June 22, 2013
In a series that has been taking baby step in each new title, it is great to see Nintendo didn't want to rest on their laurels this time around. Even still, all of these features sometimes don't feel like there is enough new to keep you busy. Being a mayor doesn't do much else besides having everyone in your town love you from the get go and now have to pay 300 percent more money than ever before.
Stepping into your new town, becoming mayor, and getting caught up in all the hype at first is fun. Then after a few days you realize that you are still repaying your loan to Tom Nook and picking up it catching anything you can to sell for more money. You can now build new things around your town, but only items your citizens suggest. Then there are Ordinances. These let you change your town into one you would like more. You can make it more focused on being a night owl, early bird, nature lover, or just looking to make more money.
Being a mayor ends up feeling like you're a citizen who has way more responsibility than you would ever ask for. If there were actually more things to do as the mayor this wouldn't be as disappointing, but it all seems rather limited. Still, if you take away the lack of scope that comes with being the major, there are still hundreds of things to do around your town.
The basic formula for every other Animal Crossing game is still very present, but after playing the same game so many times, hardcore fans who didn't feel burnt out after City Folks on the Wii will need to REALLY love Animal Crossing to invest the hundreds of hours this kind of game will suck out of you.
If you have never played Animal Crossing before this would actually be a great starting point and without a doubt New Leaf is the best version of the Animal Crossing yet. Having it on a portable system is also a huge plus. Be sure to have plenty of free time ready to invest into New Leaf because how you spend your time can be one of the hardest decisions to make in the game.
When it comes to making money you can grow fruits, catch fish, grow flowers, and just shake a tree hoping something comes out. There is much more to do then just get money and talking to all the different animal neighbours will help them adore you even more and keep them happy. Different animals will sometimes have requests for you such as just hanging out, getting a special item for them, or just have you be their free post man. These result in you getting all sorts of special items from them as a reward.
All of the other items you can't find must be bought in the stores from Main Street. Main Street has other places for you to check out, such as a museum, and a brand new club that features series popular dog K.K. Slider. Slider has now moved on from the guitar to the turntables and is now called DJ K.K. There is also a brand new shop for selling items at and buying recycled items put by the different towns folks.
The rest of the new features in the gameplay are small things, such as being able to swim. You can also return to the tropical island and there are all kinds of new clothing options on display. Discovering all the new items is part of the fun and decorating your home with all sorts of crazy items makes your town different than anyone else's.
Multiplayer locally and online is still largely the same, but new features using StreetPass let you explore players' homes whenever you pass someone who has played New Leaf. There are also now mini-games to compete in with up to four players and these add a nice level of competitive fun that isn't in the game normally.
You can also now go into your friends or anyone's town as long as you have a dream town code that lets you do whatever you want to their town in your dreams. No more having to clean up a friend's mess just because they wanted to see your awesome town.
Sticking with the word similar, the visual and audio presentation has mainly stayed the same. The graphics look clearer and more detailed than ever before, while still staying with that simplistic look the series is known for. You will never be wowed with how things look in New Leaf, but you will always find something cute to look at on the screen.
The all new soundtrack will also be stuck in your head even when the game is far from you. There are no more rehashed soundtracks from previous games and as an added bonus you can create your town theme song as mayor this time. Make sure it is catchy though, because you will be hearing it all over the place.
While you might not always be looking for a game to sink every waking hour of your time into, Animal Crossing is one of the most time consuming products for a portable console out there. No matter how you like to play Animal Crossing, there are always going to be some new event or holiday that will surprise you each time you turn the console one. A word of advice though, if you can download the game onto your 3DS, it will make popping into your town much easier instead of looking for the game card.
Even after all of these years, the Animal Crossing formula still holds up with Animal Crossing: New Leaf. However, the same acts of running your town may run out of steam for even the most hardcore fans. The mayor aspect could have been much more heavily implemented and instead just ends up feel forgettable after a couple of days. As long as you feel like spending the rest of your summer and maybe rest of your 2013 glued to your 3DS playing a similar, but fun game, Animal Crossing New Leaf is still worth a look.