Animal Crossing is a very love/hate game for people. I’ve been playing since the Gamecube version. It’s, obviously, a “love” for me.
I call it “the Dark Souls of The Sims”. To understand AC’s philosophy, you have to understand why it was created. The creator had to move to Kyoto to work for Nintendo, leaving all of their friends and family behind. Animal Crossing was a game they created to deal with those feelings. That means many systems in Animal Crossing are very complicated and end with, “Even if you do everything right, you won’t get what you want.”
It’s a lot like a zen garden or bonsai tree. You are in command of how an island develops, and what residents live on it. But “control” is a funny word. You may plant some flowers and intend for them to produce more flowers. But sometimes, even if you satisfy all the conditions for flowers to grow, they just don’t. You might be really friendly to your favorite islander, then find out they’d really like to move away. You might spend ages being rude to your least favorite and find out they’ll never leave.
It’s quirky, the writing is amazing, and it occupies a lot of time. I think whether people like it or not comes down to if you want it to be:
“a video game”, where if you check all the boxes on a list you get a predictable outcome.
“a life simulator”, where sometimes even doing the right things creates a result you didn’t want.
Animal Crossing is a very bad video game, if you want that you should try The Sims. Animal Crossing is a very good life simulator. I don’t think The Sims is a bad game, but I found it kind of boring that once I learned how something worked I almost always got the expected result. It felt like it’d be more fun to write fanfiction than act it out via The Sims. Animal Crossing often surprises me, and just as often disappoints me. That balance feels good.
This is the only game I’ve offered to my wife that she plays with as much interest as I do. I bought her a Gamecube so she could play it, and it’s the only game she played on it. I bought her a DS so she could play it, and it’s the only game she played on it. So far, it’s the only game she played on 3DS and Switch also (but by then we were married so “I bought her a…” feels like the wrong expression of how it worked.)
I’m very stressed about world events right now, and very thankful I can retreat to my island to have some relief. That’s why I named my island “Respite”.
I can elaborate more, but I think that’s a good summary of my longer story.
I appreciate your taking the time to sate my curiosity
Ymirrae and I were both in middle school when we (independently—didn’t meet each other until college) got Animal Crossing on Gamecube. Both loved it. But neither of us ever felt like other iterations of the game ever managed to capture that same magic feeling of the first.
This game seems different. From what little I’ve looked into it, it seems like I’d enjoy it. And maybe enough to justify the expense in a way that Sword and Shield, after the heartbreak of the extended-tutorial that was the Alolan region, did not.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the original was the inability to stop some of my favorite animals from leaving. But like you said, that’s just life sometimes
But I’ve heard that you can recruit specific critters now? If true—and of I can rerecruit ones who leave, that would definitely be one in the YES, I AM BUYING THIS column.
The graphics also don’t look like I’d have trouble keeping track of my character the way past curvature-style stuff made difficult for my eyes (is the world 3D “flat”, or 3D “round” in this version, would be of interest to me).
Is it a game where she and I would play on the same island, or separate, to have the most fun? Honestly, if possible, we’d probably do both—have a shared island, and one for each of us, respectively
Purely single-player still, or is simultaneous-play co-op available?
I don’t know—I probably won’t be able to find a Switch for sale anywhere, anyway, but if all the nitty-gritty lines up for me, it’s a strong possibility I’ll try. It’s been too long since I’ve talked to Blathers and collected entire catalogues of digital furniture
One nice thing in this game is islanders will not move out unless you take specific actions. People who shift the clock ahead seem to have confirmed they don’t randomly move out, they will always initiate a conversation with you and let you choose to ask them to stay. The one exception is if your island is full, and you do something that forces a new islander to move in, a random one of your islanders will move out to make room. But again, you initiate that action, so it’s up to you.
Recruiting is a little more difficult if you weren’t all-in on the collectorfest that is amiibo. You can use amiibo cards to get any islander you want. If you don’t, there are a few ways you can groom your islanders.
One: there was a campsite in New Leaf that is back. Islanders randomly show up in the campsite and if you talk to them, you might convince them to move in. (These can kick one of your islanders off if you do!)
Two: If you have an empty house, visiting the “mystery islands” (it costs a bit of tough in-game currency to go) will always have an islander on them you can convince to move to your island. So if you hoard up your Nook Miles, you can try to get an islander you like.
Three: If you have an empty house and don’t do one of the options above, a random islander will move into the house.
It’s still that weird cylindrical shape, but I don’t think it’s as pronounced as it was on DS or Wii; those were also hurt by having a relatively low resolution.
This can be a sticking point. There is one save file per Switch console, so if you have only one Switch, you must share an island. There is local co-op play, but no split screen. So you both have to be on the same screen at once, it’s kind of awkward.
One person is the “Resident Representative”. All island progress is tied to that person. So if that person decides they don’t like the game and stop playing… you end up kind of stuck. But it is a little nicer to share an island than it used to be. Not all of the items in Nook’s store go away when you buy them, so you don’t have the “Whoever wakes up first gets the stuff” problem.
I got my wife another Switch so we could play together and it’s been really fun. We visit each others’ islands a lot, and we share a lot of resources. It’s nice to have another player I don’t have to coordinate with over the internet for some things! But like you said, I lucked out and ordered this Switch back in February. Finding one now is a lot harder.
I’m a big Assassin’s Creed fan. Now I’m playing Origins and, despite the drastic gameplay change, I’m loving it. Even if I’m one of those nostalgic players that wears Altaïr or Ezio’s outfit in all the games