Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp: what to expect

We finally have our first look at Nintendo’s much-anticipated Animal Crossing smartphone game! We’re here to break down the information from the Animal Crossing Mobile Direct and provide context for exactly what you should expect from Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

When is it releasing?

All the information we have now is “late November,” which puts it almost nine months after the debut of Fire Emblem Heroes. There’s no indication that there will be any early launch for iOS or Android this time, so expect something close to a simultaneous release on both platforms. If you want a notification and feel that the overwhelming Internet earthquake that will let everyone know when it launches isn’t quite enough for you, you can sign up on the game’s new official site.

Is it a true, full Animal Crossing game?

Not quite, but the kinds of things you’re doing and the number of places you can explore are very comparable. Instead of a house, you live in what seems a lot like the campsite added in the Animal Crossing: New Leaf amiibo update. It’s a series of smaller, segmented areas and limited persistence that will bum you out if you’re all about building paths around your town, but there’s a lot there for a phone game. It also has the ability to visit friends and order their things, albeit in a more mobile-friendly asynchronous way that feels like New Leaf‘s StreetPass functionality.

What can you do in it?

Instead of a mayor, you’re a manager of a campground, but you have the same sorts of tasks and responsibilities. You can craft furniture! You can run errands for animals! You can fish! You can decorate a hou— okay, it’s not a house so much as a camper and an outdoor deck area, but it works a lot like a house with the stuff you can place and position. You can also visit miniature “pop-up” versions of the stores you’ve come to expect from other games in the series. (Check out a quick digest video here if you want to see it in action.) You cannot play Puzzle League, as far as we know, and there’s also no indication that you’ll be able to find NES games and set them up in a row and display them very proudly. We’re still waiting to feel that satisfaction once again.

How much will it cost?

Despite the runaway financial success of Fire Emblem Heroes (and, to a lesser extent for Nintendo’s bottom line, Pokemon Go), Nintendo has been insistent that it prefers the more traditional pay structure it used for Super Mario Run. That… may have slipped a bit, as there are “leaf tickets,” in-game currency you can earn slowly in-game or totally just buy with cold, hard cash. You can use them to substitute for rare crafting materials or to speed up construction and ordering of new objects. We’ll have to play to know if it’s truly insidious, but so far, it seems reasonably easy to have a fun time without paying.

Okay, but where’s Animal Crossing for Switch?

This announcement was solely focused on the mobile game. A Switch edition of Animal Crossing seems inevitable, but we have no more information on that. Yet. Nintendo may be looking to let this release rekindle enthusiasm for the series after the sub-par spinoffs that were Happy Home Designer and amiibo Festival. Plus, since it did what many thought it wouldn’t and released something that’s actually comparable to a main game, Nintendo probably doesn’t want to compete with itself quite yet.

We’ll take a closer look at Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp when it releases in November.

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