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Review: Animal Crossing: New Leaf


Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Release Date: June 9, 2013

ESRB: E for Everyone



I don“t know what initially drew me to Animal Crossing on the GameCube years ago. But I can tell you one thing – it was a game that changed my life forever. For over ten years now, the series has accumulated countless fans that have enjoyed titles that span across various Nintendo platforms.


Animal Crossing: New Leaf ended up becoming my most anticipated Animal Crossing title yet – and with good reason. Since its announcement at an E3 conference years ago, we“ve been teased with New Leaf“s abundance of new features such as the ability to be mayor. I hyped myself up so much for so long.




Then, I got it. I finally had New Leaf in my hands. I started up my game and prepared myself for my life as mayor. Like most every other Animal Crossing, Rover greeted me on the train. After the obvious naming of your character and town, you“re also able to choose the layout of your town! Although Rover only allows you to select from four randomized maps, you can easily reset to get a new selection.


That“s just the start of being able to customize your town to your liking. Once you“re finished with Isabelle“s tutorials and preparations, you“ll finally be able to erect new buildings and other public works projects, and you can place them wherever you please! There are also many different styles of projects – fairytale, zen, modern, and so forth. It may take a long time of work and planning, but soon your town will be perfect.


But that“s not all! Buildings such as the Town Hall, Train Station, and your house may also have their appearance changed. Your house, however, allows for the most amount of customization. With Tom Nook now running his own home renovation store, you can change your house“s overall style, fencing, mailbox, and more.




You“re probably tired of working on your town now. How about focusing some of that attention on yourself? Dressing and accessorizing yourself is more extensive than ever in New Leaf. Girls can now wear pants, and boys can now wear dresses. There“s also a shoe shop now as well, so you can adorn your feet in an array of socks and footwear. Then there“s the QR machine in Able Sisters. This allows you to import patterns made by other people by simply scanning QR codes. It“s now so much easier to collect all those patterns you see on the internet of pretty outfits, whereas before you would have had to painstakingly copy them pixel by pixel.


One of my favorite new features that New Leaf introduces is the island. Reminiscent of the original Animal Crossing“s island, this one also has Kapp“n singing his classical shanties to you as he rows you off to it. What“s different this time, however, is that it has “tours,†or minigames, and a shop to spend medals at. There is an incredibly wide selection of these tours, which have you perform activities such as playing hide-and-seek, catching sharks, and popping balloons all within a time limit. If you do well, you“ll earn a lot of medals to spend at the island shop!


You don“t have to do these tours alone, though. They“re all able to be played with up to four others – local or online multiplayer. You can also take advantage of Club Tortimer, which allows you to visit random islands in your own country or across the world. Club Tortimer is a great way to make new friends and find items that aren“t available in your own island shop that day!




StreetPass and SpotPass also make their appearance in New Leaf. If you happen to StreetPass someone that has also been playing the game, then their house and character will appear in the Happy Home Showcase. Here, you can take a gander at the inside of their house and even order their furniture for yourself. If it“s difficult for you to get StreetPasses, then Nintendo has you covered with SpotPass. So far, Reggie Fils-Aime“s character and house have been available through SpotPass.


With the advent of the island (which makes it easy to catch expensive beetles and fish) and the stalk market, many people have been saying earning bells is much too easy. However, this is offset by all the public works projects and house upgrades. Most of these cost hundreds of thousands of bells apiece (with the total amount of house upgrades costing around 7.6 million)! Going on forums in search of specific furniture and the like will also take a dent out of your bank account. So, don“t worry about getting stuff done too quickly in New Leaf.


On the subject of that, however, the first few days or weeks might feel terribly slow. Progress is halted at times on purpose, such as having to wait a certain amount of time to be able to build Shampoodle or use the QR machine. The waiting may even force you to time-travel (don“t!), but calm down and relax. Animal Crossing isn“t a game meant to be played all day, after all (though you probably will at first).




The badge system is also something that will keep you busy and playing New Leaf for a while. It“s basically an achievement system available through the game itself (which is the case with a lot of 3DS games). Goals for earning badges include completing your fish encyclopedia and StreetPassing many people. Collect as many badges as you can so you can show them off to others!


One thing I do wish that was revamped from previous Animal Crossing games is the storage system. With so many new clothes, furniture, and so forth, you“d definitely need a lot of room. Unfortunately, you“ll soon find that your closet will fill quickly and that you“ll soon be selling off stuff to make room. Would it have hurt to allow the storage of thousands of items? This applies to patterns as well. A player is only allowed to hold eight at a time, which makes laying out paths in your town a pain. It kind of hurts the whole “comfortable†feel of New Leaf.


New Leaf has only a few things that put the tiniest damper on my playtime, though. There“s so many little touches in the game that put a smile on my face. Villagers actually interact with the environment, like shaking trees or sitting on benches. They even become shocked if you happen to fall into a pitfall! Then there are items such as the Pikmin hats, which make little Pikmin noises when you put them on. So cute.




Animal Crossing: New Leaf makes me so happy. It“s rare that a game can do that nowadays. I“ve been playing nonstop since it released, and I“m still playing with as much enthusiasm as when I started. 100+ hours and I don“t intend to stop any time soon! I honestly can“t think of a single person that would dislike the game if they tried it out. If you don“t have New Leaf already, then stop reading this right now and buy it already!




+ Innumerable amount of clothing, furniture, and other items

+ Multiplayer has been improved tenfold; play tons of minigames and earn medals together

+ You can customize your town to your liking with different buildings and other public works projects

+ Lots of small touches, entertaining characters, and different things happening all year long will keep you playing for a long time




- Slow beginning

- Item/pattern storage could use a lot of work



Overall Score: 9.5 (out of 10)



Words alone cannot describe how much of a masterpiece Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It“s so much fun and makes you feel so good.

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