Tom Nook has had five long years to plot out his next cycle of debt for ‘Animal Crossing’ players, but on June 9th, 2013 he struck yet again in ‘Animal Crossing: New Leaf’ available for the Nintendo 3DS. Having more customization options available than its predecessors, ‘New Leaf’ offers a wide variety of changes for the player to make to not only their home, but to their entire town. Everything can be changed from town ordinances to the types of stones you want around your home. Aside from being able to customize your town, players will also have the opportunity to travel outside of their town and go to a tropical island resort where they can catch exotic bugs, swim in the ocean and play a bunch of mini-games.
Before arriving at the town, players have the option to choose the layout of their town, which is new for the ‘Animal Crossing’ series. Previously, players were assigned a random town and they had to learn to like the layout. This time they can choose the layout and even choose where they want their house to be located. Upon arrival the player is instantly greeted by the townsfolk and they insist that you are their mayor. Whether you like it or not, you are now the mayor of your town and you have to work to get the approval of your residents, change town ordinances and even act as the head fundraiser for community projects.
Once you have the respect of your animal neighbors you can really begin to enjoy the life in your new town. The first new building you’ll notice in your town in Re-Tail, a second-hand store where you can sell your unwanted items to your neighbors without having to do the dirty work yourself. Having a second-hand store is awesome, but the best part about Re-Tail is the amount of bells that they will give you for your items. Selling your items at Re-Tail will give you 20% more than if you were to sell at Nookingtons. Take that, Tom Nook! Another new feature (or best if you’re a shop-aholic/fashionista like Gracie) in ‘New Leaf’ is Main Street. Main Street is the home of all of the retail stores in ‘New Leaf’ with the exception of Re-Tail (which is in the main area of your town). Included in Re-Tail is Nookingtons, the store that used to be the only place for players to get their items before Re-Tail was formed, Kicks Shoe Store, Club LOL, Nook’s Homes (curse you, Tom Nook), the Museum and more. Main Street is truly a one-stop shop for all of your shopping needs.
Aside from all of the shopping endeavors, players can now take a vacation and visit a tropical island resort where they can sit back and enjoy the sun. Have you ever wanted to go swimming in the ocean in Animal Crossing? Well now you can. Just equip a wet suit and you’re ready to go. You can even walk on the beach or around your town barefoot to really get that summer feeling. While at the island you can also partake in several different mini-games and earn a different form of money, called medals, that can only be spent at the island.
The little and big changes that ‘Animal Crossing’ has made in ‘New Leaf’ is outstanding and will drive players to play even longer than before. With more activities to do both on the mainland and on the island, there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. The one thing that I wish they would have changed would be the option to time travel. Yes, you can time travel in ‘Animal Crossing’. How do you do it? You just have to change the date and time on your calendar and voila. If that feature had been removed it would force players to truly enjoy ‘Animal Crossing’ for what it is instead of allow for people to cheat and pay everything off quickly. Overall, I am very happy with this game and it was definitely worth the five year wait.