Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is a spin-off title of the award winning Animal Crossing series based on decorating houses of the animals in town, instead of players living in a fictional town and doing errands everyday for the townspeople. Fans looking for a successor title following Animal Crossing: New Leaf will not find it in Happy Home Designer as it’s a completely different game and may turn off some core fans of the series. Those who love the house designing aspects introduced in the Animal Crossing series, Happy Home Designer might be the title you are looking for, otherwise, it’s a pretty disappointing game.
Happy Home Designer starts off with you being appointed as an Interior Designer by Nook Homes. The moment you start the game, Nook will ask you some basic questions to get your character set up and as soon as that’s finished, you are an official Home Designer. The game revolves around with you designing homes and doing what other animal homeowners wants for their houses. Each houses that you design, you will get an objective where your client will have a vision as to what type of house design they have in mind. The more houses that you design, the more items that gets unlocked in your catalog of items. Also, if you somehow manage to check in everyday and do your daily job in designing houses, more items will be unlocked, even rare ones.
The item catalog that you use in designing houses starts from a small collection but it expands as you play through the game. Aside from unlocking more items by doing home designing jobs every day, you can unlock more features through the in-game handibook by using Play Coins – you can alter the home’s yard, overall layout, accompanying soundscape, windows, and much more. Thanks to the touch screen, putting furniture and doing interior designing gets easy as you can touch, drag, and rotate them through the use of the stylus.
As mentioned earlier, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer isn’t your typical Animal Crossing game as there are no fossils to collect, banks to put money into, and do daily chores from villagers as you are no citizens in the town. Its focus is in home-designing, so those who are looking for a gameplay similar to New Leaf will be disappointed. As a huge fan of the Animal Crossing series, it’s a bit of disappointment as doing home designing can be a bit tiring and I don’t see that much motivation in logging in every day unlike in New Leaf where something new always awaits. In other words, the game gets repetitive over time and I don’t see a reason playing this game for a long period of time. While that may seem the case, the home designing aspects aren’t that bad as with so many items that you can get, it gets fulfilling when you complete a client’s request as you can bring out your creative-self in this game.
One of the things that I miss in Happy Home Designer is the actual town that you can explore and a house that you can customize. Sure, you are a Home Designer in this game but it’s much better if I can have my own personal space. As for exploration, you are limited into one area and that’s in the Plaza. If you were to enter another house, it would be through a book. Sometimes it makes me wonder where are the houses of the animals I designed located? Boy, how I missed my town in New Leaf.
For those who have the New Nintendo 3DS or the NFC reader attached to their regular Nintendo 3DS, there’s an Amiibo Trading Card introduced in Happy Home Designer. The game comes with one trading card and by scanning it in your NFC reader, you can invite an animal to appear in town or someone’s house that you’re designing. If you are looking for more animals to visit, you can purchase a trading card pack for $5.99 that contains six random amiibo character cards. Fortunately, it’s not a requirement in Happy Home Designer and you can enjoy the game without it.
With many houses that you will decorate, you might wonder if there are any rewards for your hard work. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t give any sort of reward for your creativity. Spending hours designing other houses in Happy Home Designer, all you will get from home owners are praises and emoticons that you can use in-game. This really becomes the big downfall of the game as there is no motivation of some sort to keep on going. Those who are satisfied with the praises that you get, then you might find a reason to keep designing. Not to mention, there are no scores or some sort of judges that will tell you if your design is good enough. Regardless if you put too much effort or not in designing houses, you will get the same praises from animals, which is kinda pointless.
Online wise, there’s that Happy Home Network where you can upload the houses and town buildings that you have designed. In addition, you can visit other people’s houses and rate them. If you think you have done an excellent job in designing your house, feel free to upload it and let the world see it. Those who want real praises from real people, upload it in the Happy Home Network and get some real feedback.
As far as visuals goes, it looks similar to New Leaf. The animals that you know from previous entry returns like Nook. Since the game is limited to very few areas, players will not see much in the game. Instead, you will see a lot of designs and furniture that you can use in designing homes. As for your clients, they come in variety, though most looks somewhat the same.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer isn’t your typical Animal Crossing game where you can have your town and do daily chores. Instead, you are limited into just designing homes and it might turn off a lot of fans. For those who love designing houses and could care less about the rewards that you can get and the lack of “real” Animal Crossing gameplay, you might find Happy Home Designer somewhat enjoyable. The amount of items that you can use in designing houses are a lot and it’s quite satisfying to use as many items as you can in the dream house you are designing for a client.
[Editor’s Note: Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer was reviewed on the regular New Nintendo 3DS hardware. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer Review,