Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer
Top Critic Average
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
Despite revamped controls and a cheerful aesthetic, Happy Home Designer still feels like a dead-end job.
Happy Home Designer fails to build on its foundation
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.
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.
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.