After teasing the world more than a year ago with vague ideas of their mobile plans, Nintendo revealed this week that Animal Crossing, the popular cutesy life simulation game, is coming to iOS and Android this November.
I always get excited about a new Animal Crossing game, and this new free-to-play spin on the familiar Animal Crossing formula has a lot to get excited about.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is Nintendo’s fourth mobile game after Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and Fire Emblem Heroes, and it’s probably the most suitable game for the platform. Some could say that Animal Crossing, with its real-time clock and daily routines, invented a lot of the concepts that oh-so-many free-to-play mobile games use to this day.
Unlike your typical Animal Crossing game, in which you maintain a small forest town inhabited by bipedal animals, Pocket Camp has you play as a campsite manager that’s tasked with organizing a camping ground to attract animal villagers to your site.
The focus is on virtual camping and crafting as you gather materials to build equipment and amenities for your campsite. Completing requests for roaming animal campers, such as giving them their favorite fruit or catching certain fish or insects for them, will grant you Bells (the in-game currency) and crafting materials (such as cotton and wood) that you can then give to Cyrus, the alpaca carpenter, to build furniture for your campsite. By completing their requests and decorating the campsite to their liking, you can become closer to your animal friends and encourage them to visit your camp again.
You can also use the furniture from Cyrus to decorate your personal RV camper, which works similar to the interior design activities of mainline Animal Crossing games. You can upgrade customize your RV, as well.
Of course, as a free-to-play game, Nintendo wants to get your money somehow, so the familiar microtransaction model is at play here. Cyrus takes some time to build furniture, which can range from 1 minute for smaller items, to hours for some, or even days for larger projects. This is actually pretty standard fare for normal Animal Crossing games that often had you waiting for certain events to happen on certain days due to its real-time calendar. However, in Pocket Camp, you can use “Leaf Tickets” to eliminate the need to wait. Leaf Tickets can be earned through completing certain in-game tasks or, you guessed it, spending real money. Leaf Tickets can shorten the time needed to craft items and make it easier to gather building materials.
Interactions aren’t just limited to animal friends in Pocket Camp. You can also exchange your Player ID with your real-life friends to visit their campsites. Sometimes avatars of other camp managers also playing the game will visit you as well. You can use these opportunities to get ideas for your own designs, as well as exchange Bells and items with these other players. I look forward to everyone seeing me build the best, most advanced camping restroom facility fit for either human, bear, or penguin.
Like other Animal Crossing games, the game changes according to the time of day in real life. Certain events will happen at certain times of day, and new items will be available daily through the in-game marketplace, including new pieces of furniture and outfits for your character. There are also seasonal events with exclusive items, so you’ll want to keep playing the game year-round (at least, that’s what Nintendo wants you to do).
Animal Crossing has always been a very casual game to just relax with, and it’s nice that it’s finally coming to mobile devices. However, with the introduction of real-world money transactions and the addictive nature of such games, this may ironically be the most “hardcore” Animal Crossing game yet. Accumulating a debt to Tom Nook, the greedy raccoon realtor, may seep into reality with this game, so be careful!
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will be released in late November (or available right now if you happen to live in Australia). The game requires iOS9 or later and Android 4.2 or later. Older phones are not supported, including the iPhone 4S/5/5C, iPad 2nd/3rd/4th Generation/Mini, 5th generation iPod Touch, and older Android models.