One of the biggest Nintendo titles is back in 3D. Animal Crossing New Leaf makes its appearance on the Nintendo 3DS with a bit of a change here and a bit of the same ole’ there, is this yet another typical Animal Crossing or is there more to it this time?
Animal Crossing has you play as…well…you. Your character takes a train and is introduced to simple questions (which is a clever way of designing your character without designing your character) by other train riders, he’ll ask your name, sex and so on. Once you make it to your new town you soon discover that you are the new mayor. What a twist right? Anyways it’s your job to get bells (Animal Crossing’s currency) and not only build your own home but complete ordinances to make your town the best. That’s right! You can to take care of your town and it actually means something this time around.
The game starts of incredibly slow since it runs in real time. When you first start you have a tent for a home and no items, so you sell whatever you can find to buy and item, once you have an item (shovel for digging, net for catching bugs, etc…) then you sell that to earn enough bells to make your house bigger. The house takes 24 hours to build so you do what you do best. Dig, net and fish for however long you desire. If you don’t feel attached to the game right at the beginning it’s completely understandable to throw it away. However, if you do continue you’ll not only encounter all your lovable neighbors but a brand new Island (or resort) that costs money to go to and discover some rare treats.
The island is filled with mini games, rare fish, plants and the works. You can play memory (which you dig holes and match the items) go deep sea diving (which is new to Animal Crossing) or take part in tournaments for medals to earn you more things that are only exclusive on the resort. It’s nice to have a new island to explore but the load time (which is covered by an animation and a song) is dreadfully long. Thankfully you can skip this animation by tapping B or tapping on the screen.
The great thing about New Leaf is that while you find yourself selling a turnip in real-time and possibly ignoring your friends and loved-ones, any money you put into the stores will expand them. So not only are you working on your house (by of course paying off your loan) but your stores, like Nookling Junction store, will also have a second level with time. As mayor it’s also up to you to make your town look great. Unlike previous Animal Crossing games, you can choose how you want your terrain to look, where you want your house to be and what kind of ordinances to complete. That’s right you can build bridges and insert other things in the town for your townspeople to be happy. They can help fund it but the majority of the cost will be coming from you.
On top of that you can open your gates for some online action (which I was unable to experience) and have friends come in to your town to…fish? Streetpass is also an option with houses showing up in your game so you can order items you may have yet come across with. Although special items are not allowed to be purchased for some reasons.
The game does utilize everything that the 3DS has to offer and uses them well. The 3D effects are used in a great way to showcase depth and distance. Since it’s the same rotating land as before it does add the illusion. Sounds and music are used well and the controls are surprisingly easy to use. Hell, even the coins that you earn by walking will reward you with special Nintendo items for free (well they cost coins but everyone has coins), and Streetpass is an option like mentioned earlier which was really not expected.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a game that starts of slow but eventually will take over your life. It’s quite dangerous as you find yourself playing every single day doing the same things over and over again, it’s not a game you’ll play for hours but instead in bite-size chunks which is perfect for the 3DS. If you loved the others and need a fix, honestly this is the best one.