Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
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Game Reviewed: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
Reviewer: Jimi Bonogofsky-Gronseth
ESRB Rating: E
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“Help your anthropomorphic animal friends design their homes!” Sounds like a ridiculous pitch, right? Whenever I play an Animal Crossing game, I find myself asking, “How is this so much fun? How is this SO CUTE?” Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is no exception.
A spin-off from Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Happy Home Designer takes the home-designing mechanics from its predecessor and tasks you with furnishing the homes (and sometimes businesses) of the town. As a designer for Nook’s Homes, you talk to potential clients about what they have in mind and try to wow them with your amazing interior design skills. And don’t worry; even if you have no skills, the clients seem to have pretty low expectations. Some of my early designs still send a shudder through my spine.
Clients will have a variety of desires, from “black and white” to “robot-themed,” usually with a few provided pieces that are mandatory to include. You’ll have an ever-expanding catalogue of furniture, decor, wallpaper, and flooring to choose from. Just pick something and plop it into your space. Pay attention to your client’s reaction to whatever you choose; it could give you hints as to how happy they’ll be in the end. Items can be moved, rotated, even discarded if they don’t quite work out. Once you’re finished with a space, you submit it to the client (who usually ends up pretty happy if you simply give it the ol’ college try). You go back to Nook’s Homes, write a report for your boss, rinse and repeat. You can even visit your client and hang out with them in their newly-designed home. This doesn’t really accomplish anything, but… well, it’s cute and I can’t explain why I enjoy sitting in a home I designed with my animal friend and taking pictures of us drinking tea.
You’ll have a large variety of clients, and each challenge is new and unique (most are homes, but you will get occasional special challenges for schools, cafes, etc.). More clients can be accessed if you purchase Amiibo cards (these are only usable if you have a new 3DS with Amiibo-reading capabilities, or if you have the external Amiibo reader for the old 3DS). The card packs are random, so they are great for trading with friends.
What Parents Need to Know
No violent content.
No sexual content.
No spiritual content.
A Child’s Perspective: I wasn’t able to play this with a child, but content-wise it is appropriate for all ages. Younger children might not appreciate the gameplay, as it is very slow and methodical, though they might enjoy helping pick out what items are appropriate for the client’s theme (I’m currently working on a room that the client wants to be fruit-themed, so kids might have fun picking out all the furniture shaped like fruit).
The game is completely adorable. The only real criticism is its extremely limited focus. If you enjoyed arranging your home in AC: New Leaf, and wish you could do that for 5-10 hours, this game is for you! If that sounds like a complete bore, then I’d suggest you pass. There really is not much else to the game. Mechanics wrapped in adorable, fluffy charm.
Honestly, I can’t play it for too long, but I love it for days when I have a spare 20 minutes or so (I’m very slow at this… it’s tough work deciding just where to put that ottoman) and want to do something relaxing. It’s very low key and is great as a time filler.
Did I mention it is adorable?