big friends, keep an eye out on the night course at Florio Nature Park to spot Scorchbunny channeling serious Bugs Bunny vibes while sleeping on a Torterra.
7. Wooper and Quagsquire swimming
In the Founja Jungle during the day, starting at research level 2, you can catch an extremely adorable swim lesson going on just outside the waterfall. Wooper and his later evolution Quagsquire take a big dive in, providing lots of cute and high scoring photo opportunities.
6. Cacnea with apples
If you lob your Fluffruit juuuust right out in the Sweltering Sands on the Day track, you can put a set of Sailor Moon style double buns on the Cacnea! I love this one because of the deep ‘90s vibes. Cacnea is on trend and wears it well.
5. Wailer yeets Pyukumuku
In New Pokémon Snap we learn something very important about Wailers: they are bullies. Nonetheless, the moment between Wailer and Pyukumuku in Lental Seafloor, in which he literally blows the little Sea Cucumber Pokémon right out of the water, is still adorable, even if it’s a bit cruel.
4. Aipom bouncing on Quagsquire
A thing about Aipoms is that they are extremely rude. Nonetheless, this early-game moment in Founja Jungle is one of the cutest—keep an eye out for the Aipoms crossing your path and watch as they cross the water to the left, taking the Quagsquire shortcut along the way.
3. Pikachu surfing on a Mantine
Which is cuter, Raichu on his surfboard on the beach in Blushing Beach? Or Pikachu surfing on one of those gloriously acrobatic Mantines? Sadly, I still haven’t caught this one myself, but if you keep an eye out on the left at the beginning of Maricopia Reef, and light up the Crystabloom at the start, you can see a Pikachu surfing on the back of a Mantine!
2. Cacnea and Skrupi in the tornado
OK, maybe I’m a child (I am), but the sight of Cacnea and Skrupi getting caught in the sand tornados in Sweltering Sands absolutely cracked me up. Take the Day course on research level 2 to catch this sight.
1. Squirtle saved from a Sharknado by Lapras
One of my favorite encounters is this nailbiter with a happy ending: Squirtle being chased by a Sharknado in Maricopia Reef, only to jump on the back of a protective Lapras, who chews his pursuer out like a mama protecting its young. This one plays out starting research level 3, and despite knowing how it turns out, I’m cheering on the little blue shelled guy every time.
Holly Green is the editor-at-large of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.