Animal Crossing: New Leaf

It’s not easy to move to a new town. It’s even harder to move to a new town and be made mayor the moment you step off the train, thanks to a hilarious mix up. I should know, it happened to me when I was moving to the lovely town of Bumston. Now not only do I have to try and settle into my new town and make new friends I’m expected to help run things, it’s a huge burden really. Oh I forgot the worst part, I owe a fortune to a mean little raccoon who goes by the name of Tom Nook. He’s bleeding me dry, just when I think I’ve got things under control he offers to make my house bigger or better and BAM I right back where I started. He’s like the Walter White of property, and I’m totally hooked.

I’m of course talking about the new version of Animal Crossing, New Leaf on the 3DS. It’s been a while since I last got the Animal Crossing bug; I was totally hooked on the Gamecube version but Wild World, on the DS, didn’t really grab me and I didn’t even buy the Wii version. This time, with New Leaf, I’m properly hooked in again.

What do you actually do in Animal Crossing? The simple answer is nothing really. There’s no set path through the game, there’s no big plot and no end game. As I said earlier, you’ve just moved to a new town and your the mayor and that’s about it really. What you do after that is entirely up to you. You want to spend the whole day fishing on the beach? Go for it. You want to hang around playing hide and seek with the other villagers? Knock yourself out. The world, or at least your town, is your oyster. There’s a lot of collecting in Animal Crossing, fish, bugs, fossils, furniture, fruit and even friends. If you’re more artistic than I am you can design your own clothes, wallpaper, carpets, town flag and even compose a town theme tune. There’s just so much to do that it can be overwhelming at times.

Don’t be fooled by how simple it all sounds. Animal Crossing is hideously addictive. If you leave your town for too long, if you don’t turn on the 3DS every day or so then things start to go ‘bad’. Ok so it’s not The Last of Us levels of bad but you’re town will start to get overrun with weeds, the other animals that live in your town will wonder where you’ve gone and eventually move out and your house can become overrun with insects. It might not sound like a lot but try playing the game and leaving it for a few days, it’s heartbreaking. Not that I can see this becoming an issue in the near future, I’ve been playing everyday since release.

It’s the perfect game just to pick up for 20 minutes and wander around, but beware 20 minutes can easily become 2 hours as you try to catch one more fish (that isn’t a sea bass). Animal Crossing is a very relaxing experience, and I think that’s the reward of playing. I like switching on my 3DS and just wandering around Bumston (I called my town Bumston, because I’m a child), it’s a really nice way to unwind. It’s actually ridiculous how much satisfaction you can derive from catching a rare fish or bug, I was so excited the other morning when I caught a coelacanth and a shark in quick succession.

The online aspect of the game is great too, you can open your town gates (or go and visit another friends town) and just wander around together. It’s so simple but it’s so good. Your villagers will talk about people who have been to visit your town or they’ll wear the clothes that a guest might have given them.

I love Animal Crossing. It’s simple and straightforward but at the same time there’s so much to do. It’s a game that only really limited by your own imagination and creativity really. I think the best word for Animal Crossing is charming.

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