Animal Crossing: New Leaf - 3DS/2DS

Also known as: Animal Crossing: New Leaf: Welcome Amiibo!

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Viewed: 3D Top-down, Static screen Genre:
Strategy: Management
Media: Cartridge Arcade origin:No
Developer: Nintendo Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo (US/GB/GB/GB)
Released: Sept 2011 (US)
14 Jun 2013 (GB)
25 Nov 2016 (GB)
29 Jun 2018 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
Connectivity: StreetPass


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After tending bespoke gardens and trying to pay off virtual debts to a money-obsessed raccoon for years on Gamecube, Nintendo DS and Wii, this new version of Animal Crossing - titled New Leaf - changes the traditional formula just enough so it feels fresh. But not too much that it makes it feel like a completely different experience.

Just like previous titles, you act as a resident of your own little village, interacting with the scenery and your fellow virtual neighbours in real time. If you decide not to play Animal Crossing for a day, the villagers will wonder where you went and react like they’ve not seen you for the same amount of time. Various activities take place in the village on certain days of the year, too - fishing contests, special offers in local shops and seasonal celebrations to name but a few.

What’s different this time around, is that your character doubles as the Mayor of the town. On your first day, you are introduced to your assistant - an adorable little pup named Isabelle - who will guide you in decision-making and your day-to-day activity. Before you’re allowed to make any impact on the town’s operation, you have to earn the respect of the town community.

Once that’s done, you can start construction of Public Work Projects (which allows you to build funky new features to your town, ranging from simple bridges to new shops, buildings and museum improvements).

A lot of the old-school Animal Crossing buildings and features remain, but are arranged in a different format in New Leaf. Many of the shops and businesses of interest, including the Museum, Able Sisters clothes store and the Nooklings General Store, are now situated in its own area called Main Street. This is a special zone beyond the train tracks of your town, where you can spend money (bells) to improve your land.

It’s not all trees, flowers and fish though. Your animal neighbours always have something to say too, and are equally as good at remembering things as the rest of the town is. Similarly, days pass in real-time, so any neglect will be reflected in weeds cropping up around the town, dead plants, wilting trees and - worst of all - cockroaches in your house. Basically, the game has a persistant world for you to keep coming back to.

Your 3DS Friends can even be invited to your town either locally or via the internet, and whilst they’re visiting they you can trade items, chat to new animal characters, and explore how other players have decorated their own piece of land.

All in all, New Leaf is a wonderful little world for you to step into and get wrapped up in.