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Pocket Camp brings Animal Crossing to the palm of your hands

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Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp allows players to get a taste of the Animal Crossing franchise without breaking the bank; unless, of course, players decide to purchase the in-game Leaf Tickets.

In the game, you play as the owner of a new campground, building and placing furniture in your camp and harvesting fruit or catching fish and bugs to please and befriend the different animal characters. This process is slightly different from the, “you’re the new mayor!” approach of the more traditional titles in the franchise.

The game offers much in the way of character and vehicle customizations, allowing players to change their appearance whenever they see fit and choose different designs and colors for their camper. This was a nice change from the console titles, such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf, where players have to go to the in-game salon, Shampoodle, and pay 3,000 Bells (the main in-game currency) just to change their hair color and style.

However, the difficulty curve in the game is intense, as furniture that once took less than a minute to build with minimal supplies eventually takes several hours and most of your supplies to finish. Completing tasks is the main component of the game, but after a while, it becomes tedious and repetitive. The game goes from being a quaint little camping game to a struggle for building materials and goods to appease and befriend the villagers.

My only other experience with the Animal Crossing franchise is with New Leaf, the game for Nintendo’s 3DS that was released in 2012. Compared to New Leaf, Pocket Camp is more cold and impersonal. While the idea of getting fruits, bugs, and fish for villagers stays consistent in both, New Leaf had additional quests from villagers. Some of these included delivering items from one to another, burying and eventually digging up time capsules, and meeting up with a villager either at their home or yours. With Pocket Camp, villagers will only offer a few general comments before the player runs out of chances to talk to them. After, the player can only offer to give them the items they request, or ask them what it was they wanted.

Pocket Camp also lacks a messaging system, despite the game’s encouragement to make friends with other players. While it’s easy to give players kudos on their campsites, you can’t send them a message or leave them a comment to say what you liked, or even to become better friends with them. This is just another example of the application’s impersonal qualities.

But the game has its charming qualities as well.

For example, fishing was one of my favorite things to do in New Leaf, and I am glad that this mechanic was included on Pocket Camp. I have always found it relaxing to just sit and fish for a while, and now I’m able to do all this from my phone. Plus, in the traditional console titles, you’re only really exposed to a set amount of villagers. Pocket Camp allows you to meet and befriend a much greater number of villagers.

Overall, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a good way to introduce people to the franchise, as well as to entertain loyal fans as they await the release of a new title. The game includes much of the charm found in the console titles, but ultimately falls short of what previous titles had to offer.

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