Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is an upcoming smartphone game from Nintendo that marks the series' first outing on mobile. It's the first full title in the series since New Leaf came out on Nintendo 3DS in 2012, so it has a lot of expectations from fans to live up to.
Instead of moving to a new town to start your adventure, you're taking over a campground. You'll meet a lot of familiar faces, like Isabelle, who guides you through the initial tutorial.
The gameplay in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp remains much the same as it was in New Leaf. You'll spend your time meeting new friends, and accomplishing tasks to increase your relationships. The tasks I've performed so far exclusively centered around gathering items, but the final release version may have more varied quests to go on.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Preview: Building a Life
In this game, your progress is more measured, with every action having a corresponding meter that lets you know exactly where you stand. Once you build a relationship with a new pal, you'll get items at certain milestones, and you can invite them over to your campsite.
Your camp and the items in it fall under one of four categories that affect how NPC characters will react to them. Out of the choices of Cute, Cool, Natural, and Sporty, I choose Cool. Since Apollo is inclined to like Cool-style things, he enjoyed my camp and the couch that I was able to craft in the tutorial.
If you're intrigued now, you might want to take a seat. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is very much a free to play game. There are timers for trees to regrow fruit, timers when furniture is being built, and items that can only be obtained via premium currency called Leaf Tickets.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Preview: A Mobile Game is a Mobile Game
Pocket Camp has soft-launched in Australia but is still missing some components. For example, you can't change or craft clothing yet, and the selection of items is very limited. Unfortunately, this means there's not much of a chance to see how timers affect the game right now.
I wasn't bugged too much by the timers I encountered, but I am afraid they'll turn into a wait-or-pay situation seeing as they can be skipped with Leaf Tickets. In a way, this fits with the idea Animal Crossing is designed to be played in short bursts over an extended period of time. At this point, though, any free-to-download game on mobile makes me weary.
We haven't got pricing on the Leaf Tickets in USD yet, or even a firm release date for territories outside of Australia. This could be the kind of adorable, charming game that shows mobile gaming doesn't have to be a greedfest, but after Nintendo's disappointment with the way Super Mario Run performed, I'm not so sure the Big N won't go the same route the rest of the industry has.