Playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf with Mother Duck

Ever since its origin on the GameCube, Animal Crossing has always been one of those few games that both Mother Duck and I enjoy playing.  While she prefers more peaceful games like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, it is rare for me to play a game that doesn’t involve some grand adventure, platforming, RPG, or otherwise.  Nevertheless, Animal Crossing just has a certain level of charm that even I can’t resist.

My rather neglected 3DS is finally getting some use again in the form of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which Mother Duck and I have been playing quite a lot lately.  Rather than having separate characters, we decided to just have one shared character, which we named Clara after the Dr. Who companion.  The town is called Limerick after a random, but pleasant sounding, town we just happened to come across on a map recently.

Though I would much rather play games on the TV, this game has more than made up for its tiny screen size thanks to how much there is to do.  You have a town like City Folk, except it can be improved with new shops and shop upgrades.  You can customize everything, including pants, shoes, and socks now, which you couldn’t do before.  You can also get extra rooms in your house in addition to the upstairs and basement.  (I believe this was a feature of Wild World, as well, but we didn’t play that game much.  I think we were ticked because we couldn’t get Shampoodle without an Internet connection, and Internet was no longer supported by the time we got the game.)

Seeing as I love donating to the museum, I also love the fact that this game has even more things to collect, from a greater variety of fish and sea creatures to the addition of statues to add to the art gallery.  Seriously, you can actually scuba dive now, allowing you to get all sorts of interesting new creatures, from starfish to giant isopods (they’re like big pill bugs).  There are even new types of flowers and fruit, as well.  In addition, there’s a tropical island to visit, where you can play mini games for medals, and there are initiatives every day that earn you coupons that can be spent on unique items in the campground.

Lastly, I can’t forget the fact that you can now be the mayor, who is responsible for making the town better.  I forgot all the things you can add to your town, but our first order of business was adding a bridge to make traversing our town much more convenient.  Secondly, we added a stone tablet because Quillson asked for it, even though neither of us are certain what it is.

So far, one major gripe is that Re-Tail feels kind of pointless.  I understand that it’s meant to be a place where the player and fellow townspeople sell stuff rather than a traditional shop like Timmy and Tommy’s store.  The thing is…I’d much rather sell things outright than wait for it to sell in Re-Tail, and it feels needlessly complicated to sell my items at Re-Tail, but buy things at the other store.  I mean, it’s not that complicated, but it used to be nice to buy and sell in the same place.

It’s also kind of nice that so much needs to be unlocked in this game.  I’ll admit that my more impatient side wishes I had access to every store right away, but I suppose it does give you an added layer of things to do and look forward to than previous games.

Despite a few minor complaints, New Leaf is easily the best Animal Crossing to date, and I’d love to see a new Animal Crossing game on the Switch that uses and improves upon features in this game.  It gets a bit tiring playing on such a small screen, so I think a modern console addition to the series is long past due.  Make it happen, Nintendo!

Post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on May 21, 2019.

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