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Important Importables Preview: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Sections: 3D, 3DS, Columns, Developers, Features, Game-Companies, Genres, Handhelds, Japanese Imports, Previews, Publishers, Sim

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Today we’re going to talk about an awesome game – Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It’s the 3DS incarnation of Nintendo’s beloved life sim starring one human (the player) in a land filled with anthropomorphic animals. Part of its magic is, even though each entry is really similar, enough is different to encourage fans to jump back into that world.

With Animal Crossing: New Leaf though, we’re seeing an Animal Crossing that really is different. A number of major changes have been made that make it worth looking into, even if previous Animal Crossing games have left you bored and wanting. So today in Important Importables, we’re going to go over everything we know about Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

What’s new in Animal Crossing: New Leaf?

The biggest change is Tortimer’s out, you’re in. For the first time, the player is the mayor of his or her town in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

So what does that mean? Well, it gives you more control over how your town looks and acts. You are the mayor after all, and that means responsibility. Right when you begin the game, you choose which town layout you’d like on the train. Then, when you arrive, you have a secretary to help you get to work. Your job is to make the town look welcoming and comfortable. You decide where things go and get to place things outside for the first time. You also can place bridges and statues where you want.

Most importantly, you finally have some measure over Tom Nook! Players can make laws, but be careful. If you make a law, you can only decide on it once. You can’t change your mind later. You can decide when his and the other stores in town are open, and what they can charge for items. Not to mention you get a mayoral megaphone for getting everyone’s attention.

Speaking of shops, there are a lot of them. Tons of people want to run businesses in your town. Tom Nook, for example, runs the real estate office now and Lisa and Kaizo have taken over as the Animal Crossing: New Leaf general store owners. Brewster, Kicks and K.K. Slider also return to run their own shops, while a new character named Lazy owns a garden store.

There are also plenty of new customization options. You can change your character’s shirts, pants/skirts, hats and shoes. Your furniture can get a personal touch as well, since you can choose the detail and color for pieces. Even houses can get a new look or paint job.

Oh, you’re probably worrying about Tortimer though. I’m sorry. Don’t worry, he’s still around. He’s retired and moved to an island nearby. You can even go visit him when you play multiplayer games with other Animal Crossing: New Leaf players. If you win at his games, he’ll even give you medals you can redeem for prizes.

Speaking of multiplayer, there are more ways than mini-games to interact with fellow Animal Crossing: New Leaf owners. f you exchange dream codes, you can see other people’s towns in the relaxation salon. There’s also a StreetPass function that lets people show off their houses to people they walk past. So aside from normal visiting when everyone is online at the same time, you can also see other people’s towns and homes offline.

Some minor changes have arrived too. You can swim for the first time. More furniture, clothing, face designs and items re available. Decorations can also be placed on the walls of your home. Most importantly, you can now have alpaca, deer and hamsters as neighbors! They’re quite cute.

But there are returning game elements too, right?

Definitely. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is still the Animal Crossing you know and love. You get a home to customize and decorate. You can collect fruit, fish, dig up fossils, tend gardens, catch bugs, socialize with your neighbors and participate in special events. All of the Animal Crossing fundamentals are there. Players will also be able to create their own clothing patterns again. Not to mention many of the familiar neighbors from Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing: Wild World and Animal Crossing: City Folk are back. Some events from previous games return as well, with Jingle coming to help celebrate Christmas as an example.

When can we see it? When?!

Well, if you have a Japanese 3DS you can have it right now. It came out November 8, 2012. Which is how I was able to write up this little hands-on preview. If you live in North America and Europe… you have to be patient. There is no definite release window. For North America, Nintendo’s only said it’ll be out in the first or second quarter of 2013. Europeans have a little more assurance, as they know it’ll be out in the second quarter of 2013.

COMING NEXT TIME: Important Importables talks about 2013 import games I’m excited about.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables talked about the 10 best games to come out of Japan in 2012.

Follow Jenni on Twitter for more import game updates and general fangirl enthusiasm!

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  • seth

    MAN I WANT THIS GAME SO BAD! C’mon Nintendo, Give us a USA release date?!

  • Jessica Parker

    In Europe the release date is June 14th ( 2 days after my birthday which is super convenient).

  • molly

    this game looks so cool