Animal Crossing is a popular social video game series where a human character moves to a town or village inhabited by animals, the games are known to give each player a unique experience with every play-through having different villagers and things to do. Players are also encouraged to be creative in the games and every game is able to be played in real time with the seasons and holidays being accurate to real life because of this each game is intended to be played daily until the next entry is released.
In this article we will be looking at all of the main series entries as well as its spin offs.
I haven’t played these games in a very long time so I will be using images from others peoples villages so if yours is on here and you want it removed please let me know at the email address on my contact page.
Animal Crossing was originally released for the Nintendo 64 in Japan, this version was never released worldwide and the rest of us got introduced to the series through the GameCube version which was enhanced with new features and better graphics.
The main goal in all of the games was to pay off a property that you have on a mortgage with Tom Nook, every-time you gain enough bells by selling bugs, shells, fish and other things you collect, you can pay off your home which will make it bigger, you repeat this process until you have the biggest home available in the game.
On a side note you can also find and collect fossils, bugs and fish which can be sent to Blathers the Owl at the Faraway Museum for analysing.
You can have many villagers join your village, they will either stay or leave depending on how you communicate with them, many of them will ask you do tasks for them, in the first Animal Crossing game you could have 15 villagers in your village at one time.
In the game players could, find, trade and be gifted games for the NES, all of these games were fully playable and this idea was really revolutionary at the time.
Two of these games could only be accessed using e-reader cards, and two more were giveaways to certain players, The Legend of Zelda for NES was in the games code but was never put into the final game.
Some of these games could even be transferred to the Gameboy Advance using the GBA link cable.
Using a GBA Link cable players are also able to access a secret island that a character named Kapp’n can take them too, on this island is a hidden villager and special fruit such as coconuts.
The GBA can also be used to create special clothing designs at the Able Sisters shop.
Animal Crossing on the Gamecube is the version I played and to this day I still think its a great game to play over and over again, there are so many cool things to do, there are the NES games to find as well meeting interesting characters such as Tom Nook, Kapp’n, Tortimer and K.K Slider who have all become fan favourites K.K slider is particularly fun because he plays music for you and then gives you a copy of the track which you can play whenever you want giving collectors another thing to collect. Animal Crossing is a chilled out experience but also a really immersive game that is still one my favourites.
In 2005 we got Animal Crossing Wild World for the Nintendo DS, in my opinion there is not much new material here and this is more of a enhanced port of the original game than it is a sequel.
Because the DS used dual screens the sky above the player would move as the character moved making the game a little more realistic and immersive than the original
The use of the DS stylus made certain aspects of the game such as creating patterns and writing letters a lot easier than they were on a controller.
What is consider to be the best new addition was the ability to visit other peoples villages over the Nintendo WiFi connection, this was really cool but you could only visit villages using someones DS friend code and you were unable to connect to a random village. Online was able to be used in the game until 2014 when the service was closed down.
Apart from this there wasn’t many differences to the game-cube version, there were no retro games this time around and apart from online I cant think of any reason why this version would be superior.
Animal Crossing Wild World is in my opinion the weakest game in the main series, this does not mean that its bad, it just lacked new features and it was missing certain elements from the original game and its for that reason why I think it’s not as good.
In 2008 we got the third main series Animal Crossing game for the Nintendo Wii in the US it was called Animal Crossing: City Folk but over in Europe our version was called Animal Crossing: Lets Go to the City.
The base game of City Folk was very similar to the previous entries and not much was added as new content however for the first time a new area could be accessed without the use of a second games system. This new area was the City, players could access this area by hoping on a bus driven by Kapp’n. In the City you can take part in various activities including shopping, getting your haircut, bidding on items and visiting the local theatre, I really enjoy the city area of the game as its a nice distraction from the regular village.
A new peripheral was available with the game, this was Wii Speak an electronic device that allowed you to talk with other players in real time using voice chat. I never owned one of these myself so I am unable to comment on its quality, other devices that could be used with the game were the Nintendo DS, you could use the DS to transfer you character and other elements from Wild World to City Folk and for easy messaging in the game you could use a PC keyboard instead of the wii-mote pointer.
It should also be noted that using a service called Wii Connect 24 players were able to order special items from Nooks Store, during special events Nintendo would release special clothing and items that could be downloaded into the game, this service was shut down in 2013 upon the release of the Wii U.
Even though there wasn’t many new things added to this game it managed to maintain the charm present in previous games, it never tried to over whelm the player with new content and it was clear that Nintendo knew what the fans wanted, with only few extra additions Animal Crossing: City Folk was a really nice entry to the series it was as good as we expected it to be without it being to ambitious.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012 it was the fourth game released in the main series and at this moment it is still the most recently available main entry game, the game also introduced players to new series character Isabelle.
