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If you ever felt intrigued by the Animal Crossing games, but found their open-ended nature to be more daunting than relaxing, then Happy Home Designer might just be the answer. It seems like this game was also made to satisfy Sims players, who did nothing more but customize and furnished various homes to no end.
Given Animal Crossing's sickeningly cutesy look and feel, it's tempting to play tricks on it, to fool its adorably simple-minded denizens into living in squalor and liking it. But the game is just too sincere to prank, the way that toys can't feel embarrassed of how they're played with.
Happy Home Designer is a different kind of Animal Crossing. From its pacing to its objectives, the game will delight fans with its new take on the series' longstanding gameplay. It's not the life-sim of years past, but Happy Home Designer's successful re-imagining of what makes Animal Crossing tick is a lovely departure that I sincerely hope Nintendo explores again in the future. Go and snag yourself a copy today!
Happy Home Designer is a fun way to pass the time. Certainly not a revolutionary game, and certainly not a perfect game, but it's an interesting take on the Animal Crossing series – having zoomed in so closely on just one aspect of the series is a breath of fresh air.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer feels like a minigame for fans of the series. It features some of the best characters, gives you the chance to play house with their possessions, and offers the opportunity to put your unique design flair all over the village. The selection of items grows as you complete the game, which makes it feel even deeper than the broad selection of villagers you can choose. And its control scheme is simple and perfect.
Happy Home Designer gets pretty much everything right when it comes to decorating, encouraging creativity, and exploring different styles. It's sometimes unsatisfying to work without a sense of progression, but taking away progression unlocks means there's no limits on the creativity you can express with Animal Crossing's huge range of options. There's no shortage of actual designing to do, and the series' charm prevents it from becoming just a series of soulless tasks. Plus, you won't have to worry about being in debt with a raccoon this time around.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer isn't going to dethrone Animal Crossing: New Leaf as the number one game in your 3DS' play log – not by a long shot. In taking away the scant few of the franchise's stressors, however, it becomes a profoundly therapeutic life simulator that respects and rewards every millilitre of creative juice you pour into it. It's a stop-gap on the road to Wii U/NX but a detour that won't soon be surpassed.
We want to play in ways beyond the gaming population's insular past, cavorting through catastrophes and destroying the present. Our future depends on the ability to create, and design, something new. It's fun to tear something down but there's a deeper joy in building something up. Besides, there's nothing more catastrophic than the wrong wallpaper.
A more structured and restricting experience than New Leaf, Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer offers similarly addictive mechanics but much less freedom and control.
Overall, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is a welcome spinoff that helps diversify the Animal Crossing brand and cements it as one of Nintendo's cornerstone franchises (if it wasn't already). The Big N has shown an increased willingness on putting fresh spins on older series and this is a case where it works naturally. It makes perfect sense for an interior design game to exist in this universe, not just because of its town-building mythos but also because of its folksy charm.
Just like its prequel, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is bursting with content to uncover. The sheer volume of items to unlock is staggering, allowing you to cook up all manner of homely homesteads and fabulous facilities. The same world that captivated millions of players in New Leaf returns, with familiar faces that do a lot to augment the appeal of the core interior design mechanics. However, the lack of any real challenge is a fatal flaw, and while it's possible to create a stunning variety of different rooms and buildings, the gameplay does become repetitive quite quickly. Fans of New Leaf - and the series in general - may well be prepared to forgive such sins, but for everyone else this is a likeable but largely forgettable title that will entice young, undemanding players but will be too dull and samey for everyone else - despite the unmistakable charm which permeates the entire package.
Happy Home Designer may not be your typical video game, but that's precisely what Nintendo was aiming for. It's not about challenge or winning or competition, but rather about playing interior designer to a host of creatures. While it's mostly very good at what it does, the specifics of what it does won't appeal to most gamers, or even most Animal Crossing fans. Taken on its own terms, however, the only area in which Happy Home Designer falls short of its rather relaxed mission statement is in its social and sharing features, which feel rather anemic.
There's a good level of content to be found here, between the constant flow of resident's requests and the expansion of the town plaza, which you can extend for as long as you like with remodels and redesigns which unlock later on. There's also plenty of variety to the different items, and with the ability to repaint and create your own designs you can make something truly unique. The simple and intuitive gameplay will especially appeal to younger gamers, as will the creativity, but the key disappointment is the limited scope. Happy Home Designer captures some of the Animal Crossing magic, but not enough to make it an essential entry in the series.
I would recommend Happy Home Designer for anyone who really enjoys designing and decorating virtual spaces. If finding the perfect furniture for your house in Animal Crossing was your favorite part of the series, then you'll surely get some enjoyment out of this game.
As a whole Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is pretty good. It is a solid package that uses everything that the 3DS has to offer and it's has loads of entertainment value for those that like to create…
A stripped down Animal Crossing with a premise so lightweight it can barely be said to exist at all, and yet there's still an undemanding charm to its no-octane thrills.
