If your first thought seeing this review was, ‘Wait, that’s not an indie game’, you’d be right. That said, this review was written by someone with a great deal of passion for this title. And with Nintendo being the underdog in the gaming ecosystem right now, I didn’t see a reason to argue with posting this. Please welcome a special guest contributor with her first article: my wife, Andrea. — Adam
I cannot think of any other game where I was so excited to find a persimmon and then plant it in my town. Nor can I think of a game that brings me to my knees in order to pay my house debt off in a timely manner in order to expand. All these emotions come from one game; Animal Crossing New Leaf.
As Nintendo makes every new installment another reason to pull us back into the franchise, New Leaf has given it a swift kick in the pants. You get fully immersed as you met a familiar face and go through a world wind of events. Upon arrival you are no longer merely a villager but the town’s Mayor. With this new role the tasks may seem overwhelming and Tom Nooks’ demands just as pushy as ever but really you can do this at your own pace.
This game has been created with the idea of bite sized pieces, allowing the player to go on an all day beng or maybe a quick play through to see what the shops have to offer. With each day that passes, new shops can appear or new people can arrive, really getting you into the spirit of the town.
Some people who have seen the series and didn’t think it was their cup of tea, may turn away from this as well. Truly it follows the previous titles with its find every fish, fossil, painting and bug. But with the people who love the series, New Leaf is one of the best in the series.
The 3DS’ hardware is given a workout, allowing the player to turn it on for really detailed moments; such as when you go to the fortune teller Katrina’s tent. The alchemist circle and starry skies are really brought to life by having the 3D element activated. The camera has been given a huge redesign as well, allowing you to zoom in ways you couldn’t before and turn it in a much more manageable way. Even looking around your displays at the museum couldn’t be any easier.
Now that we are on the subject of displays, being the Mayor of the town, you will get to upgrade your town in many different ways. With the right number of signatures or deposit of bells, as Mayor you can create new structures to make your town shine. A new ordinance system also allows the player to again play at their own pace. Are you an early bird? Or Richie rich? Or just a night owl? The creators have really made it so you can play the game on your schedule.
Since we are on the subject of schedule, the game’s portability is one of the big things that allow for this. For this reason its safe to say, at least for myself, this was one reason I didn’t play Animal Crossing City Folks. Animal Crossing Wild World portability made me play it when and where I wanted to. With New Leaf this idea has been molded into an even better idea and has been a great incentive to use StreetPass.
With the of the 3DS’ wireless capabilities you can now visit friends with ease, near and far! Even if you don’t have all the shops or even the Island, you can still visit friends with these places. Playing multiplayer games together, or just dig holes in their backyards. Its up to you and your friends imaginations.
Speaking of imagination, you can bring out your true artistic talents this time around. With the camera you can now take pictures of QR codes and create new and exciting patterns to put all over your town. From the smallest pillow on a chair, to the sidewalks of your town. Its yours to customize and represent. New creative outlets have never been easier!
With all these improvements and add-ons New Leaf can truly shine, but it can also become a routine. Go out of the house, check for all the weeds that have sprung up in the middle of the night, check on all the villages, go to all the shops to see if they have items you don’t have and then log off. After about of month of playing, I started to feel this was a second job I clocked into, but it still keeps me coming back. Just in case I missed that bookshelf on sale that would allow me to complete my dream house.
One of the main issues that I have been having and seeing is when I play with friends. I have seen either long wait times at the station for the train to take you to your friend’s town; or worse total game crashes, giving us a sad looking Mr. Resetti. When the network does finally allow you to meet your friends, you are left with the task of finding them. The world map at the bottom of the screen has been a nice touch, but you can’t see where any of your friends are. The chat tool can help with this, but it has less space to write in than a Twitter feed.
Another annoying thing to pull me out of the experience is how the fruit doesn’t stack in your inventory unless you do it yourself. This forces you to go to your inventory screen more often and takes time away from other things. On a side note to this, Blathers does take all your fossils to assess them but if he just needs one of them for the museum, you are forced to talk to him again.
Even with all these nitpicks, it is still a well rounded game. Each player will do things their own way and no two players will play the same. Want to expand your Main Street so you have all the shops? Sure! Want to collect every piece of fruit in the whole game? Right again! It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it. It’s yours!
This revamping of an already addictive game has been taken to new heights and is truly worthy of all its praises. Nintendo saw all the things we loved about the originals and created this masterpiece of total time wasting.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Golden Stag Beetles to catch.