After nearly two decades, a long-forgotten photography simulation has finally found a spiritual successor that has made its way back to North America. I’m not talking about Fatal Frame, though Maiden of Black Water does bring the horror classic to the Wii U for the first time. I mean Pokémon Snap, possibly the only great home console game in Nintendo’s wildly popular franchise.
For those who don’t recall, 1999’s Pokémon Snap armed players with a camera and asked them to capture photos of shutter-shy pocket monsters in grand, fleeting poses. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water does much the same, except instead of capturing a gracefully surfing Gyarados, you’re shooting stills of spirits watching you from behind corners or reliving their final, bloody moments.
It’s a survival-horror game in the way that survival-horror games haven’t been in years. Open areas inspire exploration, which is rewarded with ammunition (in the form of film) and other consumables, which have to be hoarded efficiently enough to drown the final boss in weapons-grade Kodak.