It’s been a month or so since Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released here in Australia, and I’ve played every day without fail. It got me to thinking, didn’t I write a blog post about Animal Crossing recently? As it turns out it was nearly a year ago (time flies when you get to my age!) and it was less than positive.
So after a quick read through, where I found myself feeling slightly embarrassed by my incisive criticism, I thought it would good to address the concerns I had a year ago, and talk about how wrong I was!
Firstly, the year-long wait for the game to come out in Australia was completely worth it. The weeks and months leading up to release date were full of hype and excitement for both myself and my fellow AC buddies. We weren’t disappointed (or at least, I wasn’t!)
Secondly, the game ended up being called New Leaf, which is a nice play on the famous Animal Crossing leaf logo, the central storyline of your character starting a new life in the Animal Crossing town, and, now I might be taking a bit of latitude here but bear with me – the franchise’s refreshing reboot after the relative apathy of Let’s Go to the City/City Folk. I really feel that New Leaf is a big success that has come from the developer’s learning some good lessons from the previous game’s failures. That in itself is such a rarity these days, I find it a very positive step for the franchise, and for other game franchises also.
The re-introduction of the island is a massive shout-out to fans of the GameCube version, however, the concept has been extended and improved considerably (in my opinion). The GameCube island was essentially an all-year Summer location (important for collecting bugs and fish that weren’t available during other seasons, and also because fruit didn’t grow in your town in Winter). The 3DS version takes this even further by including a resort-like locale where you can go on tours (mini-games) to collect medals, which can be traded for special island-only furniture and items. What a great addition 🙂
There are also a host of other new features that take the basic concept of the Animal Crossing franchise and just beef it up a lot. There is now a lot more to do, along with the old favourites of bug, fish and fossil collecting, that I expect will prove the longevity of Animal Crossing, and (hopefully) keep the “chore” aspect to a minimum.
New features include:
- Main Street, where your museum and shops are located – freeing up the bulk of your town for villager homes and an absolute miasma of orchards if that is your wont;
- Additional fruits – including one that isn’t available until you fully upgrade the Nook shop;
- A new garden store – instead of getting your supplies from Nook or his relatives, you have a happy sloth called Leif
- Expanded Able Sisters, with QR code capability
- Kicks Shoe Store – OMG shoes (and socks!)
- Museum shop – to host your collections of gyroids and whatever else you hoard
- Mayoral abilities (and secretarial support) – a range of ordinances (rules to run the town) and public works projects (to customise your town with buildings and features YOU want)
- Diving and swimming – a wetsuit will allow you to swim in the ocean (SWIM!) and dive down and collect various beasties for the museum (clearly a Japanese concept, given most of these things are considered SEAFOOD, which is certainly not the case here in Aussie Land. Well some of it like prawns and scallops, but not generally sea slugs)
- New bugs, fish and fossils – besides our favourites (sea bass!) there are a bunch of new bugs, fish and fossils to collect for Blathers to be alternately freaked out or enamoured by
- New furniture items, including the beautiful island-only Mermaid collection
- Customisable house – not just expansions anymore, you can now customise the walls, letterbox, fence, roof, door and even the overall style of your house (for a price, of course, and expect it to eat up your savings because Tom Nook is your real estate man)
- Ores – every day a fake rock appears in your village. Smash it to get an ore or gem worth many bells!
- Collectable badges – this is is sort of like your in-game achievements that you find in other games. Phineas will appear in your town from time to time and bestow badges upon you which are attached to your player profile card.
- Streetpass Homes – passing someone in the street who plays the game will give you a copy of their home complete with all their furniture to browse and order!
- Customisable furniture – change the fabric colour of your common bed to a less common colour; or trade in some gold nuggets to get some fancy rare furniture
- Flea market – you can sell your items to villagers for inflated prices, and pressure them to buy, at the local Re-tail store. Also the store attendants are much cuter than the Nooks.
I’m sure there are other changes and features but I’m too excited to think of them, and I have to go and harvest my bananas (OMG there are bananas!)