Evolving your stomping ground in this way is irresistible, as over time you watch it grow from a simple collection of houses to something truly amazing and unique. Having this freedom to shape your village to reflect your personality like never before truly enriches the experience. It’s always been easy to fall in love with your village in Animal Crossing games, but now it really feels likeyour village, like a place you helped build from nothing, somewhere you really have a personal stake in. You’re not just a museum patron, you’re the one who funded its growth and filled its halls with fossils, fish, and bugs. You’re not just a club-goer, you’re the one who spear-headed the campaign to bring the music venue to your village in the first place. It’s a delightful improvement that makes the experience impossible to put down, as there’s always another project you can help fund and another thing you can do to set your village apart from the rest. The brilliant thing is that Nintendo found a way to expand upon the gameplay of past entries without compromising the simplicity and charm that made the series so beloved to begin with. This is the evolution of Animal Crossing, and it’s an absolute wonder to behold.
One of the most astounding things about New Leaf is how much there is to do. In just a few weeks I’ve put in well over a hundred hours, and there’s still so much I’d like to accomplish. In addition to the familiar activities, new additions like diving and swimming allow you to explore and interact with your town in a whole new way. It’s refreshing, and a whole lot of fun. Completing public works projects, customizing furniture, and visiting the variety of shops across the tracks will also take up their fair share of time, and Nintendo fans will be pleased to know that there’s now a whole range of Big N items you can acquire to decorate your house with (so if you’re interested in getting a Triforce or Metroid for your living room, be sure to buy those fortune cookies on sale in the Nook brothers’ shop). Throw in new holidays, new characters (like Reese and Cyrus from the resell shop), new clothing options (pants!), new furniture and so on, and you’re left with an experience that is fresh, yet familiar. Simple, yet refined.
For players who crave a more corporeal form of interaction, you can also engage in a series of delightful mini-games with players across the globe on Resort Island, headed up by the former Animal Crossing mayor, Tortimer. The island’s perpetual summer is rather relaxing, and provides a great opportunity to stock up on seasonal fruit, beetles, and sharks for the selling. It’s also convenient that you are fully able to enjoy the island and its diversions all by yourself if, for whatever reason, you don’t feel like going online. Finally, StreetPass has been utilized to allow you to view the houses of anyone you pass who has a copy of the game. It’s really cool getting to see everyone’s different decorating styles, as well as being able to purchase the items that catch your eye. In a way, it creates the illusion of a persistent game world for you and your StreetPass friends, which is a nice touch.
While the customization, variety, and multiplayer are certainly the highlights, pretty much everything in New Leaf has been refined to make this as delightful an experience as possible. The simple graphics have been touched up so that fuzzy animals are now actually fuzzy and larger animals tower over the smaller ones. Little things like being able to group fruit together in your inventory so you can carry more, donate multiple fossils at the same time, or tell which flowers you’ve watered thanks to a new sparkling effect go a long way towards making the small chores that pack your day-to-day life easier than ever. These might seem like small details barely worth noting, but anyone who has ever played Animal Crossing will likely agree that, much like in life, it's all in the details.
- +Ridiculously charming world
- +Ability to customize your town to perfection
- +Hundreds of hours of addicting gameplay
- +Excellent multiplayer options
- +A perfectly refined Animal Crossing experience