"Can You Spare a Few Hundred Hours?"
I have played every entry of Animal Crossing that I could get my hands on and enjoyed each and every one of the hundreds of hours sunk into what others might call monotony. Since its release, I played Animal Crossing: City Folk consistently every few days and I just stopped playing it less than two months ago. With personally very little time off between entries, tackling the just released Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a sure test to see how much, if anything, has changed in the charming, yet admittedly iterative simulation franchise.
The game starts out in remarkably familiar fashion. As you move into a new town, Rover asks you a series of questions that determine the name, gender, and look of your character as well as the name and layout of your village (you can choose what your village looks like and where exactly you want your house!). Upon your arrival, you are mistaken for the village’s new mayor and are thrust into the role that series mainstay, Tortimer, used to inhabit. This is where the game makes its first serious series departure.
As mayor, it is understandably your duty to keep your constituents happy while improving the village as best as you can. With the considerable aid of your adorable secretary, Isabelle, you take on assignments ranging from the basic – interacting with neighbors, pulling weeds, recycling – to the more legislative – purchasing and placing decorative community fixtures, initiating the development of new buildings, and setting open hours for the various shops. The Night Owl Ordinance makes it so that the village is more active at night and shops stay open later; it is a godsend for players who are busy during the day.
Sure, you will still be paying off debt by reselling as many items as you can, but it feels like less of a hassle now. Bugs and fish appear more frequently, making it easier to flip them for quick bells over at the recycle shop, Re-Tail. As a functioning flea market, you can also put up any items for sale here, so money is thankfully not in short supply. You will need all the bells you can get to really improve your village.
Main Street is where a bulk of the new action is, though. Just north of town lies a collection of shops. At first, you only have access to the museum, where you donate any relevant items; Nookling Junction, where you can buy tools, stationery, etc.; Able Sisters, the proprietors of fine fashion, designs, and accessories; and Nook’s Homes, where Tom Nook now resides to help you customize your home.
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Writes for a few media outlets, does graphic design work for a few clients, as well as production work for a few studios (all poorly). Believes the best correlation between the words "twilight" and "sparkle" has less to do with vampires and more to do with a sarcastic pony.
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