The newest installment of the Animal Crossing series a ‘New Leaf‘, sees a return to the hand held with the game being released for the 3DS. Having been only recently made aware of the franchise, by the ‘coming soon’ trailers for the game, the rich history and back catalogue of the series was quickly researched. Having now played both the Animal Crossing ‘City Folk’ on the Wii and original Gamecube game, the developed and forever subtle nature of the series is one that has made quite an impression on me.
The game of every Animal Crossing but in particular ‘New Leaf,’ is in its very nature is subtle. Rather than logging numerous consecutive hours playing through a story, each Animal Crossing game is a simulation and town building game. The gameplay is one that sees players returning for a small amount of time every day, in order to build, buy and sell objects to develop both the town and the players house. Rather than being boring, the gaming mechanism keeps its appeal long after the purchase of the game.
In regards to ‘New Leaf’ a new angle has been taken to further immerse players into the action with the player being mistaken as the new mayor. This elevated position is one that sees players being able to have a say in exactly how the town operates. Public projects such as windmills, lamp posts, a cafe and even the opening of a night club are all available to a player. A further way that ‘New Leaf’ is modifiable by the player is that players can dicate how they play. That is, through ordinances paid for by the player, the town shopping area can stay open later, or can open earlier, depending on the time in which user tend to play the game.
The most endearing element of the game franchise and ‘New Leaf’ are the characters. The animal characters that populate each tiny town each offer up a new look, perspective, speech type and room design. The interactions that can be had between player and animal are the most surprising as this gamer found herself feeling very strongly for the characters. At the news that one of my animals was considering leaving the town, I was panicked and upset that they would consider leaving. After informing the animal that they were still very much wanted in the town, the decision to stay was one that relieved.
Other more ‘special’ characters such as Isabelle (your secretary of sorts), KK Slider (the musician) Brewster (the caffeine dispensing pigeon), and the Able sisters (who make and distribute clothes) just to name all add to the intrinsic pleasure that this games gives players. If you have never heard of nor played an Animal Crossing game before, then now is the time to try as ‘New Leaf’ is one that delivers on simulation, home and heart. The number of hours spent playing this game, even if it is only for a few minutes a day, are all minutes well spent.