Animal Crossing is a series that always tends to get critical acclaim or somewhat of a cult following, I never understood why. So I jumped in feet first to see what the craze is about. This is my review of Animal Crossing: A New Leaf.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is not really a game that is dependent on it’s story. You’re moving to a new town as an ordinary citizen. When you step off the train you are mistaken by everyone for the new Mayor. Despite what you say, you are made Mayor of this new town and it’s your responsibility to make it a fantastic place to live, or mould it in any twisted way you desire. Aside from a letter you receive from the real mayor more or less saying, and I’m paraphrasing here. “It’s all good homie, you be mayor. I’m outta here” That’s all the story and exposition you get. You’re right into the gameplay!
The best way to explain Animal Crossings presentation is, Joyous. It’s bright and colourful, joyful music and a lot of detail. Nothing is there for no reason. There is always some interactivity with it and it’s just fun to see how different things react and trust me. There are tons of different items to play with. Animal Crossing knows it has a certain style and it flaunts it. The only complaint I have with it is that when the 3D is on, the place just feels devoid of anything. 3D just feels like a second thought, and that’s fine. If anything it’s just me nitpicking. I can’t find any active flaws with New Leaf’s presentation.
Animal Crossing is a very unique, but very accessible game. The jist of it can be explained like this, your goal is to acquire bells (The in-game currency) to improve the town and by doing that you can improve your relationships with the townsfolk and build your ideal town, while it runs in real time. Sounds pretty simple right? For the most part it is, but thanks to the real time mechanic, the passage of time effects your town event when you don’t play. Weeds will grow, trees will die out, townsfolk will move in and out of town and they will react to the time, if you’re wondering around at 2am the townsfolk will either be asleep or wonder why you aren’t asleep yourself. The real time mechanic really helps add a certain charm to the game. Animal Crossing also offers a lot of things to do, new shops can open, villages will ask for favours, competitions happen every now and then, and so, so much more. The only way to really experience how much there is to do in this game, is to actually play it.
Next thing you know you will be devoting hours of your day wondering your town, planting trees for more fruit, doing favours for towns folk. Just to get those few extra bells to finish that cobblestone bridge that needs funding, or to finish paying off that home loan so you can expand your house even more. Unfortunately some mechanics are explained all that well and don’t offer anyway for you to find the answer other then looking online, I spent days trying to find an Axe to chop down some pesky trees and only after the garden shop opened was i able to purchase one, and i only found that out after googling the answer. Also, for those who can only play at night, I recommend you adjust the 3DS clock accordingly if you want to play the game. The Real time mechanic can be a downside with stores shutting after a certain time, it just doesn’t suit everyone, but there are certain ways around it.
With the online additions you will be visiting others towns gathering fruit you can’t normally get, and exploring what other have done with their town shows how much variety and customization in the game there really is. However it’s not perfect, the messaging system is clunky and the in-game friends system is no better. It just feels a bit tacked on and thats a bit of a let down, especially after seeing how much consideration they put into it. It’s not a big deal, just a mild inconvenience but if you plan on playing a lot it’s a very common inconvenience.
As a newcomer to Animal Crossing, I’ve had a great experience so far. It’s a very charming, accessible and addicting game that got me spending a few hours on it everyday. Gathering funds to finish that next project, or to deliver a present to Hugh the Pig my favourite person in my town. However it isn’t flawless, some tasks that should be easy to do feel a bit clunky, but it’s nothing that ruins the experience. If you want a charming casual game that will easily give you something to do for the foreseeable future. You can’t go wrong here.