3DS Review: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

Animal Crossing gets a cute spin-off, but is it what fans want?

A new installment in the Animal Crossing series is here, and with a twist! In Animal Crossing: Happy Home designer you undertake a job at Nook’s Homes working for, you guessed it, Tom Nook! Your role is to help design and furnish all the town’s homes and businesses! The game also includes the optional use of Amiibo cards, in which you can unlock special characters and the ability to help design their homes too. The game is a bright and colourful as ever and runs really smoothly.
You start off furnishing simple rooms for clients but within time you move onto bigger and better projects like designing a hospital, school and much more. You also go from only being able to change the interior of the homes to to being able to pick the outside colour scheme, roof tiling, door colour and customizing gardens with all sorts of plants and furniture.

The fun thing is the more homes or businesses you design the more furniture you unlock, which leads to being able to really get stuck in and express your creative side.
The plus side is the animals are pretty happy with anything you do, you can’t go wrong. Which means if you get a request that you find boring, for example to create “a blue room” you can spend minimal time on it and move onto projects that appeal to you more instead, but while still getting all the credit.

However as fun as it is to decorate all these rooms, you never get a home of your own to play around with. Nor can you walk around the town and see all of the homes you have made. Also, when you finish a commercial building like a cafe the animals of the town will visit it, but you can never truly interact with it’s features, for example you can’t order a coffee at the cafe.

The new way to place furniture is genius, it’s completely seamless and so much easier than the original clunky method of using your character to push, pull and rotate manually. When you are designing a room you see the room in the top screen but the bottom screen has an interactive flat plan of the room with buttons to get into the furniture catalogue just above it.

So you click on the catalogue with your stylus, scroll through it, pick your item and it pops into the room and a block representing the furniture appears in the interactive room plan. You can then use your stylus on the block in the room plan to drag, rotate or duplicate the item and put it wherever you desire. Wherever you move the block on the room plan the furniture item will mirror your movements in the actual room. It may sound a bit complicated but it’s really simple and easy to use once you get the hang of it.

The Verdict

Animal Crossing: Happy Home designer is a really fun spin off in the Animal Crossing series. However as fun as it is it can get a little bit repetitive as you have no other tasks but design homes. Nevertheless it’s still really enjoyable, and awesome to have access to a catalogue full of furniture from the start. I really like how you can upload your homes online and other players can rate it, you can also visit homes other players have created to get ideas for your future projects! I still believe some of the new features are amazing and it would be great if they could be incorporated into a new full Animal Crossing game.

Score: 7.5