I bought myself a copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS after seeing post after post on Facebook about how my friends were enjoying the game and how they were looking for different items. What sold me was that people were actually helping each other. They weren’t selling rare items for a crazy profit. They were just freely sharing items because someone wanted it and they wanted something else. This created community, the immense customization, and never boring game-play are just a couple of the reasons everyone should grab a copy of New Leaf. I mean, being the mayor of your own anthromorphic town sounds awesome.
What New Leaf gives us is almost endless player customization. Players can not only buy and create their own clothes, but they can also use QR codes posted online by other players to port others’ creations to their game. The best part, in my opinion, is that the clothes are not limited to the player’s gender. This means boys can wear skirts, girls can wear pants, and not a single in-game character says anything negative about it. The reason I say the customization is “almost endless” is because players cannot create custom pants. It’s upsetting and feels like a big detail was overlooked, but the game is updatable via wifi so I’m hoping we will see it in a later update. As for the player’s home, it is expandable and editable. There are countless unique items in the game, giving players the ability to live in the style they choose. Players can even get items through wifi events run by Nintendo (this month’s is a Palm-Tree Lamp). If you’re anything like me though, you’ll end up a goth-rocker in a gas mask living in a modern mansion.
The gameplay is varied and always interesting. Fishing, digging, bug hunting, tree shaking, and swimming lets the player search for items to collect for the museum or to sell for some extra Bells, the in-game currency. After my many hours of game play, I realized how grindy the game really is. Players are searching at all times for items, but with the design of the world, players bounce between activities and the game never feels grindy. I have yet to feel bored or disinterested in any of the activities. There are even mini-games once you unlock a certain area in the game if players want to change things up.
Due to the game running in real-time, based off the system’s internal clock, players are paced in the game. Shops are open during specific hours and certain creatures are active at certain times during the day. Nintendo created an environment where people can play at all hours, but still have to wait for certain things to happen. This has kept me coming back for more with no complaints when I got there.
The game is great. The graphic style is adorable, the gameplay is interesting, and the customization makes my character feel like me. It has quickly become an addiction without consuming my entirety. Nintendo created the perfect balance of involving casual gaming. I honestly see it as something to hold my attention for the long-term, or until Pokemon X and Pokemon Y launch this October.
Robert LaSure is a writer at Girl Gamer Vogue and PC/3DS Enthusiast.