Review – Early Days of Animal Crossing

I know I’m very late to the party as this came out over a year ago now. However, for some reason the other day I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I decided that what I needed in life was a relaxing game like Animal Crossing. So I got it and it’s been five days now I think? As it’s not been that long I don’t feel equipped to do a full review but I wanted to talk about my initial impressions.

Firstly I both love and hate that there is a limit to how much you can progress in a day. I love it because it means I don’t have to feel bad if in future I don’t feel like playing much, but I hate it because this game is new and shiny and I want to play it. I tend to get a bit obsessed when things are new and so right now I’m chafing slightly as I want to do all the things. I know I’ll settle down in time. I have phases with games where sometimes I play a lot and other times I don’t play much at all. For instance World of Warcraft, I played a ton last summer but this year I’ve pretty much just logged in for raid nights and otherwise that’s it. I’m sure I’ll have the same famine or feast with Animal Crossing as I’m just terrible at being consistent. The Assassin’s Creed games, I love them and have not played once this year. I’m not very good with balancing my time but I digress.

In the game I have unlocked the museum and today I placed the area for the shop. I’m not too sure when I’ll get to being able to build all the things and customising the town and my house but I’m sure that’s coming. I’m working stuff out as I go, for instance today I discovered the storage part of my house which has helped with my inventory issues. Before even though I bought the extra inventory thing to have 10 more slots I was still struggling. I also like that today I found my axe was chopping down trees once I had the wood from them. I’m presuming the trees come back? I hope they do! I didn’t dig the stumps out or anything. But the trees being chopped made for a good visual indicator that I’d farmed them. On previous days I got very confused about what I’d done and what I hadn’t. I just wish this applied to rocks as well, especially because it’s the rocks I need to farm the most as the iron nuggets are very rare. I did finally get the 30 for the shop (as I said) but I had to get a nook ticket to do it.

Part of me wishes that the game had some more concrete instructions/quests because that’s what I’m used to and the free nature of this makes me worried I’m missing doing something. On the other hand, didn’t I get this game because it’s supposed to be relaxing? I actually think this might be helpful to me because I’m so used to approaching everything the same way, in a very goal-orientated/targeted manner. The whole “slow down” and just “chill and do what you can” methodology of this game will be a useful thing for me to take on board I think. I’m a very impatient person. I want things done, I don’t want to have to wait but this is a game that takes time to build. I can’t have a super snazzy island straight away. I need to work towards it slowly, unlocking stuff and gathering materials, and it’ll be more satisfying in the end.

I have a game called Portal Knights on Steam. I like it well enough but I got a bit frustrated as it’s a mix of building your own house/area and then also combat. I wanted to just do the house stuff and not get attacked by mobs while I was hunting for the mats. Now Portal Knights has a free build mode where you can just do the house stuff and you don’t have to gather the mats. It’s literally all there, completely unlimited, just do what you will and I have barely touched it. Now partly that’s because the customisation is really weak and there aren’t that many options, but also because it’s a bit boring just to be handed everything. So I know that it’ll be better in Animal Crossing to work towards getting everything myself but my impatience just wants it all now (clearly I’m a very contrary person).

Not everything in the game was easy to work out. I googled quite a few things when I was starting as while some of it is intuitive, other things are not. I feel like a pro with the tool ring now, swapping between nets and shovels and the vaulting pole. I don’t view having to look things up as a negative though but then I’m used to doing that with every game I’ve ever played pretty much. Sometimes I think I’m too quick to look things up and I rob myself of the satisfaction of solving the mystery myself. For instance the may day maze in Animal Crossing. I had one attempt myself and realised I’d screwed it up. I reset but that cost Nook miles and I didn’t want to waste anymore so I looked up the instructions and followed them. I liked playing the game but it wasn’t as fun just following the instructions, even if it was much more efficient.

Overall I am pleased I got the game. I did debate with myself a bit because I am quite obsessive about things and I knew I really didn’t need another distraction. In that the fact that there’s a limit to progression in Animal Crossing is another plus, as it means I have to stop playing after a while and do other things. I think that judging by how the last few days have gone, I can play for maybe an hour before I run out of reasonable things to do. Obviously I could play for less but an hour at the height of my obsession with the new shiny thing, that is pretty good. It hasn’t stopped me from writing my novel which I was worried about. As I said earlier I’m not very good about balancing my time so it often ends up being heavily skewed in one direction or another. I’m relieved Animal Crossing doesn’t appear like it’s going to be a problem for me in this.

I’ve never played any other Animal Crossing titles. It’s very Nintendo with the sweet anthropomorphic animals, as cute is kinda Nintendo’s brand. PlayStation and X-Box are gritty for teenagers and adults, and Nintendo is fluffy and suitable for kids (as well as adults that have had enough gritty thank you very much). I actually like that, that there’s something sweet in the world and I love that this game is popular. See world, games don’t have to be full of gore, sex or swearing to do well.

In conclusion, why didn’t I get this game last year when it came out? Then I wouldn’t have the vague feeling of being so far behind everyone. I don’t like that feeling of being at the start when everyone is so far ahead. I did the dream thing and visited an island which was cool, and it asked if I wanted to share mine but there isn’t anything to share at the moment. One day hopefully it will be awesome but that’ll probably be many months from now. Anyway, initial impression is positive and from these first few days I would definitely recommend it. It is exactly the relaxing game I hoped it would be, which was why I got it in the first place. I’m glad that I’ve been validated in that impression.

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