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22 years. That's how long it's taken for Nintendo to finally release a sequel to 1999's much-loved Pokémon Snap.
This April, as part of the 25th anniversary Pokémon celebrations, fans will finally be able to get their hands on the imaginatively titled New Pokémon Snap for Nintendo Switch. Not only does this prove that good things come to those who wait, but that anything is possible during this year's quarter century celebrations. That got me thinking: why stop at New Pokémon Snap? Why not revive some of the other classic spinoff games that the core RPG has spawned over the years?
The first one that comes to mind, of course, is Pokémon Dash. But given that only about five people ever played that underrated DS classic, I'd be more than happy to settle for a substitute. How about Pokémon Colosseum 3?
In 2003, back when 3D Pokémon games were the kind of thing that could only exist on a home console and not some fancy handheld device, Pokémon Colosseum was the story-driven RPG that slightly old fans of the franchise had been longing for. Most of the things we're familiar with from the core games - battle mechanics, leveling systems, type weaknesses, etc - were all present and correct. But where standard Pokémon games had you explore and catch monsters in a bright and vibrant world, Colosseum told a much darker story about a freedom fighter working to rescue abused Pokémon.
The big twist on the formula in Colosseum was that instead of catching wild monsters, players would instead get their new Pokémon from trainer battles. You couldn't simply pinch any trainer's Pokémon, of course. You'd need to identify the ones that had been infected with this... darkness. Liberate them from their trainers, and you could then set about "opening their hearts" to bring them back to normality - at which point they could form a vital part of your team. If you wanted them, of course. It was very much Pokémon for emos, and people loved it. Certainly, they loved enough for it to have spawned an equally excellent sequel in 2005... but that was the end of the series.
I say that's a damn shame. Even with more recent Pokémon games on the 3DS and Switch offering people the chance to see battles in 3D - something that was a genuine novelty back in 2003 - Colosseum and its sequel were the more mature games that many of us craved at the time, and still crave today.
A third game in the series for Switch that closes out the trilogy and offer something between a traditional Pokémon experience and a slightly deeper JRPG could very well end up being one of the best Pokémon spinoffs out there. I can't say it'll ever happen, but if we can get New Pokémon Snap after two decades... well, maybe anything is possible.
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