I’ve been a fan of Animal Crossing since the GameCube edition of the game was released in the West in 2002, and I’ve always wondered why there is such a big time gap between most Animal Crossing games. Surprisingly, there are only four main games in the series along with two spin-off games in its over 16 years of franchise history.
Recently, I’ve gotten back into playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS, as summer is usually a time for me to pick up my 3DS and play most of the games I haven’t touched for the rest of the year. The gameplay is simple — in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the mayor of a town (against your own free will) and start building the town up from scratch.
This includes buying so much stuff at the various stores across the train tracks to level them up and gain more inventory, placing ordinances that could make help increase the aesthetic quality of your town, change the time when stores open or increase the prices in the stores, and building various additions to your town like a fountain, a windmill, an old stone, etc. Also, you can communicate with the town’s residents (who are all animals) and do various tasks for them to increase town approval and unlock more additions for your town.
The way you make money in the game is by selling various fish, bugs, fossils, fruit and furniture and clothes you may not want to Re-Tail, a resale shop in town. This repetitive gameplay may sound boring, but along the way, you can discover different species of these things and placing them in the town Museum, which will also have its own expansion.
Also, throughout the year there are different events that the player can attend in. Aside from the typical holiday celebrations, you can compete in fishing and bug catching competitions to win a trophy. During the summer, you can participate in fireworks festivals that occur throughout the month of August.
Recently, during one of Nintendo Directs, Animal Crossing: New Leaf was announced to receive the Welcome Amiibo update, which is DLC that can be downloaded for free. The newest feature that came with the update is called the campground, where players can earn MEOW Coupons and use them to buy unique items found in an RV located there. The campground’s owner, Harvey, will also sell items to you if you have MEOW Coupons.
Although I appreciate this new feature coming to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, this game was released back in 2013 (released in 2012 in Japan), marking the fourth year of no news on another Animal Crossing game. In the meantime, Nintendo has released two spin-off games in 2015: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival.
I pre-purchased myself a copy of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, and although this new game brought an interesting twist to the Animal Crossing series (you are hired by a home design agency and have the ability to design homes for your customers), I’m still not completely satisfied. The gameplay is quite repetitive, even when it comes to the more expansive projects like a school or doctor’s office.
I’m assuming the biggest reason why Nintendo prefers to have a large gap in between Animal Crossing games is because they want them to last a long time. When the Nintendo Direct was announced for Animal Crossing, I didn’t expect another Animal Crossing game. Surely, I was right, since they only announced upcoming DLC for the already existing Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
The Animal Crossing games are definitely ones you will come back to over and over again after large periods of time (to the point where your town is overrun by weeds and residents have moved out), and I’m not asking Nintendo to make a new game every year or even every two years, but I feel as if the gameplay can get bland over time. I appreciate the Welcome Amiibo update, but I’m still not fully pulled back into Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
I’m hoping that the game receives another big update in the future, or that Nintendo creates an Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Switch. I would say that the Animal Crossing series is one of my favorite, but after a while, there isn’t much to do in the games.
Featured image via Flickr/BagoGames.