Genre: life simulation
Platform: exclusive to Nintendo 3DS system
Release date: June 9, 2013 (North America), June 14, 2013 (Europe)
I have always dreamed about being a mayor of a big city. Just think how cool it is to be the person in charge who makes all the decision for the benefit of the citizens. You can build them new places to visit, help their economic system grow and even throw a party for all to enjoy. If this is your dream too, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the perfect fit for you.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s story starts with your character riding the train. Unaware of your destination, a weird cat named Rover starts to ask you a couple of question. In this dialog you will set your character’s name, the town’s name and the map layout – things that cannot be changed during the game. After doing so, the train stops at your destination and people from all over town come to greet you upon your arrival. Everyone mistakenly thinks that you are the new mayor and thus you find yourself the person in charge.
Aside from the short prologue, Animal Crossing: New Leaf doesn’t feature rich conversations and a deep plot, instead it focuses on daily-life events that occur from time to time. Those events will be triggered only by your decisions, so basically there isn’t a “right way” to play the game. For example, you can unlock new dialogs by mingling with other people and take chores for them. If the relationship is strong enough, some may even invite you to their home for a nice chit-chat.
This game is all about decisions. You create your own journey, build your own dream world – and there is nothing better than that.
The most interesting thing about New Leaf, or any other title in the Animal Crossing franchise, is the town’s economic system. From the start you will be asked to plant trees and harvest fruits. After doing so you will be able to sell or trade them for other goods or money (called bells). If you get bored with harvesting, you can purchase a net and start catching bugs. Each bug has a different value in shop and some may only appear on a specific month/time of the day. You can also catch various fishes after acquiring the fishing rode or dig up fossils with a shovel. Every time you managed to catch something new you can either sell it or donate it to the town’s museum, you won’t get any money out of but it’s nice to have a collection.
Another aspect of the game is the time system. Unlike many life-simulators, New Leaf is connected to your 3DS’s internal clock from the start, which means that gameplay will be changed depending on the time you play. For example, if you play at night shops will be closed and you won’t find anyone outside. Same thing goes for the early morning hours. This system contributes to the game’s realism, but may cause some problems for people who can’t play during daytime.
In order to be a great mayor you need to invest bells in public works projects such as: signs, benches, coffee shops, bridges, street lamps, fountains and dozens more. Even the smallest project in New Leaf costs thousands of bells, so it will take you more than a while to unlock everything.
Another thing you can control is the town’s image by declaring ordinances. There are 4 ordinances in total:
- Beautiful Town– citizens will start taking care of the city, make sure it’s clean.
- Wealthy Town– shops will buy and sell their goods for 20% more.
- Night Owl Town– citizens and shops will start their day later.
- Early Bird Town– shops will be open early than usual, citizens will start their day early.
As you can see, each ordinance doesn’t really change something important in the town’s life and only becomes needed when you play at late nights/early morning. Moreover, you must pay 20,000 bells to change between ordinances, something that simply doesn’t worth its price.
If you tired of playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf alone, you can always invite up to 4 friends to your town. When they arrive you can either show off all the hidden unlockable you achieved, trade stuff, chat or head to Tortimer Island for some mini games action. You will be surprised how fun it is to share your experiences with others.
+Tons of stuff to do
+The game acts solely on your decisions
–Many things can be done only during daytime
Conclusion: Everyone who owns a 3DS system should give Animal Crossing: New Leaf a try, but be aware that once you start playing there is no way out!
Score: 9.5 out of 10