Getting behind the lens of a camera can be an incredibly creative experience. It’s no wonder that video games would try to replicate that experience. These are the best photography games you can play right now.
In one form or another, each game incorporates photography within its gameplay. The list is presented in no particular order and is of the author’s opinion.
Photography Helps Develop the Story in Toem
The primary gameplay of Toem involves using your camera to solve various puzzles to help other characters. It takes place in a 2.5D cartoon world where the player ascends a mountain to witness a rare event known as “Toem.”
As they complete side quests from other characters, they’ll earn stamps to progress up the mountain. Interacting with the environment is sometimes the key to getting the exact photo you need to complete side quests.
The game features hand-drawn graphics and an overall aesthetic similar to the indie game Chicory.
New Pokémon Snap Is the Follow-up to a Beloved Photography Game
Pokémon Snap is one of the most beloved games on the Nintendo 64. It shook up the traditional Pokémon game format and replaced battling with photography. Pokémon were no longer vicious creatures of war but rather cute subjects of a professor. The gameplay involved on-rail movement and photographing Pokémon across different levels. The photos you took were then graded based on their compositions.
New Pokémon Snap is the follow-up and features similar gameplay. As the assistant to Pokémon Professor Mirror, you must photograph the various Pokémon of the Lental Region to help him uncover the mysteries of “luminescent” Pokémon. There are over 200 Pokémon to photograph in New Pokémon Snap, and each has its own personality.
Fulfill Requests as a Freelance Photographer in Umurangi Generation
A freelance photographer is essentially a profession that accepts side quests for a living. Umurangi Generation capitalizes on that concept as a freelancer simulator. The game takes place in fictional a New Zealand, where the island country is in the midst of a war with an alien race. The different objects and environmental locations you shoot will help add additional context to an otherwise bizarre narrative.
While accepting side quests will help advance the story, the player can free-roam and photograph the world as they please. As they progress in the game, they’ll unlock different camera and lens attachments that will expand how they approach their photography.
The Good Life Is a Photography Game About a Murder Mystery
New York journalist Naomi Howard has been sent to a small village in England to investigate a myth that its villagers can transform into cats and dogs. Things eventually turn into a murder mystery. Photographing different landmarks and objects across the village will help advance Naomi’s investigation into the many secrets of the village.
In the game’s story’s background, the player can freely roam around the village to satisfy different villagers’ requests to make money and pay off Naomi’s debts. There are also light farm and life simulator elements, such as growing a garden or participating in social life with the villagers.
Beasts of Maravilla Takes Place in a Mystical Jungle
Beasts of Maravilla falls into the subgenre of wildlife photography games. As wildlife photographer Marina Montez, you’re tasked with photographing your island’s eccentric creatures to show humanity to keep believing in magic. You’ll do this with Marina’s grandfather’s camera and journal documenting the island’s elusive and mystical wildlife.
In this 3D platformer, you’ll traverse the island’s varied terrains to photograph colorful wildlife. Similar to Pokémon Snap, each animal has their own unique behavior that can result in hundreds of different shots. The game’s developers worked with experts at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles to learn about animal behaviors and applied that to Beast of Maravilla’s animal design. They intended to create a video game that involved non-violent interactions with animals.
Photographs Is a Heartfelt Game About Remembering the Past
Photographs is a rare photography game that’s not about taking pictures. Rather, you’ll complete mini-games on polaroid backgrounds to piece together a series of photos that tell the game’s story. You’ll move from one character’s story to another, and the happenings in each story are often associated with the mini-games you’ll be required to play in that part of the game.
It features pixel art graphics that pair well with a fairly relaxing and laid-back presentation. It can be completed in a few hours and is one of the few photography video games available on mobile platforms.
Pupperazi Is a Unique Photography Game About Social Media
Pupperazi is a game about receiving feedback on your photography portfolio. Players take on the role of a humanoid camera that takes pictures on an island inhabited by canines. The main idea of Pupperazi is to go out and take photos of dogs to post on the social media site dogNET. Those posts then receive feedback in the form of comments and followers. Progressing in the story is tied to the number of followers you have.
The island’s residents will have various photography requests for you to complete. The recommendations you meet can help dictate how you take your social media career. The dogs in Pupperazi come in all shapes and sizes. And yes, you can pet them.
What did you think of our list? Feel free to sound off in the comments, and let us know if we missed any of the best photography games.