Naturally, the first thing I wanted to see at Nintendo’s booth at PAX East was Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I mean, come on — have you met me? Yes, I also played a little Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon to see if it was worth purchasing that weekend for the trip home, but I really wanted to see New Leaf in action. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to actually play it hands-on. It was a guided demo where you could just watch as a Nintendo employee showed off the game. Of course I still loved it, and you’ll find out exactly why after the jump!
I had been avoiding spoilers on the game so as not to ruin too many surprises, so some of this information was new to me. I knew that as mayor of the town you could build things around town like benches, light posts and whatnot. But I didn’t know that in addition to Public Works, you can also create Ordinances that will let you change the rules of the town. Such as the hours of operation, making your town more active in the morning or evening, whichever suits your play style better. This would have been a lot more helpful to have in the home console version, as opposed to a portable version where you can play it anywhere at any time.
I also enjoyed learning that while the clothes (tops, bottoms, hats, shoes, etc) are labeled as male or female, you’re free to dress in whatever you like. So I expect to see a lot of Animal Crossdressing when I visit with friends! Unfortunately, when you StreetPass others playing New Leaf, you’re only going to get to visit their home and check it out. Naturally, they can’t let people interact with random strangers, because that could get inappropriate real quick. At least you can make a more awesome house than in City Folk. You can have four rooms on the first floor as well as an upstairs and basement. I liked that aspect of the previous DS version because then you could have a living room, kitchen, back yard, or whatever you wanted. Way more fun to decorate!
You can interact with your friends, inviting them to visit your town, and as a group, up to four of you can visit the island getaway to play various minigames. This is a massive improvement over City Folk, where once the novelty of inviting friends into your town wore off, you realized there wasn’t a whole lot to do together. Here, you’ll go on “tours,” where you (and your friends, if you like) can catch bugs, navigate a hedge maze, dig up ores, and more.
Every iteration of Animal Crossing improves on the ones before it (well, aside from losing out on the virtual console NES games from the first one, now that Nintendo is selling them separately), and New Leaf looks to be the greatest one yet. The amount of customization in this one boggles my mind, and I’m really excited that you’ll actually have fun things to do with your friends when they come by for visits. Oh, and I made sure to personally confirm that you’ll be able to take photos at any time and in any place so I will be able to continue my illustrated diaries! I’ll be moving to a new town in June, so stay tuned!