Let the record show that I’ve played the original Animal Crossing for the Gamecube and Wild World for the DS. I skipped out on City Life because I heard it really wasn’t all that good of an expansion on the series. Animal Crossing: New Leaf, however, is everything the old games were and plenty more. If you are a fan of the Animal Crossing games and own or are interested in owning a 3DS, you absolutely must get New Leaf. It is amazing. But enough of this vague assertion of quality jibber-jabber.

The original Animal Crossing formula was pretty simple: Buy a house from Tom Nook, get indebted to him, and work your ass off trying to pay him back. You caught bugs, you fished fish, you sold fruit; anything to rake in the cash. When you stumbled across rares, you had to debate whether to donate them to the museum or to turn them into mountains of cash. The main thrill came from shopping for clothes and furniture, as that allowed you to decorate your character and home. Maybe you cared about picking weeds and planting flowers, maybe you didn’t.

New Leaf is much more macro, presenting more content than you can swing a net at. This time around, you become mayor of your small country village. That’s… a lot of responsibility. Now, not only do you need to please your citizens and keep your town beautiful, you also need to begin public works projects and expansions to improve living conditions. Er, aesthetic appeal. And functionality.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Speaking of expansion, there are two aspects in particular that I’d like to cover. These are personal favorites of mine. The first is the new clothing. At first it was just shirts, hats, and accessories, right? With boys and girls restricted to, shall we say, “gender appropriate garb” that can only have its pattern changed. Now, in addition to the old, you can change your pants, shoes, and socks, as well as purchase and wear dresses, skirts, tank tops, and long sleeved shirts. Zero restrictions. Want a guy in a dress? You got it! Tomboy in plaid shorts? You betcha! Progressive Able Sisters, eh? I love it.

Second up is the island resort. You get it on the seventh day of playing, I believe. It’s Kapp’n’s grand return! 1,000 Bells for a round trip, but that’s pocket change. The island is where you’ll discover the joy of free diving in a rented wet suit. Even better, practically all the deep sea creatures, fish, and bugs are rare. If you pick and choose, you can rake in upwards of 300,000 Bells by spending 1,000.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

The island also has its own shop containing unique items. They cost medals, though, which are won by playing mini-games alone or with friends, called “island tours.” Tortimer watches as you bust your ass doing silly things like catching lots of bugs or bopping a machine with a squeaky hammer. The available tours change every day, as do the available items, so visit regularly. You may even be able to buy your own wet suit. Deep sea diving in your town! Yay!

With all the money you’ll be bringing in will allow you to focus on more than your home loan. You can initiate public works projects by talking to your secretary dog, Isabelle. These range from new structures placed on the map to expansions on Main Street. Some are merely pretty, and some give you access to features like K.K. Slider concerts, new emotes, and silver tier tools. Be sure to build often, because it increases citizen satisfaction. The good news is, if you build something you regret, you can just demolish and replace it with a recently unlocked, superior structure.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Send lots of letters, speak to your townsfolk, enact ordinances for 20,000 Bells, check item rotations, and above all else enjoy being mayor, you sexy beast. I give this game ten outta ten for turning over a New Leaf and growing into something truly cute and amazing. HAH. I waited all review to make that pun. Heh, heheh, read the alt review and get playin’, you!

Jason Rodman of ApartmentTherapy is a big fan of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. He loves it! Casually addicting is a perfect phrase to hear when reading a video game review, and if it weren’t for the fact that I already own the game, I’d be convinced to buy it. Then again, I’m already a huge no-lifer when it comes to Animal Crossing games, so… Hopefully you come to feel that way too! About yourself, not about me. Here’s the link:  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/animal-crossing-new-leaf-review-game-lab-192205  

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