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Paige FTW: ‘Animal Crossing’ Comes Home On Mobile

I know I say this every time, but this time, this time for really real, I think Nintendo has hit a home run with its latest mobile incarnation of a hallowed franchise. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp succeeds where, ultimately, Fire Emblem Heroes and Super Mario Run did not, and it all comes down to the nature of the game … or, in this case, the not-game.

Animal Crossing has always been about the experience. Sure, you have debts to pay off (Pocket Camp is no exception to this), things to collect, and levels to gain, but you also have no sense of urgency. There is no punishment for negligence. You can go at your own pace. Sometimes that pace means that players will create lush, extravagant multi-story homes of interior decorating wizardry, and sometimes that means wandering around picking weeds.

Pocket Camp caters, as always, to all players. In a nod to the series’ new mobile platform (which, for the record, looks fantastic), Pocket Camp sets you up as a campgrounds manager, roaming around in an RV to shop, fish, hunt bugs, collect items and chat with your animal campers. There’s a leveling system implemented for the first time in series history — presumably to provide incentive to first-time players — but the mood never leaves its happy stasis of chill. 

There are, of course, microtransactions. Unlike the infuriating loot crates of Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing takes a more conventional route: players can purchase Leaf Tickets to gain speedier or exclusive access to certain items. Thus far, it has not impacted my play to avoid them.

The appeal of Pocket Camp is simply its bite-size nature. A moment of Animal Crossing can be an oasis in an otherwise stressful day. No pressure, no panic — just quiet time making your rounds until it’s time to reenter the real world.