Charming yet utterly aimless, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is a curious off-shoot that's best for those with a sweet tooth.
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.
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.
Utterly charming with a fantastic set of design tools, but it'll make you crave the freedom of more traditional Animal Crossing games.
It's a deep dive into Animal Crossing's ordinarily shallow home-design pool, without the town elements that make the series such a success
Happy Home Designer fails to build on its foundation
Despite revamped controls and a cheerful aesthetic, Happy Home Designer still feels like a dead-end job.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A more structured and restricting experience than New Leaf, Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer offers similarly addictive mechanics but much less freedom and control.
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.
A relaxing, repetitive toe-dip into the working world.
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.
Nintendo's new social simulator for 3DS teaches Post Arcade's junior reviewer a couple of things about herself
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is a brand new take on the series that manages to make moving furniture fun, but fails to innovate in a meaningful way.
Nintendo's domestic design sim is as cute as you'd expect, but although the lights are on, there's nobody home
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…