Title: Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Release Date: November 8th, 2012
Animal Crossing has been loved by fans since it first came out back in 2001, and throughout the years with each new installment, more and more has been added with each game. But with Nintendo’s most recent addition to this loveable series, more has been added than ever before!
New Leaf has been played by all sorts of player: those who have played the previous games, like myself, and those that have never played an Animal Crossing game before in their life.
But regardless of what kind of player you are, it’s easy to see why so many people are drawn in by the precious, relaxing aura that Animal Crossing gives off.
One question I hate being asked is, “What makes Animal Crossing so much fun?”
I find this a hard question to answer because I think it’s a game you have to play to really experience, you can’t just watch someone play it or have someone tell you why it’s great to get the same kind of enjoyment you get out of really playing it.
I bet you’re asking, “So, LaytonsGal, if that’s how you feel, then why write a review on it?”
Well because sometimes people have to know more about the game before they’ll even consider playing it. And I know plenty of people who think Animal Crossing is boring, but have never really tried playing it! Now it is true that Animal Crossing isn’t the type of game that’s for everyone, but how about we find out if it’s right for you, eh?
Without further ado, let’s begin.
What Animal Crossing is all about:
Now, while it is possible to play New Leaf without ever knowing anything about the previous titles. I’m going to give a brief explanation of what the main idea of the old titles was about.
What pretty much every old Animal Crossing title involved was the following:
You’re a human living in a village with nothing but cute, fuzzy animals. There are of course other humans, just not anywhere near you. But hey who needs em’ when you can have a Rabbit or a Frog as a best friend. You own a home that you can furnish to your liking. Furniture can be found, bought from the local shop or even earned by doing things for your neighbors.
The time flows like real life. This is nothing today, but back then, there were not very many games that utilized internal clocks. Certain things happen at certain times of the day, there are holidays, events, birthdays, and certain villagers that only appear at certain times of the day.
You earn money by selling things you no longer need, fishing, bug catching, and selling fossils. Money is of course used for buying clothes, and furniture, but most importantly, for upgrading your house! The amount of rooms you get changes between games. You can become friends with your neighbors. You can talk about countless things, and your villagers have a lot to say! And if you don’t talk to them often, they take notice and wonder where you’ve been, It’s easy to to get them to forgive you though.
And that’s pretty much the basics of any Animal Crossing game. So I bet you’re ready to learn about what you really came here for right?
Well, let’s move on to what’s all in New Leaf!
First off, one thing that caught people’s eyes about New Leaf was that instead of just being a villager of your town, you are the mayor! That’s right, you make all the decisions.
What does that mean exactly?
It means you get to choose where your and the town’s money gets invested in. There’s plenty of projects to work on, and you along with the help of loyal secretary Isabelle, get to build the perfect town. You can place bridges, water wells, signs, flower arches, benches and many, many other things. The townsfolk can also request certain things depending on how much you talk to them, and how high your relationship with that person is. You also can enable ordinances. Which are sort of like laws. The one I chose for my town was “Keep your town beautiful!” which means that the villagers will put forth an extra effort in keeping the town’s flowers looking beautiful.
Now, as mayor, you sadly don’t have a huge pool of money you can just go digging into whenever you need it. You can get help from your friends however. If they want, a real-life friend of yours can visit the town, and donate money to help. But unless you have a super generous friend, you’ll be doing most of the money-making around here! Money-making is the same as it is in any of Animal Crossing game. Except with one very big addition.
There is now an island that you can take a boat to, the fare is a thousand bells, which is nothing considering how much money you can make just by spending an hour or so there. You will be able to access the island after playing for 1 week.
The Tropical island has been in past Animal Crossing titles, but never has it had this much use. You can fish and catch bugs here like at home, but the difference is night and day. If you completely fill up the basket that you use to take goods home from the island (40 items) you can potentially get between 80,000 and 100,000 bells (which is a good amount, a piece of furniture is usually under 10,000 and above 1,000, some stuff is less). It just depends on what you catch, but a lot of the fish and bugs here are considered rare, and fetch a pretty penny if taken back home to sell.
Now onto some of the customization… Back in the old days all you could change was your shirt and hat. And the hat was always the same pattern as your shirt, so it would get slightly boring. But there in New Leaf, there are SO many options, you’ll probably be hoarding so much clothes you won’t be able to choose what you wear every day!
Here are all the things on your character you can customize:
- Your hair. You can change the style and color at the local salon in town. It takes a little bit of playing for it to open up.
- Your eye color. This also becomes available after the salon opens.
- Your shirt. There plenty of shirts. With long sleeves, no sleeves and even dresses!
- Your pants. This is totally new. New Leaf is the first Animal Crossing game to discover the wonderful technology of pants and skirts!
