Launching next month
It’s been more than a year since Nintendo announced Animal Crossing would be making its way to smartphones. In that time the company has been mum on details, leaving fans to wonder just what type of game it would be. The big challenge for Nintendo and its mobile ventures has been crafting something that is tailor-made for a smartphone, captures the essence of the series, is able to stand on its own, and gets people excited about the company’s next console offering. After seeing the game in action, I have very little doubt Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will do just that and more.
Embracing the tiny home lifestyle, Pocket Camp has shrunk our living space from a whole house to just a little camper. It’s where our created character will live as we take control of a campsite we’ll need to decorate to attract new visitors. Judging from the Nintendo Direct, crafting will be the prime objective of the game. Collect the right materials to craft a piece of furniture — which will require you to wait a set amount of time — and a character may stop by. It looks as though the campsite is very customizable with furniture, decorations and larger amenities to fill the empty space.
Though small, we’ll be able to make the camper all our own. We can decorate the interior, exterior, and even add a loft for extra room. That camper will travel with our characters when they visit other locations in the game like Breezy Hollow, Sunburst Island, and Market Place.
As you meet and greet visitors you’ll build a relationship level with them. The higher it goes, the more likely it is they’ll come to your site. This is achieved through crafting, chatting and completing requests.
Other Animal Crossing staples are here too. Time will pass by using a real-world clock, there will be seasonal events with limited-time items, and we can find familiar shops set up in Market Place to peruse. Loans also return, this time courtesy of OK Motors where you can expand and upgrade your camper. Players will be able to visit one another by sharing player IDs and other players may randomly show up in your game from time to time.
Though it wasn’t explicitly said in the Direct, the official site confirms Pocket Camp is a Free-to-Play app. Bells return as the in-game currency but there are also Leaf Tickets that can be purchased with real money or earned through playing. These can be used to speed up crafting time or purchase specific crafting materials. There will also be ads on the screen letting you know about limited time deals. Annoying, but not a deal breaker. A consistent internet connection is also required.
What I like best of what was shown is the character interaction with the items we’ll create. A pool isn’t just there for looks. Characters will chill out next to it or float on the water, soaking up those summer rays. That, along with the super helpful fishing net, are just some of the additions I’d love to see make their way into the next proper entry in the series.
It’s not Animal Crossing for Switch, which people won’t stop asking for until it finally happens, but Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp absolutely looks like something that will devour my attention on my commute to and from work. Its longevity will depend on just how long those crafting wait times will be and if there will be activities we can do while waiting for them to complete. I need to see how it controls before I make my final judgment, but getting a delicious slice of the Animal Crossing formula on my phone should be enough to hold me over until that Switch game becomes a reality. If it is anything like Fire Emblem Heroes, Pocket Camp will only improve in the weeks and months following its release.
Preregistration for the app has begun. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will launch for iOS and Android in late November, unless you live in Australia or New Zealand where it is apparently already available. It will require iOS 9 and newer, or Android 4.2 and newer.