Life is stressful! Today we live in a world where everyone can get a hold of you wherever you are using social media, smart phones, emails, etc and we rarely get a chance to switch off a while. So when we do get a chance to step away, then we need an escape. Some read a book, some use exercise and me? I of course use video games, and when it comes to gaming, the greatest escape seems to be some form of simulation like an MMO’s or building game. But steering towards the Nintendo crowd, there are many that like to journey into a quiet little town where it’s inhabitants are anthropomorphic animal beings, a town where the currency is measured in bells, you can get a house on credit and pay it off buy going fishing by the creek and picking fruit. Now imagine this town is accessible in a video game that runs in real-time, is open-ended and that’s goals are seen more as side quests and the overall focus of the title all falls on one aim… unwind. Welcome to the world of Animal Crossing.
Animal Crossing is a title that on the surface looks like it’s audience should predominantly be aimed at children, however I’ve only ever known it to be played by adults in their twenties (myself included), much like some of the other more popular Nintendo titles (Pokémon anyone?). With its calming gameplay style and multiplayer mode that allows for helping a friend out with work like planting trees, sending gifts like unique items or plants that are native to a friend’s town, or causing mischief by sending letters to a town inhabitant that they may show to the player at some point in the future, Animal Crossing has appeal to a wide variety of ages.
This brings me to the latest iteration of the Animal Crossing series with Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which is coming to Nintendo 3DS handheld consoles just less than two months from now on the 14th of June.
Today Nintendo have lifted the lid on some of the aspects of the new Animal Crossing and what to expect when playing New Leaf:
Upon your arrival in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you find yourself in a prestigious position when you’re mistaken for the mayor. Thankfully, Isabelle is at hand to show you the ropes of running the town – a task that you can take to heart with as much effort or as little as you like. Decorate the town with public works and participate in their opening ceremonies. Open a club to party with friends into the night, a café to sip coffee in, or the Dream Spa to pay a dream visit to other player’s towns from all over the world. As mayor you also have your say in how your town functions by way of ordinances: why not have the shops open later in the evening if you’re a night owl? Or have a beautiful town where all the flowers never need watering?
Not only can you decree what is built in your town, you can also show off your style and creativity from what you wear to where you live. Be the most fashionable in town and buy the latest outfits and accessories at the shop, or create your own designs and customise your clothes, then share your favourite designs with friends or collect new ones via QR Codes. You may start off living in a tent but you’ll soon be able to unleash your inner architect and expand to a house, and choose from a daily changing selection of house fixtures and fittings to eventually build your dream mansion. You can also become an interior decorator, with a huge array of different furniture and styles of wallpaper to suit your mood as the seasons change; as with your clothing you can apply your own designs to really make your home your own.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is also about communication – both with the kooky cast of animal characters that can move in and out of your town as well as your normal-life friends far and wide, with many game features geared towards sharing the joy of your town with others. Be house proud with the Happy Home Showcase and share a model of your unique home and décor with other players you encountered via StreetPass – if you fancy some of the furnishings others have on display, you could order them from a handy catalogue. Invite friends locally or online to your town and they can share items, go shopping or play games and bring back souvenirs from on a tropical island resort that is just a jaunty little boat trip away. You can document all your experiences by taking 3D snapshots everywhere you go, with all these memories saved to your SD Card for easy sharing with friends later.
On top of the wealth of new features and animal friends making their debut in the game, many of the pleasurable pastimes from previous entries in the Animal Crossing series – such as gardening, fishing and digging for fossils – as well as animal characters adored by millions of players all over the world, also return on Nintendo 3DS, making a trip to this new town both comfortingly familiar as well as excitingly new for returning fans.
To celebrate the launch of New Leaf, it had been revealed last night in the latest edition of Nintendo Direct that European fans will along with the new game, treat themselves to a custom 3DS XL, featuring a colorful themed design on the handheld and a copy of New Leaf pre-installed.
For fans who are quite happy with their current 3DS system (If you have that sweet-looking Zelda 3DS or Fire Emblem 3DS XL), you can get either get your Digital Download from the Nintendo eShop, but if you’re more into material possessions,by pre-ordering New Leaf a participating stores, you will receive a limited edition Isabelle figurine with Town Hall model. Speaking of the helpful Isabelle, Nintendo have set up a Twitter account for the character to further promote the game.
Animal Crossing; New Leaf is due for release in Europe on the 14th June for 3DS & 3DS XL Handheld consoles. for more information then check out the title’s Official website, Facebook and of course, Isabelle’s Twitter account.