- Your shoes. In Animal Crossing for Wii you could pay a little sum of money for a skunk named Kicks to shine your shoes. What this would do is your shoes would change depending on your outfit. In New Leaf however, this same skunk has returned to open a shoe store in your town!
This is also something you have to unlock.
- You can make clothes. This is also a reoccurring thing. You can go to the Able Sisters store and pay 500 bells to make anything you want, a shirt, skirt, pants, or even your own dress. Through this I was able to make myself an outfit to look like Ness from Earthbound.
There’s pretty much endless possibilities, since the way you make the clothes is basically a paint program.
Communication/ Online Play:
Animal Crossing: New Leaf pretty much rewards you for playing it often. The more you play, the more buildings you can unlock and the more your town will grow. It’s a neat feeling to grow your community and share it with others.
And sharing has never been easier. One way is through the Dream Suite. Which is also a building you unlock later in the game. You can “dream” of other people’s towns, which lets you pretty much just see their town. You sadly can’t buy anything from the towns you dream of, but you can explore and interact with the villagers. It’s extremely easy to hare your town with the world as well. Just go to the Dream Suite and the owner, Luna will you get you set up. After you set it up, Luna will give you a code that people can enter into their own copy so they can see your town. There are plenty of places online that are dedicated to sharing dream addresses!
When you want to play with a specific person however, either near or far away from you, all you have to do is share your 3DS friend codes with each other. You’ll then be able to visit each other’s towns by going to the train station. You CAN buy stuff from your friend’s town and take it home, so this is useful for getting more items in one day!
You can also have a total 4 people in one village at a time, this makes for great fun if you have a group of people playing.
Now, how’s the quality of the internet connection. Well, I have a pretty crappy internet connection, and I’ve never experienced any problems. I’ve played online multiple times, and I’ve never experienced lag or anything. And I’ve never known any of my friends to have any problems with it. So I would have to say the online is good. However, I don’t see how you could mess up the online mode for a casual game. But they didn’t! And that’s all that matters.
The graphics are standard Nintendo fare. Colorful, innocent and eye popping. From the lush greens of summer to the quiet orange and brown tones of fall, New Leaf’s graphics are nothing short of poetry. Now we all know we don’t need good graphics to make a great game. But the graphics in New Leaf are in fact good. They’re just not what some would consider good… No, there’s of course no realism here but the colorful, sort of unrealistic brightness and cartoonish characters are what make the game stand out.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf has the charm that Nintendo is good at making, and the color pallets really bring that through. Also, everything has an interesting texture. Even the animals. They all have visible, fluffy textures that make you want to hug them and the ground and foliage has a sort of glossy-sheen to it that’s very eye-pleasing!
Animal Crossing has always had nice, peaceful music, which of course fits the tone perfectly! And what’s neat is there is a different piece of music, for each hour! So what you hear at 8 am, will be totally different than what plays at 8 pm. Midday music is more upbeat, while evening and nighttime is very peaceful, quiet and laid back.
However, there are different tracks that just what you hear in town, in shops and for events. There are records you can buy at the store that were made by K.K. Slider, the most hip musician in the village. These songs can be heard being played at the local nightclub, Club LoL, which I yet another thing that is unlockable. And also, the tracks you buy can be played in your house! So even while you’re in your house moving around furniture or entertaining a guest, you can still listen to some nice music. The songs range anywhere from rock, to blues to techno.
So here’s a quick summary of the ups of the game.
- Plenty of ways to customize yourself.
- New ways to customize your house.
- Tons of new villagers and furniture.
- Fun Online multiplayer.
- Plenty of things to unlock to keep the game going, and give you a reason to come back.
- Customization of your village.
Honestly, I’ve been sitting here for almost half an hour trying to think of honest complaints… and I really have none. This is by far one of Nintendo’s most complete casual games, but I figured I would mention some common complaints from unbelievers out there, so you can be aware before making your purchase of this game.
One thing that turns people off about this game is that much like real life, you have to wait for things to happen. And sometimes this gets annoying. But if you have some patience, and willingness to accept there will be a point in the day where you have to just stop playing and wait for the next day, you should be fine.
Another complaint is people think it gets boring or repetitive. Much like a beat-em up game, yes, it can get boring after a while. But it all depends on how you play. Are you getting stuck into the same routine? Then change it up a bit! Get creative, find something new to do in the game! Or take a little break from it, and come back later. This is a game I always find myself coming back to.
Overall Rating: 9/10
In conclusion, I hope this has helped you to make a decision whether Animal Crossing: New Leaf is something you’ll enjoy or not. And yes I know, this won’t be a game for everyone. But no matter what kind of games you like – whether you spend your days playing Mass Effect, or all you do is play on your iPad – you can’t deny that Animal Crossing has a huge following, and for some great reasons too.