As in its predecessor, Animal Crossing New Leaf is about a town you can live inside and perform many activities.
What is making Animal Crossing so special is that it makes heavily use of the real life clock that you have configured on your Nintendo 3DS system. Next to the clock, it makes use of the seasons and seasonal events such as Christmas and Easter but also Summer and Valentine and many many more.
In Animal Crossing New Leaf you start off traveling on a train away from your parents to a new place to live. On the train you meet a Cat who would like to know you better. He first asks you for your name, which you can enter. Then he asks you for where you are traveling to (town name) and then how that nice town would look like (map choice). Together all these choices generate and create your world and town. The train then ends up on the train station of your chosen town name and you are welcomed by the towns citizens as the new and long awaited mayor…? A mayor? I thought I was just going to travel here to live here… Apparently they want you as a mayor. As a mayor you can make important decisions about the town and its contents.
You start of by registering yourself as a new citizen at the town hall, but to be able to do so you will need a house first. So then you are sent to the house building agency which asks you where you would like to build a house. You choose this on the map as well as the colour of your rooftop and then you will receive a tent on that spot. Now you can finish your citizen ship registration at the town hall and you are all settled. You even get a mailbox to receive mail from other citizens.
Before your house can be built you will have to get 10.000 bells (currency in the game). You earn bells by collecting items in the game and selling these at a shop. You can pickup items laying on the ground by pressing (Y). Fruits from trees, bee hives, shells on the beach and sea weed are all items that can be picked up and sold at the shop. The most famous shop (mainly because it never closes) is the Re-Tail and you can sell your items there as well as put them on display in the flea market for other players to buy from you.
Note that you can shake a tree with (A) while standing in front of it, which can drop the fruits hanging in it, sometimes drop hidden coins or if you are unlucky a bee hive with a swarm of bees that will sting you. Getting stung by bees ends you up with one closed eye. (can this be healed?). Next to just picking up items from the ground, you can buy tools at the local shops in town such as a shovel for digging for fossils and items, a fishing pole for fishing exotic fish and a catching net for catching all sorts of insects. These animals you catch can also be sold again to the shops. Fossils should however be identified by the museum. If they museum doesn’t have the sort yet, they would like you to donate it to them. If they already have it however, they return it to you so you can sell it. Fossils usually bring in more money than other items on the ground.
At the Re-Tail shop there is always an item of the day that sells more than others. This is very useful to earn money quickly. Money is required, as a lot of building projects or upgrades in town requires you to spend a lot of money on them.
There are a lot of decorative items and functional items for your home. Whether your home is a tent or a house doesn’t matter, you will still have a certain amount of item spots where you can stack stuff. Functional items such as a music player, a storage unit or a lamp actually give added functionality to the game, while most other items are pure cosmetic (or plain funny).
These decorative items can be found around your map or can be bought from the various shops in town.
Also being nice to other citizens gives you the chance of receiving free decorative gifts by both the mail and of themselves when they visit you.
After giving the first 10.000 bells towards the payment of your house, the building company will build your house and your tent gets replaced by your first own house. Note that you do not quite own the house yet, you will have to repay a loan on your house of a good amount of bells. It is a good idea to pay this off as well as to progress in the game. After you have paid your loan in full you will have the opportunity to upgrade your house to a bigger or more beautiful one. Also after a certain amount of upgrades you will unlock other things in town, such as a boat that leads to an island where you can find other exotics (holiday paradise?).
To decorate your map you can plant tree saplings to grow new trees, plant fruits to grow fruit trees and flowers to make it all look pretty. Of course, with an axe you can also chop down trees again.
The game offers also a decent amount of secrets that you will have to find out about yourself.
As the new mayor of town you have a lot of responsibilities, such as keeping all citizens happy, starting building projects to make the map look better, adding facilities for the people, donating to building projects and making decisions on the design of the flag, of paths and the location of bridges in town.
A good reputation with your citizens will help you throughout the game and you will get a lot of gifts.
On Sunday morning a Camel NPC arrives and walks around on your map to sell Turnips. These turnips can then be sold against the right price at the Re-Tail shop. Do note that after a week the Turnips turn bad and are worthless. Turnip prices change everyday. The turnips can however also be planted.
The multiplayer in this game makes it possible to travel to other towns of your friends (via the internet via the combination of your friends list and friends-codes) and play together. Also there is the option to use Spotpass to visit other towns.
This 3DS game, played in either 3DS mode or plain 2D mode is looking beautiful. You can change the position of the camera by the Throttle and X-pad giving you a good overview of what is happening around you. The cartoonish style used fits well and everything seems to be having animations. An amazing amount of detail went into the items that you can put in your house.
Music and Sound
Taking a boat tour to the island gives you a song sung by the sailor. The text has several different versions. Later on you will have a music theater and a club that have interesting sounds. There is music in the game that is recorded on tape so that you can play them in your own house on a tape player. The sound effects in the game are familiar Nintendo sounds and therefore you always know the meaning of them. As detailed as the animations of decorative items in your house, so are also the sounds coming from them. A server bleeps and blinks, a wooden statue pocks around, a desk of drawers makes the right sound when you open and close them. The sound is in harmony with the surroundings.
With X you open and close your inventory. You can use the A button and the throttle to select items in your inventory or you simply use the touch pad of your 3DS for this. The Y button is to pickup items, the A button for activating or performing actions.
The Xpad right button switches and cycles through all your tools while the down button will put them all away.
On the touchpad you can also choose for a few extra options such as chat (mostly useful for when you play with others online or via other 3DS’s), an encyclopedia for learning more about caught insects, a pattern designer, your inventory and your public profile (with your dream address).
The Good and the bad
– Amazing depth of gameplay
– lots to do, every time and every day
– collecting, collecting and selling!!!
– a gamble on turnips gives an extra game
– much online possibility, much with friends
– beautiful game and addicting
– turnips die from cheating (time changing)
– if you only have time in the evening to play, you might not progress because shops are then closed.
– it’s possible to cheat, because the game clock can be altered.
This game has an amazing level of detail on the gameplay. Even though you don’t do much more than walking around, catching insects, collecting fruits and shells or chattering with the other citizens, it goes with such a detail that it is very enjoyable for young and old for a short time or for a longer time. The game makes heavily use of the clock and seasons which gives a lot of twists to your game play. By limiting the time it takes to build something, there is always something left for tomorrow. Even if you have collected every possible type of insect or upgraded your house to the fullest, there will always be something to do next, so the re-playability is amazingly big in this game. It has perhaps a sort of addicting thing in it, but by limiting certain things on time such as the opening and closing of shops makes that you cannot really overplay it. With day and night added, you also have certain insects or NPC’s to pop out or go away, giving you a different experience on every time of the day that you pick the game up again.