"The simple and intuitive gameplay will especially appeal to younger gamers, as will the creativity, but the key disappointment is the limited scope. Happy Home Designer captures some of the Animal Crossing magic, but not enough to make it an essential entry in the series.""Although there are a fun mix of characters and the writing is what you'd expect from an Animal Crossing game, Happy Home Designer requires entirely too much work and not enough satisfaction for even the most dedicated fans of the franchise. If you're starving for some of the series' classic gameplay, you won't find it here.""If the two concepts are ever combined my loved ones will probably never see me again as I turn myself into a shut in, but for now this is a fantastic way to tide yourself over until that glorious day comes.""However, the lack of any real challenge is a fatal flaw, and while it's possible to create a stunning variety of different rooms and buildings, the gameplay does become repetitive quite quickly.""There's no shortage of actual designing to do, and the series' charm prevents it from becoming just a series of soulless tasks. Plus, you won't have to worry about being in debt with a raccoon this time around.""It's strangely addicting, and designing homes for some of the more offbeat villagers like the mad scientists, wrestling fanatics, and criminal masterminds is really fun. I just wish they had built in some kind of grading rhetoric for how well your designs resonated with the clients."
On the whole, it's fair to say that most spin-offs are doomed to live in the shadow of their more popular source materials. Even so, Happy Home Designer did have the potential to stand on its own two legs - the sole ingredient needed to confirm that fact being the element of fun, which it sadly lacks. Everything is polished to a very typical high-gloss, Nintendo-brand sheen, but without any deep or meaningful gameplay system in place to bolster the charm, Happy Home Designer ends up feeling disappointingly shallow, with minimal longevity. Perhaps as an eShop game the effect would have been softened - at best, there are a few hours of enjoyment to be had, but the finished package lends little to the justification of a standalone release.
Ultimately, Happy Home Designer is an adorable and charming game that will delight fans interested in more lighthearted Animal Crossing fare. It might not have enough variety of content for the series' more hardcore fanbase, so if you're looking for another New Leaf this likely isn't the title for you. Folks who thoroughly enjoyed the design aspects of the last mainline game, however, should get more mileage out of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer misses the high mark set by the main series. Taking one aspect of the game and making it the focus helps improve the mechanics, but the end result is far less enjoyable as it removes many of the things that made AC so unique.
Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer looks and sounds like the game that fans were expecting; unfortunately it lacks the depth and addictiveness to keep you interested. Even with its cast of adorable characters and excellent soundtrack, the gameplay becomes stale really fast and you'll find yourself grasping at what little the game has to offer in order to find something to hold your attention.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer will appeal those love decorating homes and collecting Nintendo's new amiibo cards, but for the rest of us, it's a broken home.
It's an absolute feat that Nintendo was able to retain the trademark Animal Crossing charming feel without including many of the tropes that have been present since the series began back in 2001. That novelty, however, is fleeting, and after a few hours of play, you're left with a shallow feeling that your work has gotten you nowhere. Even when viewed through the lens of "just a spinoff," Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is disappointing.
It's also very nice to see a dead town turn into a thriving community before your very eyes; I just didn't expect to see it in about six hours. The most disheartening part of the game, though, are the NPCs who barely seem to exist in this world beyond saying "I like apples, please make me an apple house". While the charm of the series is fully represented here, the wit and deeper experiences of the franchise are not, and that leaves me feeling like the game overall is just a shallow title in a series that can do a lot more.
The happiness of Happy Home Designer is a sheen. Poke at the surface and the clients are all too delighted about whatever you design, wherever it's located, however you fill it, and no matter the effort you put into it. If you're content with looking at the game as a tool purely for self-expression or as way to reunite with Animal Crossing friends both new and old, then Happy Home Designer passes adequately. But if you're looking for any kind of challenge or doing anything other than designing spaces for everyone but yourself, you're better off popping in New Leaf instead, especially since both titles have the same asking price of $39.99. Ultimately, what's exciting about Happy Home Designer is waiting for the enhanced touch controls, yard building, and item catalog to be included in the next main entry of Animal Crossing. Otherwise, Happy Home Designer feels like a standalone expansion that's inexplicably missing the solid foundation that New Leaf should have provided.
Overall, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer proves to be a substantial disappointment for the franchise. Yes, the game does make large strides in the designing element of Animal Crossing, but it fails to create any sort of experience that is even remotely engaging or captivating. Sure, the series' charm, wit, and quirky dialogue is still all there; though, unfortunately at the end of the day (yes, many will probably finish off the game within a day), manyy players will be left scratching their heads wondering why they ever spent $40 on this cash-in Animal Crossing title.
My coworkers were little help. Lottie, who started every single day telling me to do my best, became my personal kitten poster. Hang in there! Another had set up an Amiibo phone, to call Amiibos, you see. What if you want to call anyone else? Too bad, he said. This is an Amiibo phone. I used the Amiibo phone once, using an included Amiibo card. The client, a pink otter named Pascal, told me to design him a house, and gave me no criteria. What little structure the game had somehow became even less so.
Although there are a fun mix of characters and the writing is what you'd expect from an "Animal Crossing" game, "Happy Home Designer" requires entirely too much work and not enough satisfaction for even the most dedicated fans of the franchise. If you're starving for some of the series' classic gameplay, you won't find it here.