Nintendo's mobile release of its popular Animal Crossing series allows you to prepare a campground for you and your villager friends. Currently released in Australia only.
Pocket Camp has all the charm and flavor of an Animal Crossing game but on mobile. Fishing, gathering fruit, and catching bugs are almost directly from the console games. Fishing and bug catching are slightly simplified (you don’t have to tap to reel in your fish, and your net swings have a prompt when ready). Instead of a house, you have two living spaces to decorate; your camp, which is much larger than your typical Animal Crossing home, and your campervan that can be upgraded with additional space and an extra story.
Unlike Animal Crossing, your character has a level and gains experience. Villagers and furniture are unlocked at each level, along with extra inventory slots and items at certain levels. Experience is gained when you level up a villager’s relationship, which happens after completing requests for them(fish, bugs, or fruit).
Villagers can be invited to your camp after a certain relationship level is reached and acquiring five necessary pieces of furniture. You also receive rewards based on their relationship level, including a unique piece of furniture, the villager’s outfit, and a framed picture of them.
Building furniture costs materials and takes time, both new to the Animal Crossing series. Materials are gathered at a rate of about 1-3 per request, with bonuses every so often. Expensive furniture can take over 100 different materials and over 12 hours to build.
Pocket Camp has all of the features of a console game, with a few distinctions to make it free-to-play. People unfamiliar with the game may find it simple and shallow. If you have a fondness for the series, you’ll find a lot to love about it.
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp has two main currencies: Bells and Leaf Tickets.
Bells are the foundational currency in Animal Crossing. You use Bells to buy upgrades for your campsite and camper, but also to purchase furniture and clothing. Expanding your camp or camper costs a lot of Bells, but loans are available, which you can pay back at your leisure.
Leaf Tickets are the premium currency in Pocket Camp. Leaf Tickets allow you to finish a furniture/house timer early, replace missing materials when constructing, or buy specialty items and furniture. Crafting furniture costs a certain number of materials and bells. Materials are gained through completing villager requests, and at higher levels, they run out quickly. You can also use the tickets to catch a lot of bugs and fish at once. Fish and bug catch percentages are listed in-game. Tickets are also used to expand your inventory, which can fill up quickly. The most important thing to unlock is crafting spots. You start with one and can have up to three. They cost 80 Tickets each. At release, there are two event items in the game (two chairs that invite K.K. Slider or Tom Nook to your camp) that cost 250 Tickets each.
Tickets are available reasonably readily in the early game, but promotional items can be expensive. However, Tickets are otherwise used to circumvent material costs or wait times, which isn't necessary.
Nintendo nailed the Animal Crossing feel with their mobile game. Graphics are a perfect recreation of the console games, and the game runs at a high resolution. Performance is strong as well; this game should have no problem running on low-end phones.
Music is also ripped right from the series. The bugs, fish, and fruit are all familiar, and controlling the game is intuitive and appealing.
The level of polish in this game is incredible. Nintendo took great effort to make this game a true Animal Crossing experience.
The structure of an Animal Crossing game inherently rewards dedication. Villagers typically have three requests to do every three hours. After the three-hour timer is up, villagers gain new requests and change location (assuming you haven’t invited them to your camp).
Currently, there are two different daily login rewards, but both do not reward Leaf Tickets daily. There are three daily "goals" to complete for rewards as well.
A lack of premium currency as a login reward is disappointing. However, this game will keep you coming back for more regularly throughout the day.
First party Nintendo mobile titles have had strong support this year. Using Fire Emblem Heroes and Super Mario Run as a reference, both games have had strong support from Nintendo (the former much more than the latter).
Animal Crossing as a series started out in 2001 in Japan on the Nintendo 64, but on the Gamecube everywhere else. With sixteen years worth of furniture and villagers to add (there are currently about 300 pieces of furniture and 70 villagers), there is plenty to be expected.
Because the game is developed by Nintendo internal, this game is going to be around for a long while.
Console games will not have a smoother transition to mobile than Animal Crossing. The game fits the casual nature of mobile gaming seamlessly. Microtransactions have limited the amount of content in the game by a little bit. However, there are more than enough villagers and plenty of options to design your own space how you’d like.
Hardcore players may run up against paywalls fast, but players who pace themselves and enjoy the Animal Crossing lifestyle will be glad the game made the jump to mobile.