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Preview: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

When Nintendo first revealed its plans to go mobile, fans lost their minds. Were they losing their precious company to mass market? Now, a couple of years later, Nintendo has successfully launched some mobile games, including a Mario and Fire Emblem one and it’s pretty clear it’s a strategy that works. By introducing the big audience to the key elements of Nintendo games, more and more of those start to appreciate Nintendo more, they want to see and play more. Bringing Animal Crossing to the mobile market is without a doubt the perfect move, since this is the purest form of escapism found in a Nintendo franchise.

Animal Crossing

I still remember my first moments with Animal Crossing. The first time I came in touch with the franchise, was back in the GameCube days. Animal Crossing was a rather mysterious Nintendo game, a game that nobody thought would ever get a localization for the American/European market. This wasn’t a Super Mario or Legend of Zelda game, Animal Crossing takes things slowly and that’s the charm of the franchise. At the very beginning of the franchise, you moved to a village filled with other animals. Your task consisted out of paying off your loan by fishing, collecting rare bugs and by chatting with the other animals. Nobody ever suspected that this brilliant piece of escapism resulted in one of Nintendo’s major franchises, a franchise that will certainly have a bright future based on this new Pocket Camp for your mobile device (Android or iOS).

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Manage the camp

The object in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a little different than the main Animal Crossing games, which makes sense since this is a mobile version. Where you started as a random villager in the first games and eventually evolved to the major of your town on the Nintendo 3DS game, you’ll become head of your own campsite in Pocket Camp. It’s your job to attract other animals to your camp by creating furniture and by decorating your van. The more you create, the more animals will eventually join you. The game isn’t as big as other version but it got the core elements of the franchise in a more streamlined experience.

Since you’ll need to create a lot of new things, you’ll need two things to do so, Bells (money) and resources. Both are acquired by helping out the other animals around your main campsite. These animals will ask several things of you, give them a certain fruit or a specific fish to gain their rewards. The way you progress in this game really follows the right pacing. Never do you have the feeling of endless grinding and to be honest, the pacing might even be better than the main games.

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A lot to discover

The best part of this mobile version is perhaps the content you’re able to discover. Nintendo really didn’t cut out content but tried to create the best mobile Animal Crossing possible. Besides your main goal, you can still go fishing or hunt down those rare bugs. Want to discover something new? Why not take a visit to the campsite of one of your friends? It’s extremely easy to connect with your friends since a lot of social media networks are supported. The only thing you’ll need to take into consideration is the fact that you’ll need to be connected to the internet the entire time. Don’t worry, however, both Wi-Fi and mobile networks are strong enough to offer a smooth experience, without ever failing to impress. The game looks amazing and even looks slightly better than the last Nintendo 3DS version. This is Nintendo’s best-looking mobile game to date.

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Free-to-start

The game follows the free-to-start model but don’t let this hold you back to start your new adventure. Real money is used for the most expensive items in the game and even without it, you can get them if you play the game long enough. Never did I have the feeling that Nintendo forces me to buy in-game objects. I really like the way Nintendo handled this but I’m a bit concerned if this is the best model to use. I wouldn’t mind at all to pay a small price for a game as impressive as this, without having these microtransactions.

Early conclusion:

I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp for a while now and I must say I’m truly impressed. The game looks and plays amazing and is by far Nintendo’s best mobile effort to date. The company didn’t hold back on content and tried to bring the full Animal Crossing experience to mobile devices. Of course, the main game still offers tons of extra content but I’m sure this charming mobile version might pull in more gamers to the magical and relaxing world of Animal Crossing.

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.

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