Animal Crossing: New Leaf, developed by Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 and Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS, is a real-time life simulation game where players take control of a character, whose fate is to become the mayor of a new town, and essentially run it as they see fit. The game, like its predecessors, relies heavily on interactions with non-playable characters (NPCs) and allows players to participate in various interesting activities among which include selling items to earn money, or Bells, to purchase items to accessorize one’s home or appearances. It’s one of those series’ where you either love it or hate it. In theory there’s not much to do, but I soon find myself spending a few hours engrossed in the game while realizing that all I really want to do is complete a set of home furnishings, all of which can be bought at the T&T Mart, or just have my character pull weeds all day (yes, weed pulling can be a thrilling feature of the game’s mechanics). Even while I’m writing this, my character is sitting by the beach waiting to catch a shark.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf introduces many new features to the series. So what’s new in this one? You start off in New Leaf just like any other title in the series where you begin life in a new town, but unlike the previous games in the series, here you get to choose the layout of your town. Essentially, the name of the game is customization, and your home, along with the rest of the town once you become mayor are yours to customize to your heart’s content! With Nintendo network capability (which allows the involvement of your friends and other players in this wonderful adventure) and your helpful assistant Isabelle, you can make the town great enough to compete with your friends and become the envy of them all. Online capability allows players to exchange messages across the Nintendo network with one another and allows players to visit each other’s games to marvel at one another’s home and layout of the town. In addition, up to four players at a time can travel to a tropical island called Tortimer Island to participate in various minigames.
The tropical island is one of my favorite features. You can obtain fish, fruit and beetles not availabe in your town! Also, most of all, there are minigames that you can compete with your friends (or alone) to earn medals to buy things only found on the island (like the wetsuit to swim in the ocean.) If you don’t have anyone to play with, there’s always Club Tortemer, a random online match-up to visit other islands from around the globe. Players can utilize the Nintendo 3DS Camera to take snapshots at any time during the game, which can then be shared with others via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
So what happens when you become the town’s mayor? As a leader of your own town, you can build Public Works Projects and enact Ordinances to meet your town’s needs. Public Works Projects lets you collect funds or taxes from the townsfolk and other visiting players to construct bridges, fountains, street lights, etc as well as set up shops like cafes or a police station. Ordinances lets you pass laws and curfews such as the “Early Bird” and “Night Owl” laws. But even though you’re mayor, Isabelle takes care of most of the responsibilities so that you can enjoy leisure activities such as catching bugs, fishing, and spending time talking with your neighbours. Most importantly you should rack up enough bells which can be easily earned from selling items to Re-Tail to help pay off your mortgage and/or renovate your home!
There is so much to do in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I find myself finding new stuff everyday! The game is played in real-time with Nintendo 3DS’ internal clock. If you enjoy life simulation games, you owe it to yourself to check this game out.
Images: Snapshots taken with my Nintendo 3DS Camera