The game came with the usual fare of Animal Crossing game-play such as fishing, collecting shells and bugs and selling items for bells but a major change was the player being mistaken for the town mayor, this opened up many new types of game play.
As the mayor you are now able to modify to the majority of the village, you can add new buildings, you can fund projects and construction jobs such as adding bridges and fountains to the town, also as the mayor the villagers will ask you for help in various ways, they did this in previous games but the jobs were never anything memorable and were usually delivering an item from one villager to another.
Another thing you can do as Mayor is ordinances this works somewhat in a similar manner to legal laws, you can use ordinances to control how certain aspects of your village and residents work, for example you could ask for more trees or flowers to be planted or you could change what time the local shops will open and close.
The special island re-appeared in this game, players could go over to the Island to collect bugs and fish not available in the regular village and some mini games could also be played over on the island.
new mini-games were added to the Island in a free update.
Multiplayer returned along with being able to visit your friends towns, the dream suite feature allows players to visit dream like versions of random players towns over Nintendo Wifi Connection, another really cool online feature allowed you to view players homes that you found via the 3DS street pass, you were even able to buy the items that they stored in their homes.
The last feature I will talk about is the sewing machine in the Able Sisters shop, by using this machine you could create QR codes for the patterns and designs you create, other players can scan these using their 3DS cameras to download the patterns.
Animal Crossing New Leaf is one of the best games available on Nintendo 3DS, it changed up the game play while still remaining respectful of its purpose, it was a nice change of pace and its new features made the game more playable and kept players interested with its consistent game play with plenty of things to do.
Animal Crossing Home Designer was the first spin off game in the Animal Crossing series, the game had players designing multiple homes for villagers and trying to design the decor and furniture to suit their needs. It was released in September of 2015.
In this game the main focus is designing homes so there is no mortgages to pay off, different villagers will hire you to theme there homes on specific things this adds a bit of challenge to the game and also encourages creativity and imagination. The shops have returned from the main series however more items are available from the get go and more can be unlocked as you progress through the game.
The game also incorporated Amiibo cards that could be used to invite main series villagers to join parties in the town, you might even get the opportunity to design homes for these characters.
Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival was released in November 2015, it was based on the Mario Party video game series, the goal of the game is to make your villager the happiest in town.
In the game players will roll a dice to move around the board and you will see events, depending on how these events turn out you will either gain or lose happy points and at the end of the game the player with the most happy points wins.
The game gave us animal crossing amiibos, by scanning these amiibos into the game you could then play as those characters, you could also scan amiibo cards to play some minigames with your friends.
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is a free to play mobile game that was released Worldwide for android and IOS in November 2017.
Surprisingly this mobile version of the series is not much different to the main series games that we have come to love, the biggest difference was that it was based on building a campsite instead of a village but apart from that the core game-play remains almost the same, I personally think that this game had much more memorable events and holidays as some of these were based on other Nintendo series.
Like similar games on mobile, the core game is free to download and play but things take a long time to build and require a lot of patience however if you are feeling up to it you can use real currency to purchase Leaf tickets to speed up the process, the tickets can also be used to build things that you may not have the correct materials for.
The Latest main series title Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released for the Nintendo Switch on March 20th 2020.
In the game players need to choose an Island layout before being shipped to that Island, from here a naming ceremony is held along with a bonfire party, this part of the game is mandatory and is the only time the game is not following real time. Once the player goes to sleep real time and seasons will start and the Animal Crossing experience will begin.
A really fun crafting system has now been introduced to the series, players are able to gather materials from trees, rocks and other things in the game to combine and make furniture, new tools and decor, special recipe cards can be discovered or traded allowing players to add more craft-able items to the list.
The staple Bell Currency is back as usual however this time it is joined with a new type of currency called Nook Miles, Nook Miles allow you to purchase special items and updates to your game, this includes visiting new islands, upgrading item storage and general enhancements to the experience of the game. You gain this currency by finishing special tasks acting in a similar way too an achievement system, along with main nook goals special daily goals are available as well.
Late into the game, players can unlock an Island Designer mode, this mode allows the player to edit their islands by removing specific terrain or creating rivers and cliffs, this allows a serious amount of customisation in the game.
The game can bug although this does not happen, there is a rescue service option available which can help the player in these circumstances by spawning them back at their house, it does cost 100 Nook miles to use.
The last thing I feel needs to be mentioned here is the lack of Mr Resetti, for those who don’t know, Mr Resetti is a frequent character in the series who would scold a player when they forgot to save their game or when they reset their town, the character has been removed from New Horizons due to the Auto Save system.
And that is where we are left with the Animal crossing series to date, I find it hard not to love this series for its simplicity, cuteness and relaxed atmosphere, I will update the new horizons segment if major updates are added but for now we will continue this series with the next games release.
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