The world of Pokemon has been spun off in ridiculous ways. Players have seen fighting games, which come naturally to the franchise, but it's also card games, pinball series, puzzle titles and dungeon crawls. There's even a game that teaches kids to brush their teeth.
One of the early and ingenious games was "Pokemon Snap," which essentially lets players be a wildlife photographer — but instead of shooting lions, tigers and bears, they take pictures of Squirtles, Bulbasaurs and Charmanders.
When it was released in 1999, the game gained a cult following, but that fandom didn't translate to a sequel until more than 20 years later, with the arrival of "New Pokemon Snap."
The gameplay will be familiar to fans of the original. Players enter a pod called the Neo-One, which trundles along a predetermined path almost like those "Jurassic Park" Ford Explorers. While touring in the vehicle, players can look around and snap images of the creatures. At the end of the tour, players choose images to present to Professor Mirror, who scores them based on six categories: pose, size, direction, placement, other Pokemon and background.
It's an unusual system that gives players leeway to express their creativity. The venture requires patience, timing and a good eye for composition. All of this technically makes "New Pokemon Snap" an on-rail shooter similar to arcade classics like "Time Crisis" or "House of the Dead." But "Snap" is more meditative and strategic.
Memorizing the location of Pokemon and how they dart through the route lets players anticipate the best position and setting for pictures. "New Pokemon Snap" also throws in tools such as Fluffruit, music and Illumina orbs. These items let players maneuver pocket monsters into favorable spots or reveal unusual reactions.
Because of its repetitiveness, "New Pokemon Snap" is best in spurts. The game also lets players share their best images online and compliment ones they like through Sweet medals, which are essentially social media "likes." This is where players can express their creativity using stickers, frames and filters. Players can also share their images via Twitter.
New Pokemon Snap
Platform: Nintendo Switch.