Game Corner: Turning over a new leaf

The Magnet Tribune: Screenshot
The player’s villager, left, and Isabelle, town secretary, attend a ceremony for a fire hydrant project.

Manuel Ruiz, Game Corner Columnist

History 

Animal Crossing New Leaf was revealed at the 2010 Entertainment Expo with very little info until the 2011 Entertainment Expo, where players received a trailer showcasing the game’s new feature. The game wouldn’t release any new info until October 2012 when the game would receive the final title “Animal Crossing New Leaf” along with a tentative release date for North America which was early 2013.  The game was then released on June 9, 2013, making it the second time the franchise has been on a Nintendo handheld console.

Gameplay

Animal crossing is a well-known series for not having a goal or objective in the gameplay. Players can do anything they want in their town or players can even set their own goal! Players can also develop friendships with the local residents of the town that will earn them a reward and helps the town feel alive since each villager have their own personalities such as Cranky, Lazy, Jock, and Smug for Male villagers and Snooty, Normal, Peppy and Uchi (which means they act friendly and caring like an older sister), and each have certain styles that make them different from each other.

When the player first starts off the game they are riding a train they meet a familiar character called Rover. Rover will ask the player if the date they give is correct, and they would start sitting in front of the player starts asking the player questions such as their name, which town there are heading to, and questions that will determine that players villager appearance.

After the player completes answering the questions the train announces that they have arrived at the town they’re heading, and after Rover hears the announcement he bids farewell to the player.

After the player gets out of the train they find three villagers and a new character to the series who welcome the player to the town. This is where the players find out that they’re going to become the town’s mayor. The player then goes to the town hall with Isabelle to register the player as a resident but there are no vacant houses where the player can live so the player is told to go to the town’s Main Street and go to Nook’s Home to build a home for the player to live in.

After the player has chosen an area to live in they then have to go town hall once more to let Isabelle know that they chose an area to live in. Isabelle then invites the player to a ceremony that was prepared for the “mayor’s arrival” in the towns Plaza. The player plants a tree sapling and as soon as they plant the sapling the player’s daily life begins in New Leaf.

New Features

A new shop called Re-Tails is a recycling store that is run by Reese and Cyrus who are new characters to the series. Cyrus can help the player add their own designs to furniture they bring in, and Reese buys items from the player for a higher price than Nookling Junction.

In New Leaf, a new area called the Main Street which replaces the City from the previous installment “City Folk”. When the player starts off the game the Main Street only has 5 buildings which include the Nookling Junction, Able Sisters, Happy Home Showcase, Museum, Post Office, and lastly Nook’s Home. There are more buildings that will be unlocked when the player keeps playing.

The Happy Home Showcase is a new area that is run by Digby a new character to the series. The Showcase is a location where the player can see other players’ homes by Streetpass and can hold up to 46 homes, but the player can have 16 stays if they desire.

Lastly, the Island from the first Installment returns and players can visit the island once they paid off the first home upgrade. The Island can help the player collect tropical bugs and fish that are only found on the island, and can offer mini-games for the player to play.

In a New Leaf, the players are able to customize their own town since they’re the mayor of the town. Being the mayor of the town they can only a limited amount of work they can do as the mayor such as setting a town ordinance which affects the town if they choose any of the four.

  1. Beautiful Town – Villagers help water plants or plant flowers. Time Traveling (changing the date from the games setting to a different date) does not affect the town’s environment. Cockroaches won’t appear in the player’s home. Having fewer weeds appear. Flower hybrids will have a 20% more likely to appear. Trash won’t be caught while the player is fishing, and lastly, flowers will no wither.
  2. Early Bird Town – Villagers will wake up earlier than before and shops will open earlier. (Hours vary)
  3. Night Owl Town – Villagers will be active later on during the day. This is useful for players who are busy during the day and are free during the latter day. Villagers will go to sleep later and shops close later as well (hours vary)
  4. Wealthy Town – This ordinance increases the number of bells the player can receive when selling and increases items for sale by 20%. Re-Tail’s premium item list is increased so that two items are listed. Lastly, the island items are increased by 20% for medals.

The last feature the player can do as mayor is building public work projects, which lets the player customize their town with a list of projects such as a fountain, clocks, streetlights, and many other types of projects. The player will start off with a small amount of projects they can build and they can only have 30 projects in their town, but the player can demolish any projects (expect for any buildings that are located on the main street or any projects that cannot be demolished Isabelle will let the player know).

An update for the game will be releasing on December 2nd that lets players use amiibo figures and amiibo cards from the animal crossing line-up and also releases the new set of amiibos card that introduces new villagers or returning villagers from the first installment. The update will allow players to choose a character from either a figure or amiibo to move into their town.

Pros

New Leaf is a wonderful installment for anyone who is interested in the franchise since the game is very friendly to newcomers to the series such as helping the player learn what to do in New Leaf and allows players to customize their villager even more by changing their shoes, socks, and pants since previous installments the player was only able to change their shirt.

An addition to New Leaf the villagers feel more different from, one another since each character has a certain way of talking and it makes it easy to see which villager you will like and ones you will hate to have.

Lastly, New Leaf is a wonderful game to play with friends either locally or online and playing with other people is exciting to do since you can visit the island and play mini-games the island offers or just goof around with a town. Up to 4 people can visit a town and can do creative types of mini games on their own since the fanbases’ of the franchise has fun ideas for the player to do while playing with other people.

Cons

One small issue I have is when the players start off the game their villager have no bells which is odd since previous installments players had small amounts of bells that helped the player, but since the game helps the player on how to get money fast it’s a small issue.

Lastly, the game starts off slow and tedious which can cause players to stop playing for a while, but after a while, the game will start to get more interesting and fun. Sometimes the villagers will give info on how to do simple things the player might already know.

Final Thoughts

Animal crossing New Leaf is a wonderful game and a great installment in the franchise and a great title for newcomers to the series to start off with since the game offers a lot of content for returning fans and newcomers. Seeing new characters’ to the series is amazing since they all have personalities and are very loveable. Even though the game has its small issue it’s still an amazing title and is now $19.99 in retailers and online.

I give New Leaf a 9/10.