So, the big Animal Crossing Direct just wrapped up...before anyone gets their hopes up about a New Leaf update for 3DS, or a brand new installment to drop on the Switch (which will consume the life of many fans), Nintendo stuck to their guns and ONLY spoke of their new mobile title.
They even had this swanky disclaimer in the moments before going live with the official presentation:
Yep, zero surprises or allusions to a future console release, just mobile information.
What is the Game Called?
So, let's start with the basics...what is the new game? It is called Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp...which while it is pretty basic, actually fits quite well in my opinion.
When Can I Play?
The game is slated for release in "Late November" and will drop on both Android and iOS devices.
You can even sign up for notice as to when exactly it will release:
There has been no mention as to if the game will be free-to-play, or cost $9.99 etc. I am personally inclined to think that it will be free as that allows Nintendo to tap the mobile market for causal players who could eventually convert into fans on the 3DS/Switch side of the equation.
Wait, it is Mobile...Are There Micro-Transactions? Do I hear Tom Nook Laughing?
There is also a very real chance that Tom Nook is reading this and anxiously waiting to take our hard earned cash. The game doesn't look to have a forced usage of real world currency, but in addition to the Bells we all know and love, they game utilizes Leaf Tickets.
Leaf Tickets can be earned by doing in-game tasks, but they can also be purchased with your hard earned, real world cash. Want a pool for your campsite? You can pay to have it sooner. Need x Wood and Y Fabric for that dreamy new couch...you could grind it out, or you can pay up to have instant gratification by way of Leaf Tickets.
So, uh...What Do You Do in Pocket Camp?
To put it as simply as possible, imagine a hybrid between New Leaf and Happy Home Designer. The latest New Leaf update brought in the campers and camp site. Pocket Camp plays that up and puts you in charge as the Campsite Manager. What you do and what you have on site will influence which anipals can and will stop by. I realize not everyone has played Happy Home Designer, but this concept is very similar in practice.
All the charm and customization you know and love from recent installments looks to be in place as well. You create your character, can change clothes, and much of the furniture looked familiar. You essentially look to have the task of gathering materials to build the furniture that attracts your favorite villagers. The auxiliary goal being to customize not only your campsite, but your personal camper.
Pimp My Camper
Something brand new to Pocket Camp is the OK Motors crew. This trio will trick out your camper, which you can basically see as the equivalent to your home in New Leaf. You can pick different designs, change colors, and of course...expand with a loft. The entire progression to this point seems so linear now...almost seems as if Nintendo had this on the agenda 4 years ago and we are just now able to connect the dots...very well played I must say!
Why Do I Need a Camper if I Manage a Campsite?
So your campsite looks to be where your former villager friends will stop by, but you've got to have wheels to get around, man! Your camper, in addition to being something you can stylize for yourself in your style (as opposed to doing up a campsite for say Curt, Whitney, and Bettina), will be used to hit up other destinations including: an island, a beach, a forest, and a river!
You know how Stardew Valley gives you a heart level with all the residents of Pelican Town? Well, previous Animal Crossing games you just kind of new you were "best buds" with other villagers based on how they speak to you, act around you, and what they gift you etc...their letters in the mail kind of helped too. Well, Pocket Camp has hit what is sure to be a homerun with players by adding Friendship Points. It works just like you think it would, and I can foresee it being very much at the heart of the addiction.
I Still Want to Know More!
Well, I could talk for hours, but all I know is what is in the special Animal Crossing Direct and on the official website, which I will link for you now:
I will say that a "Throw Net" and "Honey Pot" have been added. The Throw Net looks to bring up a lot of fish in one cast and the honey pot allows you to fill a hollow stump to easily catch bugs. Would have loved both in New Leaf!
My First Impression
I saw a lot of people voicing the same thing in comments and on Twitter..."This looks TOO GOOD to be a mobile game!" I am right there with them...in fact, I said it before I realized everyone else was thinking the same thing. This looks every bit as polished as New Leaf, or Happy Home Designer. The charm, the simplicity, the cuteness (or whatever intangible you would call it) is all there. It looks more like a well polished, staple release than a mere "mobile game."
I think most people in this audience are like myself and in addition to being mildly obsessive with Animal Crossing, we also all share a very common sentiment that mobile games just kind of suck. My experience is they are always overyhyped, fall short of expectations, are buggy, are way too grindy if you don't want to shell out cash a few pennies at a time that eventually amounts to 2-3 times what a $60 release copy would run, and that ultimately get abandoned. Pocket Camp looks like the complete opposite!
I have to say, my biggest complain is that this isn't on the Switch. I've said it since we knew what the Switch was..."Animal Crossing is going to be HUGE on the Switch!" I hope this is a short term filler for a proper follow up to New Leaf. Heck, I would even play this on the 3DS over a mobile phone if given the choice.
The bottom line remains...regardless of if this was intended for PC, Switch, 3DS, Wii U, or mobile...it looks REALLY GOOD! It also looks really fun.
I wouldn't say I'm cheap, but I am thrifty...I have ZERO plans to shell out for Leaf Tickets. I would much rather keep my $7 and wait for Cyrus to have 3 days to finish the pool...I mean, that is about 90 days quicker than real life anyway.
Pocket Camp should be a nice medium to pull in more casual fans to the Animal Crossing umbrella, and in my opinion, that camp has a better chance of being retained due to just how low-key of a demand the game has. You never feel pressure, you feel calm and relaxed when you play. If millions of people could get addicted to games where you pop bubbles, or wacky rip-offs of Tetris, I have no doubt those same people will get drawn in by the cute and unsuspecting aura that is the vortex of Animal Crossing.
amiibo and Animal Crossing amiibo Card Support
I was personally hoping to see a tie in with the Animal Crossing amiibo Cards. Who knows, maybe they will save that for a later announcement, or update. The latest iteration was extremely limited and actually focused on the campers!! It just makes too much sense to not pair the cards and amiibo with this release. I responded to Isabelle on Twitter with as much and the response was VERY emphatic that my sentiments were not alone, lol.
I wanted to take the time to write this out...I'll be voicing it pretty much verbatim into a video, but I still prefer old fashioned articles. The game looks fantastic, too good to be mobile and too good to not be on Switch. I guess I'll just hold out hope it is only a taste of what is to come with a hopeful Switch release of a follow up to New Leaf!
Let me know your thoughts and I'll hopefully catch you around my campsite and get kudos!