Animal Crossing returns to handhelds with the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Bringing with it some changes to the overall set up and new additions on how you can spend your day. Probably the biggest change is being the mayor of your own town. Allowing you to fill up your town with structures of your choosing, and making it into something that feels yours.
The Good: I felt that the Animal Crossing series felt best on handhelds, even though the series got its debut on the Gamecube. The concept of those games just feels best on a platform that you can have on you at any time and quickly boot up. Especially since Animal Crossing runs the same time as real-life (or the time on your system). So if there’s an event that happens on a specific time, it’s more convenient to pull out a handheld rather than a console. So Animal Crossing being back on handhelds makes the experience much better.
The next couple of great thing are the new items that were brought into the formula. It’s all about the options with AC: New Leaf. Being in this new town and having lots of things that you can do to spend your day. Being mayor, you are able to select what structures can become built in your town. You’ll have smaller options like a bench or lamp, while larger objects consists of bridges and buildings. Also other places to check out like new shops and even an island where it’s always summer. It just feels like a bigger game with lots of things for you to interact with.
There’s also the usual Animal Crossing items like the many different citizens you encounter, multiplayer, and having to pay off your debt to Tom Nook. The mechanic of just having a town that feels alive. With day and night occurring at the same time as real-life. You’ll see different weather on certain days and experience different seasons over the year. Lots of different bugs, fish, and fossils to discover too across all those seasons. It’s a game that you can basically play forever, and that’s always been one of the major appeals of Animal Crossing.
The Bad: Even though there are lots of things to do, the game can be pretty restricting. Due to it’s close tie-in with real life time, there are moments of the game that you can’t get to until a specific time. For example, stores have opening and closing times, so those parts of the game are restricted if you’re outside of that range. There are also other restrictions like having to wait until the next day for your house expansion or any other structure to be built. It is typical Animal Crossing, but it can be a bit nerving at times to have to wait a long while until you can progress with the game due to these mechanics.
Over time, the game can begin to get pretty stale. As you complete many of the games objectvies, like finding all the bugs and fish or fully paying off your debt, the amoutn of things you can do will start decrease. All those things do take time though, since bugs and fish differ from the seasons. You may also find yourself just losing interest overall. This can happen. Luckily though, AC: New Leaf is a game that you can set aside for a long while and easily get back into. Your town will still be running too, so don’t expect to come back to it after a long while and expect to see the same thing.
Overall Thoughts: Animal Crossing: New Leaf is just a relaxing game overall and the numerous things you can now do in your Animal Crossing town help lengthen the game experience and prevent it from getting stale too quickly. It fits really well with the portability of the Nintendo 3DS, since your town is constantly running, so it’s convenient to just have it available on you whenever. It’s also even much more convenient to have downloaded digitally, which I highly recommend. It’s a game that can potentially keep you occupied for a long period of time, and one you can easily get back into should you need a break. This is the best version of Animal Crossing yet, and it’s definitely worth checking out for any 3DS owner.