Nintendo has released yet another mobile phone game, and a day early no less. After a highly successful, Fire Emblem-themed summoning game and the worst Super Mario game under the sun, Nintendo releases exactly what you’d expect: an Animal Crossing game. Will Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp be the game we’ve always wanted, or will it become a barren social media app that even Miitomo exceeds?
Let’s not be silly, no future Nintendo app will ever fail as hard Miitomo did after the second month. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a game that fuses Happy Street with Animal Crossing mechanics. For those unfamiliar with Happy Street, you gather resources as a happy fox boy with no pants and build a town that slowly gathers animal-people. As you get more animal-people, you progress by leveling up. Sounding familiar yet? Most of Happy Street is spent gathering resources as you wait to finish crafting buildings in order to gather supplies in order to craft more buildings. As EA’s Battlefront 2 could tell you, “free to play often means pay to wait.” As Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp could tell you, “gather, craft, gather, craft, gather, craft.”
Regardless of similarities to prior games, there is something that will grab players to this game, especially considering it’s free to play, new, and has nearly every villager you could want. The first few minutes are especially exciting; creating your character (however limited the options are), naming said character (limited to 10 characters), and running into K.K. Slider (the way you start every game, which isn’t a limit considering K.K. quite literally rocks). Time management is one skill you will certainly practice from playing this game, as the beginning few hours rely on your crafting supplies, hurriedly completing quests, and gathering new craft supplies. Beginning supplies are completed within a few minutes and you can’t get new characters without building furniture with craft supplies, yet it is very easy to get lost in the surrounding environment.
In most cases, collecting is irritating at best: shaking down trees only to tap on each individual fruit to collect it. Additionally, navigating through the world proves to be a hassle in the beginning; each seasonal location you travel to doesn’t seem to be much different than the last and prevents you from interacting with multiple potential camp-mates at the same time.
Still, the way you catch fish and bugs is reminiscent of traditional Animal Crossing games, the music isn’t bad, and despite loading times the graphics are surprisingly spot-on; Animal Crossing DS has nothing on these graphics. Speaking of portable titles, many thought Animal Cross Happy Home Designer was a fake Animal Crossing game and a waste of money, yet this game is the perfect balance of both traditional Animal Crossing games and Happy Home. There is a lot of room for furniture customization while also allowing for “traditional” Animal Crossing gameplay.
It seems that this is yet another example of Nintendo easing players of all ages into buying and playing Animal Crossing games. Creating a balance of recent games of Nintendo’s creation and similar successes on iOS, I believe Nintendo wants to not only make big bucks off of microtransactions, but to recreate their neglected audience for the next official Animal Crossing games. God knows Nintendo neglects their fanbase, but recently Nintendo has regained their once slippery and fragile foothold as a leader in the industry.
Am I looking too much into this? You know it, it’s a hobby of mine, yet I think this game is not only a success, but a look into how Nintendo can analyze a competitive market, what makes competitors in this industry shine, and knock them out of the stadium. Now if only we could do that a year ago with Super Mario Run, Nintendo.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp may be a traditional time-waster on your iOS device, yet it offers the best of competing time-wasting games. If you’re itching to play Happy Street after all these years yet don’t want to create a new account or simply want to play Animal Crossing, this is the perfect game to download.