Generally speaking, I dislike all phone app games. They’re addicting in the worst away because I feel bored while playing them but can’t stop. Which is not the point of games!
But a while ago, Nintendo released Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. So I downloaded it.
When I was a kid, I. Loved. Animal Crossing. I played all the editions. Even though it isn’t as addicting as it used to be when I was a kid, if they made a version for the Switch, I’d buy it. And I say despite thinking the the GameCube and DS versions were the best of the franchise! I just loved everything about Animal Crossing, from the quirky, unique animals, to all the cute little activities you could do to make money and spruce up your home (and later, town).
Also, for a game franchise where the only “goal” is to pay off your mortgage (and in later games, improve your town’s infrastructure), the writing is absolutely stellar. It’s the perfect mix of quirky, charming, and kid-friendly dialogue. Nothing is as whimsically weird as Animal Crossing.
So anyway. Once a mobile version of Animal Crossing was announced, I was psyched.
But, with mobile’s limited potential, of course Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp ended up being… yeah, kind of boring. For a franchise that had little in the way of plot to begin with, the mobile version feels exceedingly limited. It’s essentially boiled down to performing basic, repetitive “requests,” which give you resource rewards, which you then use to build new things and recruit new animals to your camp. Like completing requests, the dialogue is mind-numbingly repetitive. Interactions with your environment and your animal friends are almost nonexistent outside of completing requests.
Tl,dr; it’s still cute and whimsical, but it’s a half-complete skeleton of the Animal Crossing that was so easy to fall in love with back in 2002.
Where other Animal Crossing games succeeded--with extensive dialogue options, stronger relationship development between animals, charming out-of-the-blue moments that happened on a day-to-day basis, more capacity to design spaces, etc.--Pocket Camp is limited by being a mobile game. There just isn’t enough in the game.
And yet… I still play it.
I know! Why?! I guess I’m addicted to the little rewards you get from completing buildings, and the different special events that keep happening, but I think a part of me just misses the world of Animal Crossing and Pocket Camp is easy access.
I’m tempted to re-start my New Leaf game, as a long nostalgic search online serendipitously led me to the 2016 Amiibo update, which apparently is amazing? But I know I’ve got other things going on in my life that take precedence… so Pocket Camp it is. For now.