By: Natasha Tar
In November 2017, Nintendo released the free mobile game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and it was one of the motivators that got me through finals. I had been looking forward to it, since the other Animal Crossing games across consoles are usually entertaining. For those who’ve never played one before, you start most Animal Crossing games by arriving in a place that’s inhabited by talking animals. From there, depending on the game, you can alter the place by completing tasks for the animals, planting stuff, decorating your house, and creating monuments and amenities. They’re simple games to begin with, but Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp takes it a step too far.
A few plays in, I was somewhat disappointed. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is almost nothing like its predecessors. Sure, it has the same kind of bizarre charm you get from Wild World and all the characters you love from New Leaf, but much of the substance has been removed. In this game, you arrive at a campsite and are told you’re the manager. From there, you can customize the space and invite the aforementioned talking animals over once you unlock their favourite pieces of furniture. Everything is adorable, but everything is also simplistic. You basically complete the same tasks over and over to level up; it’s like any other addictive mobile game.
One thing that’s great about it, however, is that the developers are incredibly receptive to consumers and are trying to improve the game based on their feedback. It’s cool seeing how with every update, Pocket Camp grows into something more user-friendly and dynamic. Things as small as being able to put down more than one rug at your campsite have been updated based on feedback.
That said, nothing but an entire revamp can prevent this game from becoming monotonous. As I write this, I haven’t actually touched Pocket Camp for weeks. Just thinking about it makes me want to play one of the older Animal Crossing games, but not Pocket Camp itself. While I do like the new details and events that come with this mobile game, to me it just doesn’t have the options other Animal Crossing games had in the past and it becomes mindless quickly.
If you’re into collecting furniture and meeting anthropomorphic sheep in sweaters, this game will probably keep you entertained for a while. For newcomers to the Animal Crossing series, Pocket Camp will definitely have more of an ability to charm you. I’ve seen creative souls like you make your campsites into elaborate gothic weddings, knitwear shops, and lamp cults. As for the old fans, you might want to play just to see some of your favourite characters again and put your decorating skills to the test in this strange new world.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is available at the App Store and Google Play for free.