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LTTP: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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This is very late but I wanted to write this review after I gave Animal Crossing: New Leaf a fair shake. I picked it up on launch day and checked in with it on a daily basis until the release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. It took one of the best games of 2013 to discourage me from checking in and maintaining my town.

The town of Scorn (I named it) was a simple place to live. People didn’t have jobs but managed to live in increasingly decked out houses. I don’t know how they managed it because I had to work my butt off for everything in this town. I was the only one making money and I was the one that was tasked to improve the town’s image. As mayor, I decided which public works project was going to start but it was up to me to complete it with my own funds. I wish I was able to tax the citizens.

My primary source of income for me was selling fruits — especially the perfect oranges. I would spend a little bit of time everyday over the course of five months collecting AND stacking (I can’t believe they didn’t openly share this tip) fruits to sell. It was a grind but what were my alternatives? I could play the “Stalk Market” and hoped I bought the turnips for a low enough price to sell high before Sunday but that seemed like a quick way to lost cash.

I wasn’t aware of what I could or couldn’t do in Animal Crossing which was part of its appeal for me. I tried not to crack open the online FAQ pages and attempted to learn what I could through exposure and experimentation. The townsfolk shared a few tips to get the town’s approval rating up and informed me of upcoming in-game events but that’s about it. They shared amusing factoids about themselves, asked me to change their catchphrases but nothing truly useful.

If I wasn’t collecting fruit to sell I was spending time to catching fish, bugs or fossils. These collectibles contributed to town museum where I could learn about the local wildlife of the past and present. I didn’t spend much time with this task. I would collect and collect but just for the sake of completing a checklist.

I found the most enjoyment through the daily nuggets of factoids or that new little activity that I discovered. This continued for about two and half months before I was familiar with all the game had to offer. After this honeymoon period wore off, I felt like I was a sucker. I felt like the town of Scorn suckered me into becoming the town butler. I didn’t feel like a mayor but that was okay but I still found the game charming and clever enough to keep going for another two and half months.

My first Animal Crossing game was a fulfilling one but I also realize that it has many shortcomings. The menus could be friendlier, skipping the repetitive dialog should be possible and the flow of the game could be a bit quicker but those are areas of improvement that a first time player like me could forgive. I don’t know if I would pick up another Animal Crossing game in the near future but I’m very glad I gave this franchise a try.

Worth a Try

Ratings Guide

For more information on Animal Crossing: New Leaf, visit the official website.

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