The ebb and flow of Animal Crossing

I wanted to write about Smash today, but I didn’t do the research I wanted to, so I apologize for the late post. Instead, I’m going to write a small little blurb about Animal Crossing.

Two days ago, I got Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and now I find that I don’t play Animal Crossing: New Leaf anymore. I love the AC series, but there’s one thing about it that always turns me off as I continue to play: there’s not enough to do.

I’ve upgraded my house to almost full completion, have almost 20 public works projects, all but one fossil, most of the fish and bugs, and my Nook store is one away from being the biggest expansion. In every previous AC game I’ve played, I’ve been able to “beat” the game by expanding everything to its maximum size and almost completing the museum (I could never get all those works of art…). And usually, games come out and I play them, but I was pretty rigorous in my routine to play Animal Crossing every single day until I had everything. Unfortunately, doing jobs for villagers, buying and selling stuff, digging for fossils, and farming bells on the island can only go so far. Even with multi player, the most you can do are tours and self-proclaimed fish and bug-catching contests. At some point, it gets boring (it would be helpful to point out that I am no artist, and so I have spent exactly 10 minutes making a flag design, and that’s it. I’m sure artists get way more out of the Able Sisters’ designing than I do).

Inevitably, though, my interest wanes. Everything becomes a little monotonous, and I eventually stop playing. Unlike in MMO‘s, where dev teams are constantly trying to update their game to keep players hooked alongside guilds forming and whatnot, Animal Crossing is a simulation game, so at some point it feels like you’re living life there, and not here. Or it would feel like that if there were more stuff to do. At some point, you only play for 5 minutes a day because there’s really nothing else you want to do in your town.

Now that that tiny complaint is out of the way, has anyone whom has experienced this notice that, after you’ve beaten the new games and have nothing to do, Animal Crossing suddenly becomes addictive again? It’s crazy how there’s almost a tide to my interest in Animal Crossing. Sometimes it’s very high and I enjoy it, and other times it feels like a chore and I eventually stop, only to come back months later with a fresh desire to play.

This is different than with MMO’s, which I tend to play heavily for a month and then stop completely. No, Animal Crossing somehow ropes me back in when I have nothing to do and becomes my new game of choice. There’s no real competitive value to it, no incentive for me to improve my skills (which there is little of) in the game, so why do I keep coming back?

Has anyone else ever felt this way about Animal Crossing?

Also, except a post about Smash or a review of something next Monday!

Just Sayin’.

REVIEW: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

There’s a lot I can write about Animal Crossing: New Leaf; so much, in fact, that I could write an essay about it. I won’t be writing an essay, but I would like to skim some of the things that make this game an improvement to the series.

The very first thing is its premise. Instead of simply being a villager, the first player is the mayor of the town. That means that instead of having a fully developed town, you actually have an underdeveloped town. The buildings are scarce, there’s no great tree, and the museum being empty actually makes sense. As the mayor, it’s your job to start projects and develop your town, including the new Main Street that houses all the shops in town.

Almost instantly you can see the improvements. You get to choose the map of your town (of 5 given to you) in the beginning, and from there, you get to select where projects are built. Want a bench by the beach? Go for it. A park? Sure! The amount of customization of your town is a really awesome feature. No one town will ever have the same town buildings and similar layout again. To add to the customization tab, you now have male and female specific clothing, accessories, and shoes. Yes, you can buy shoes. You can even buy socks! You don’t even need to wear socks and shoes if you don’t want to.

The art is very Animal Crossing, very cartoony and fun, but you can see a higher resolution and attention to detail, and the 3D looks fantastic (although I barely play in it). The music is good, but I’m still a fan of the original’s music more. However, 8AM’s music is pretty fantastic.

Everything else is pretty much standard Animal Crossing. So why is this game so great? All the little things that show a nice attention to detail:

Nook now owns his own real-estate agency instead of being a shop owner/real estate agent. He also has house customizations for your door, mail box, roof, etc… for sale. Lyle, the Happy Room Academy rep, also puts up shop there. The Nook kids now run the actual shop.

Labelle, working for Gracie in Animal Crossing: City Folk, is now part of the Able Sister’s shop, selling you accessories.

– YOU CAN SIT ON TREE STUMPS

– YOU CAN SWIM! And there’s over 30 new deep sea fish you can only obtain via diving. Unfortunately, to swim you have to have a diving suit on.

– The animals wave when you leave, and they very frequently ask to come over to your house or have you come over to theirs. It’s cool because they actually go to every room in your house.

– You can hang stuff on the wall. It may not seem like much, but it’s cool to finally put clocks on the wall.

– The island is back, and while you don’t have a cool island cabana anymore, you DO have the ability to play cool mini games with friends and make $$$$$$ thanks to the rare bugs that come out after 7PM.

– There are now 6 island-specific fruit instead of 1. It’s nice to see lemons and bananas.

– CLUB LOL!!! Yes, there’s now a night life in your town where you can actually dance to what DJ K.K. is dropping’ down. Unfortunately, it takes quite a while to get Club LOL, and until then you have no access to K.K. Slider. It’s my only real gripe with the game.

There’s so much more to it, but I haven’t unlocked everything, so I couldn’t tell you. So far, the game has been fantastic. If you’re a fan of the Animal Crossing series, do yourself a favor and go pick this up. You won’t regret it!

Gameplay: 10/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Final Score: 9/10

Just Sayin’