I realize Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer was released in September but here is my review on it! I finally was able to purchase it last week & I think my review is relevant. If it isn't, it's not like I'm reviewing Green Day's Dookie album today & yes that is how I justify giving you my thoughts after I've had three glasses of RumChata on this fine Sunday afternoon on a game I've played for the past seven days.
For those of you who haven't really played Animal Crossing....................why? It's a fun little game that is perfect for playing in between intense games. It's a game that really you can't "beat" so it's always there to expand and progress. I won't get too much into the original but I highly recommend it if you haven't given it a chance yet. It's not for everybody either, but don't throw it out the window without giving it a shot!
A lot of fans of Animal Crossing really dig the design aspect of it when it comes to building and furnishing your character's home. There are rare items that you can unlock as well and it's really just addicting in and of itself. Nintendo definitely listened to AC fans in this area and gave us a game that is literally just designing villager's homes.
What's neat about Happy Home Designer is that you can completely customize your character this time around! That includes hair style, eyes, skin tone, ect. I am beyond thrilled with this new feature because in the past games you can only really change your character's outfit and not customize what they look like - so it was super fun customizing my gal to look like me! They even had a light enough white skin tone that matched my vampire-esque glow!
There's a brand new character introduced in this game, Lottie. She guides you through each task and really aids you in any way you need throughout the game. She will be your BFF in a pretty small amount of time - or your worst enemy - depending on how you look at things in perspective.
You start out as a new employee to Nook. You may recognize him from previous games as the raccoon entrepreneur that usually puts you in debt for the entire game because of all the upgrades you want to implement to your cute crib. Nook, in Happy Home Designer, isn't too much of an eyesore anymore! He is your boss, yes, but you are not put in debt this time around. He sends you out to decorate villager's homes to your heart's content. The only real "catch" to please a client is to put the items they have provided into their room. If they bring a bed and couch with them - you have to put those in the room to make them a happy customer. If you decline putting the items they provide then you may not pass the evaluation afterwards. Other then that, you really can design the rooms however you are feeling it out. The items are all obtainable pretty quickly but unlock after each new client is introduced.
The touchpad on the 3DS is your inventory during gameplay. It gets organized by: wallpaper, furniture and carpeting and then subcategorized into various themes the villagers may ask for: cute, modern, minimal, lovely, ect.
Customizing the home is really the only thing to do in this game, so it does get really repetitive after a little bit. There's not a real challenge to the game if you compare it to previous ones. The tasks normally associated with Animal Crossing such as fishing, catching insects, fossil digging, growing flowers/plants, and collecting seashells are eliminated this time around. It is a little disheartening to not have a real challenge to overcome. But on that note, it is nice to have a game to play when you're not up to emit too much thought into something but don't want to go brain dead. You can play Happy Home Designer while doing homework, watching TV, making dinner, driving....okay not driving but you get what I mean. It's a game that you can integrate into multitasking fairly easily. For those gamers who like simple, easygoing, gentle games - this is for you! I would say after a week I kind of got over it but will probably have the urge to play again soon. The same can be said with me and The Sims. I have periods of time where I lose 7-10 days of my life to fully devoting every second to that damn game and then I won't want to play for a long span of time. Anybody else get that way with certain games?
A cool addition that Nintendo added as well is the integration of Amiibo cards. Each game comes with a random card and unlocks different things. You can collect all of the characters too because these cards are sold in packs that you can purchase separately. This gives the game a dandy little dynamic and if you are into collecting things, the Amiibo cards definitely add some points to the repetitiveness of the gameplay by mixing it up when you activate a new character. It's very reminiscent of collecting Pokémon cards but it's 2015 so now they interact with you and are cute just to look at with all of the sparkly glitter. Everything is better with glitter, right???
There isn't too much involved with the online community on this spin off. The most you can do to interact with other players is just showing off your designs which is super lame compared to other Nintendo games that offer an online community. That was one of the larger let downs with HHD because all of the other versions of Animal Crossing have heavily incorporated the online environment into the lovely magical world of the town.
All in all, I would say that Happy Home Designer isn't a let down but it's far from revolutionary. It's okay and is great for hardcore Animal Crossing fans to have in their library. If you have never partaken in the franchise, I will say that you should play the original or New Leaf version before playing this game - HHD may give you the wrong idea of the series if you don't know the backstory or have experience in what the earlier games offer to players.