Arts & Life

“Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” — come for the nostalgia, stay for the fun

Video game lovers rejoiced last week when the cherished “Animal Crossing” developer  released its latest installment in the form of a mobile game.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” was unveiled on Nov. 21 with a new storyline where players manage their own campsite and work to make animal friends in town.

The goal of the game is to meet residents, run errands for them — usually in the form of gathering bugs, fruit or fish to gift — in order to raise your friendship level and extend your virtual social circle.

The game follows the same basic storyline of meeting various animal-people, completing tasks for them and raising your level. The in-game currency are the same bells and leaves as in previous games and you can still go fishing, catch bugs and organize your space.

It’s all very familiar — and that’s what makes it so fun.

Instead of feeling redundant and boring, playing the new game felt like a warm welcome back into your childhood.

It may not have the most exciting storyline — you build furniture to get people to visit your campsite — but its innocent, time-wasting fun and the beloved outdated graphics alone are enough to keep you entertained.

The game stays true to many of its old traits. Times and dates in the game are synced up to real-life time; it gets dark in the game when you play at night and Nintendo has already announced that players will receive special outfits and accessories with the coming holidays.

There are a few changes however, since it’s the first mobile installment of the series. To the dismay of many gamers, there is a microtransaction option to purchase additional leaves which help speed up the process of building furniture.

There is also the element of being able to add friends and visit their camps. While this was always possible through the Nintendo DS and Wii, the feature was hard to use and even more difficult to interact with friends once you did link up. The fact that this game is on a mobile device eliminates the main obstacle — you’re almost ensured that your friends will log on daily since it’s literally in the palm of their hand.

Once you meet up with a friend in the game the most you can do is visit their campsite, enter their camper and give them “kudos” (I’m not entirely sure what the point of those are yet). But seeing each other’s little avatars roaming around the crossing world is fun nonetheless.

Sure there are little annoyances — and I’m not talking about the underlying capitalistic messages the game is feeding us — like the fact that there is simply not enough space for the abundance of furniture available. One of the main goals of the game is to upgrade your tent, but you can’t even enter it. Your camper acts as your personal space, but it’s not the same as having your own room or house to decorate.

The central complaint though, is the entire plot and premise of the game. You meet up with characters and bring them treats with the hopes that they will accept your invitation to your campsite. Once you invite a character, they usually give you a list of demands they want fulfilled before they visit.

These requests are usually in the form of specific pieces of furniture, which take time and in-game money to craft.

The silver lining of the new game and one of my favorite elements — is the fact that the game is on a mobile device and will be updated and re-updated with new ideas and changes. We’re bound to see additions and improvements to the game that will address the current issues.

Call it wishful thinking, but the game can only improve from here.

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