New Pokemon Snap does an excellent job showcasing some long-forgotten and neglected Pokemon, reminding fans that every Pokemon can be special in the right circumstances. The main series Pokemon games have increasingly turned into a Legendary free-for-all over the years. In almost every Pokemon game since Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, players have battled evil Pokemon trainers while trying to prevent them from harnessing the powers of a Legendary Pokemon. These games have established that Legendary Pokemon are the ultimate Pokemon - they can cause environmental cataclysms, re-write reality, power doomsday weapons, and warp space-time itself. Because of the sheer power levels of Legendary Pokemon and their importance to the plotline of the main series games, it can feel like Legendary Pokemon are the only Pokemon that truly make a difference in the Pokemon world.
That's one of the reasons why New Pokemon Snap feels like such a breath of fresh air. While Legendary and Mythical Pokemon do appear in the game (and one Legendary Pokemon plays a central role in the game's plot), much of the game's focus is on the Illumina Pokemon, all but one of which are "mundane" non-Legendary Pokemon. Each of these encounters are treated as incredibly special experiences, with both the player character and his support team treating the Illumina Pokemon with utmost reverence and appreciation. It might be the first time that we've seen a Pokemon like Meganium (one of the most-derided Starter Pokemon in the franchise) or Milotic (a Pokemon talked up a ton in the Pokedex, but neglected in the games and anime) treated like they are a very big and important deal. New Pokemon Snap reminds fans that just because a Meganium isn't exactly a powerhouse compared to other Pokemon, it's still a big grassy brontosaurus with the ability to resurrect dead plants. Honestly, who would have ever thought that Meganium of all Pokemon would be one of the few Pokemon to get its own Twitter emoji? That's....a pretty big deal and could turn Meganium from a running punchline among the Pokemon fandom to a new fan-favorite among the new generation of kids playing New Pokemon snap.
Honestly, watching New Pokemon Snap treat non-Legendary Pokemon as a big deal was really inspiring. Lots of Pokemon are actually really powerful either in lore or via abilities and special moves, but they're often crowded out by Legendary and Mythical Pokemon who have the potential to cause the heat-death of the universe or has the potential to murder every single creature within 100 kilometers with just a stray thought. Hopefully, Game Freak takes cues from New Pokemon Snap and begins to spotlight non-Legendary Pokemon in the main series games. Not only would it provide some powerful moments and turn players into fans of some Pokemon that aren't Starter Pokemon or Legendary Pokemon, it will also remind fans about how special and weird the world of Pokemon really is.
New Pokemon Snap is available on the Nintendo Switch now.