BADGP Reviews: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo, Nintendo)

The Newb and The Vet Review

Alex Linna & Isaiah Standridge

August 8, 2013

This review is co-written by an experienced Animal Crosser and a beginner as they strive to describe what it is about the simulation series that is so enrapturing.

What is Animal Crossing: New Leaf? (Isaiah)

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the latest installment in Nintendo’s long running Animal Crossing franchise. Animal Crossing is an easygoing town simulator. You are the only human in a town of animals who go about their lives.

Why is it so Appealing? (Isaiah)

There are numerous things that make Animal Crossing so appealing. One of the huge hooks is that the game moves forward in real time by matching the DS clock and calendar. As we are celebrating Christmas, they are having a celebration as well. If you don’t check in for a while, they are sad and want to know where you were. It truly feels like a different little world inside your pocket. Every town gets its own unique population of animals. Throughout your time you are able to customize things like: what they call you, their catchphrases, and nicknames. It is quite easy to become attached to all of the different inhabitants. Another hook is Tom Nook. You are perpetually in debt to him. He sells you your house and home expansions. You are always close to being able to pay off your current loan and getting that basement you’ve been wanting. It is also an incredibly smoothly and serene experience. The process of getting “bells”, Animal Crossing’s currency, is so relaxing. My favorite way was to wait until night and catch bugs.


What’s New to the Series? (Alex)

Does Animal Crossing turn over a new leaf with this newest installment? No.  New Leaf is incredibly similar to previous entries in Nintendo’s venerable debt-repaying simulator.  What is added is that the player is now the mayor of their very own burgh (only the first person in a town may be the mayor if multiple players plan to play on the same card).  This feels like a natural progression and allows the player to further customize their town to their likings.  This is accomplished through civil works and town ordinances.  Works include bridges, fountains, etc. with a few special interesting works available later.  The ordinances largely influence the economy of the little microcosm or to have shops open earlier or later in the day than they usually would.  There is also the inclusion of the game-breaking island to consider.  It offers a quick and easy route to mountains of bells.  This is much appreciated by series veterans who are tired of the typical Animal Crossing early game and would like to speed it up.  There are a number of new shops and places to visit as well.  The 3DS’s play coins make an appearance and provide the player with the opportunity to collect a Nintendo-themed set of items and clothing.

How Does it Stack Up? (Alex)

New Leaf is easily the best version of the Animal Crossing formula to date.  Portability is a plus, the additional control and influence of the role as mayor that adds to the responsibility the player feels, and a new island makes bell earning easier than ever (although I am not convinced this entirely a positive) all inject some much needed life in to the aging franchise.  New Leaf can still bring an addictive stranglehold I have not experienced since the GameCube original.

Closing Remarks (Isaiah)

Being new to the Animal Crossing series, I was not sure what to expect. I was most definitely not disappointed! The game has been extremely addictive and enjoyable. Unfortunately I did a little too much bug catching and got rather burned out. It is telling that the game truly makes you feel guilty for not checking in. Overall, Animal Crossing: New leaf is a game that I would recommend to just about anyone. It’s a joy to play and unique take on the simulation genre. It has been an extremely solid addition to the 3DS’s phenomenal year.

Score:

Isaiah: 8.4            Alex: 8.0               BAD: 8.2

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