posted on: Saturday December 9, 2017
by Ryan Cox ’18
The Animal Crossing series has been a mainstay of the Nintendo franchise since its inception in 2001 for the Nintendo 64. Since then, four iterations of the series have been developed and released for several of Nintendo’s hallmark home and handheld consoles. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is the first of the series to be released on mobile devices.
The series looks and feels almost like a standard Animal Crossing game. You create your character and are put into a village inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Unlike the main games where some of the animals are already members of your village, you arrive at an empty campsite. Your general goal is to visit other animals’ campsites and invite them to visit your own, done by performing certain favors for the animals.
You can buy furniture and upgrade your campsite by collecting materials such as wood and fabric and exchanging it for various furniture. This system gives Pocket Camp a much more tedious, farming-based feel, rather than the commercial aspect of the main games. To my knowledge, there is no sell-for-profit mechanic in Pocket Camp, unlike the main games where fish and other items can be sold for Bells (the in-game currency), which can in turn be used to purchase tools or furniture.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is, at best, a good introduction to the Animal Crossing series, and a good way to pass the time. It lacks the depth and freedom of the main games. The favors that the animals ask for turn the game more mission-based than open-world. Longtime fans of the series will especially notice this lack of depth, and may be left hoping for more.
Model Chrissy Teigen nailed this sentiment on Twitter, writing “pocket animal crossing might be okay for you [Animal Crossing] newbies but for us tom nook loyalists…it lacks the heart [of the real Animal Crossing]. The soul. It’s a sandwich without meat. A car with no tires.”
Every aspect of the game’s aesthetic—the graphics, the characters, the soundtrack and sound effects—feels like a real, authentic, Animal Crossing title. Because of the mobile nature of the game, however, Pocket Camp feels like a shell of the real thing. It misses the open-world, exploratory nature of the Animal Crossing series because it is so watered down.
For those looking to try out the Animal Crossing series: Pocket Camp is a great introduction into the franchise. It is certainly a great way to pass the time. Series purists, however, may be turned off by the superficial nature of the mobile version, as backed by Metacritic’s 76 percent rating. It is a good, entertaining installation of the series, but it is overshadowed by its console predecessors.