3DS Review: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Should you turn over a new leaf?

The Animal Crossing franchise keeps on going with its latest entry, New Leaf. This time, you become the Mayor of your town and make all the big decisions like building projects, creating laws and you can design your town in any way you wish to. But is that worth the trip to the town on its own?
As with past games, you begin from the bottom and work your way up to the top as you try and pay off your debts to that devil known as Tom Nook who is so stingy in this game that all he gives you is a tent to live in until you pay your deposit, it’s a new low for him…making the mayor sleep in a tent! You earn money in the same ways you did in past games like selling items such as fruit, catching and selling fish and bugs, digging up fossils and so forth.

I only had the game on loan for 2 weeks so I was unable to take advantage of everything the game had to offer since the investment you have to put in to see the game’s pay off is so much longer, but I was seriously impressed with what the game had to show me in those 2 weeks. There’s more things to do, mini-games to play, islands to explore, new shops to check out and you can even buy incredibly rare Ninendo items for your villager including Majora’s Mask from Zelda by using 2 of your Play Coins a day in buying a fortune cookie, you won’t always win a prize but it’s worth doing for rare and incredibly fun loot.

You can also play with friends locally, online and via StreetPass the latter which I was unable to try as there is very little StreetPass users in my area, I get the odd hit when travelling into my high street but it’s a very rare thing and I’m sure it’s something that is quite common in other areas too, but hopefully not as it sounds like a nice touch. Being the mayor is a nice addition to the game and changes the dynamic of the game well, but also retains what keeps gamers going back to their town on a daily basis.
The game still has events for special days like birthdays and holidays like Easter and Christmas and you can still “time-travel” your way out of debt, but as usual if you do then certain villagers will be gone and your town will be full of weeds so I personally don’t recommend changing the time and date, but it’s a issue that’s divided Animal Crossing players since the original.

The game’s visuals haven’t changed much since the original either, but for the 3DS it’s crisper and has a smoother framerate. Voice-acting is still a combination of weird noises that will make you question what the hell you are actually playing, while dialogue is still displayed in text boxes. The music is as catchy as ever with K.K Slider’s tunes at a concert or behind the decks at Club 101.

The Verdict

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a mixture of old and new ideas which form into the best version of the franchise to date. Being the Mayor is a great addition and the level of customisation is beyond anything previously in the series, while online and local play is also vastly improved and the rare items are well worth investing in. Who wouldn’t want to wear Majora’s Mask while going around their town?