Animal Crossing: New Leaf Review

AC New LeafAnimal Crossing: New Leaf (Available exclusively on Nintendo 3DS)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Genre: Simulation
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: June 9th, 2013
Download Size: 8,192 Blocks

First released on the Nintendo 64 under the Animal Forest name, Animal Crossing started out on the GameCube in North America, and has seen one release on every Nintendo platform since. Does New Leaf has enough variety to warrant another purchase? Read on to find out.

The Great:

I always thought that Animal Crossing’s real time clock was the best feature of the series. Because of it, the game feels like your second life. Villagers will have different activities depending on the time of day. When it’s night, most will sleep while a few nocturnal personalities will carry on. Stores will open at various hours and close at different. Some even have night clerks. Even though there are way less activities to do at night, I always enjoyed playing AC after midnight just to see how everything goes. It’s also reassuring to know that even on nights when you can’t sleep, you can always turn on your 3DS and find some entertainment. Animal Crossing also has a variety of weekly activities and national holidays that make this second life feel even closer to home. Seasons also change, meaning there’s always something new to do in this virtual world. Its highly addictive gameplay means you could be playing this for months, if not years to come.

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The Good:

+ For the first time in the franchise, Tortimer is no longer active mayor, you are. This opens up many more possibilities. From building bridges and signs to organizing events, there’s always daily tasks awaiting you at the town hall.

+ Fishing is as addicting as ever! I can spend hours doing nothing but fishing. The game boosts more then 70 fish, some that can only be captured during certain months of the year, and at a certain times of the day. The satisfaction of catching a rare fish after trying for hours or even days is extraordinarily satisfying. The same can be said about bugs. These hobbies are also the quickest way to earn much needed money, which you can then use to improve your town or pay off your mortgage.

+ There has never been a greater variety of stores. The new retail shop is simply awesome. Think of it as a pawn shop, or a second hand store. The lady will always pay premium for your fish and whatnot, but she also lets you sell furniture there at whatever price you desire. Ask for too much money and your item will collect dust, but for the right price it will sell quickly. It’s also a great way to find rare pieces as the villagers will also try to sell their unwanted items here. There are also returning stores, plus many more that open up the longer you play.

+ Designing clothes is back and it’s still as fun as ever to wear your custom jerseys! I always rock a Habs jersey while Jarrod opts for something he really digs.

+ The multiplayer rocks! By giving you the opportunity to chat at anytime with designated friends, it makes setting up visits completely painless. You no longer need to text a friend or phone a relative in order to visit their village. If you see them online you can message them and join up. Visiting other people’s towns has always been a highlight, and it’s now easier than ever to do so. You can even play with random people at the tropical island, proving that Nintendo is going in the right direction with the franchise.

+ Speaking of the tropical island, it’s an absolute blast! Jarrod and I spent hours completing the various mini-games. Most are childish, but still prove addicting for some inexplicable reason. The harder bug catching ones feel like true co-op missions as you’re tasked with finding specific insects in a limited amount of time. The island itself has some exclusive fruits and lets you catch many rare fish all year long. It’s a fantastic way to kill some time, and earn some Bells.

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+ Perfect portable game. Designed in essence for short sessions, this is a game you want to come back for every single day. It’s addicting as hell and once your done, simply select ‘Save and Quit,’ and resume with your life. You’ll want to bring this with you everywhere you go.

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The Bad:

– The museum doesn’t accept donations while a friend is visiting and you can’t execute your mayor duties as well. Kind of a strange decision on Nintendo’s part.

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The Lowdown:

Animal Crossing: New Leaf proves to be a superb addition to the series and a title every 3DS owner should try. It’s also the perfect family title, as your significant other can move in with you and also live in your town. It might look like a simple title, but don’t let that discourage you, there is so much to love here that you won’t be able to put the game down. This will be the first thing you do when you get up, and you’ll have trouble putting it down before heading to bed. I absolutely can’t say it enough, New Leaf is one of the best 3DS games out there. Buy it!

Final Score: 9.7/10

Original Review Date: June 6th, 2013

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