Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Animal Crossing: New Leaf First Week Impressions

animal crossing: new leaf screenshot 
I'm not wearing shoes!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the fourth installment in Nintendo's wildly popular life/world/happiness simulator. This version rolled out onto the 3DS on Sunday, June 9th, and I have been working tirelessly to bring you first hand information! What do I like, what don't I like? What's new? What's familiar? What's missing that I wish remained? As a veteran and fan of the series since its start on the Gamecube in 2001, I feel qualified to share this information!

What's new?

So many things. Shoes and socks are now purchasable, as well as pants, skirts, tank tops, dresses, and t-shirts. The customization options are huge! More bugs, more fish, and aquatic life such as urchins, sand dollars, and anemones! NEW FRUIT! Players earn badges from Phineas as they meet milestones in-game, there's an island awaiting your presence with tropical fish year round, and SWIMMING! Players can purchase a wetsuit (or rent one while on the island) to swim for fun and also to dive for hidden treasures and creatures. When you move into town you get to choose where your house goes! Players become mayor of their town, then choose projects to build (such as bridges, benches, and street lights) in order to liven up the area and make citizens happier. Oh, and you even get to choose where those items go! Ordinances can also be placed into effect, changing how the your town functions. Some choices include Early Bird, Beautify, and Big Bells. They make the town livelier in the mornings, make flowers grow more frequently and never wilt, and make it so shops pay more for your items, respectively. There are many ordinances to choose from in order to suit each individual player's needs! And believe it or not, there's even more beyond my ramblings!

animal crossing: new leaf fortune cookie 
Once a day for 2 play coins, you can buy a fortune cookie. Exchange the fortune for a rare prize!

What stood out right away?

NEW FLOWERS AND FRUIT! This was seriously a long time coming. I love being able to change individual aspects of my outfit, and I love that there are so many more shops to pop into. Nook now runs the Home Improvement store, which he shares with Lyle. Nook still sells home upgrades, but now he also sells customization of doors, roofs, fences, mailboxes, and more. Lyle will give you your up-to-date Happy House Academy score, as well as pointers for improvement. Pelly still works at the Post Office, and Mabel and Sable are once again in their clothing shop, but they are now joined by Label! Label runs the accessory shop attached to Mabel and Sabel's. Eventually Leif the Sloth will build a gardening store, and Nook's nephews run Nooklington Junction selling furniture, tools, and the ever exciting new product: fortune cookies. Re-Tail in town is run by an adorable llama named Reese. She will buy your wares for a good price, and players can also set up items to sell to other players as well as citizens. When her husband wakes up he will build custom furniture, too!

animal crossing: new leaf bug off score 
New Leaf sees the return of many old favorites, including the Bug Off! You get prizes for beating the current high score holder, too.

Do I ever play with the 3D on?

I really don't like the 3D. I can only turn it on a tiny bit or else I get a headache, and even then I have to sit just so in order for it to look right. I sometimes forget the thing even has a 3D feature. Let me know in the comments whether or not you use your 3D, or if it gives you similar issues!

animal crossing: new leaf bridge completion ceremony  
Completion of Public Works Projects includes lots of pomp and circumstance, and I like it!

How are the graphics?

Usually I don't care much about graphics, but I'm pleased to say that Animal Crossing: New Leaf looks great! Super crisp, sharp, and colorful. The sprites move smoothly and there's great detail to be seen on the fish, bugs, and miscellaneous other things. I disliked Wild World for the DS because I didn't like how the graphics looks when players walked around (quite the hinderance, you know).

animal crossing: new leaf boat to island 
Kapp'n returns with sea shanties and weird compliments! If you go to the island a lot, and you're like me, you'll get sick of them.

Does progress move quickly?

The diligent player will have no issues making rapid progress. As soon as access to the island opens up it becomes easy peasy to make tons of bells in short order. A trip to the island at night will net between at least 100,000 because of all of the rare tropical tree beetles. The game has been out just over a week now, and as of this writing I have my first upstairs expansion on my home (which means three home upgrades already!), a second bridge, and a fountain. By the time this article posts I plan on having a campsite built, too!

animal crossing: new leaf green wet suit on the island 
Me in my wet suit getting ready to deep sea dive and avoid some very rude jellyfish.

Are there any Cons?

I can't stop playing.

animal crossing: new leaf multiplayer
My buddy and me exploring the multiplayer features. We happen to be matching, and I blinked!

Is there anything that I feel is missing?

The 3DS has a microphone built in, so I feel that Nintendo seriously dropped the ball on not incorporating voice chat into the multiplayer features. Communication with friends in-game is still as arduous as ever: hunting and pecking on the keyboard with the stylus, and a very limited number of characters at a time. I find it easier to keep a text or IM conversation going on my phone or computer. Using the touch screen keyboard just takes too long.

animal crossing: new leaf sea anemone 
The huge array of new sea creatures to discover via diving makes me so excited that I want to scream.

Also, the astronomy tower is gone! That gives me the sads, because that was an awesome feature of City Folk.

Is this a title that would benefit from being a Digital Download?

I kind of wish I had gone digital for this one. As Iwata said, Animal Crossing is a game that can be played year round with new content nearly every day. There's little to no reason to ever take it out of your system! But, I am a collector, and a visual one at that. I love seeing my games and systems lined up on my shelves. It brings me joy! I have three games on my 3DS from the eShop, and even though they're convenient I still miss having their boxes on my shelf. So, if you aren't a visual collector and you haven't yet bought Animal Crossing because you just can't decide if you should go physical or eShop, my recommendation is eShop!

animal crossing: new leaf insect maniac badge 
I was confused when I saw Phineas, but now I can't wait for him to show up again and give me more badges!

Additional thoughts:

I love that we can take in-game screenshots by holding R and L down at the same time! That is truly badass! The mini games on the island are incredibly fun and challenging, offering even more gameplay to participate in. I'm anxious to use the QR code feature for clothing and wall patterns, and I love that I can add people to a Best Friend list and be able to send them messages even if we aren't in one another's towns. Nintendo really outdid themselves this time.

There is so much more to be said about New Leaf, but I don't want to overwhelm readers. Just know that this article is but a sampling of the wonders awaiting you!

animal crossing: new leaf majora's mask fortune cookie 
Thanks to the fortune cookies, my room is becoming a Nintendo haven (and I couldn't be happier).


If you haven't started a file yet (and you care what your character looks like), then be sure to reference this Face Guide to have some control over your visual outcome! Also, know that Rover gives you a few different town layouts to choose from at the start of the game. How awesome is that?!

So WHO ELSE is playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf? I don't delve into multiplayer games nearly as often as I'd like, and I want this experience to be different! Here's my Friend Code:


, please send me yours! I want to play!


*header and preview images from Nintendo. All screenshots are from my personal collection!


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