Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (iOS) Review

By André Eriksson 24.03.2018

Review for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on iOS

Nintendo keeps pumping out its beloved franchises on the App Store, creating hit after hit, not only earning itself a boatload of money, but also introducing the many long running franchises to a new group of gamers. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp follows the same trend as previous games by being a very generous freemium experience that offers quality content without having to pay a penny to enjoy it. However, how well is the Animal Crossing feeling maintained in this title? After coverage of previous mobile releases, like Miitomo, Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and even the likes of Pokémon GO and Pokémon Shuffle Mobile, Cubed3 takes charge of the camp to find out!

Nintendo just keeps delivering high quality franchises to the App Store and has so far been kindly rewarded for that, and the next out is the beloved village simulator, Animal Crossing. It does sound like an instant success to have Animal Crossing available on iOS, as it is a franchise and game style that heavily benefits from the high portability and pick up and play nature of Smartphone gaming.

After starting things up and playing it for some hours (that quickly turns into days), it is very easy to chime in with that notion. The gameplay follows the clock and keeps giving players new content on a very regular basis and is extremely generous with giving out resources, never really forcing anyone to pay for anything. It all sounds magical and wonderful, and while it kind of is, there are some issues that keep it from reaching its highest potential.

Screenshot for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on iOS

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is to the avid Animal Crossing player in many ways a highly familiar experience and maintains most of the iconic activities of the main franchise, such as fishing, bug catching, helping out animals, and designing the home. It is even possible to make the animals come and live with the player if the friendliness becomes high enough. While it is a familiar experience, there are a lot of new things added to the mix, such as levelling progress, which will hopefully be a new addition to whatever mainline entry inevitably lands on Nintendo Switch.

While Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has added a lot of interesting things, though, it has also removed much of the magic that is a huge part of what makes Animal Crossing such an appealing series to many people. The best way to put it is that it is too predictable. Everything happens according to the clock, with little-to-no surprises. Everything happens like it should, no interesting random events or visitors, few interesting events that add fun small things to do; just keep running errands, fishing, catching bugs, and decorating the house and crafting furniture.

Screenshot for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on iOS

This is a huge problem as much of what is Animal Crossing are moments like meeting the famous ghost at two in the morning that rumours in the schoolyard/workplace were talking about, to find that random parcel flying through the city, and to find out many of the fun and interesting little Easter Eggs, such as obtaining the golden shovel or finding Mr. Resetti's secret hideout in Let's Go to the City. These are the things that have kept Animal Crossing one of those franchises close to people's heart; the sense of exploring and how the game actively plays with you rather than the other way around.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp lacks much of the playfulness of the main series, and does, therefore, grow stale after only a couple of weeks of playing. While it lasts, it is a wonderful freemium title. It is the complete opposite of many of those very predatory f2p titles and comes off more like a generous family member, but while family is familiar, it can grow stale sometimes, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp does just that. Too little happens to spice it up.

Screenshot for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on iOS

Sadly, this all just feels like a playground for the developers to bounce ideas off each other for the next Switch title, and this is fine to a degree, especially considering how generous the game is, but they could have still at least attempted to maintain the soul of the franchise to make it a more long-lasting experience in the true spirit of what came before. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and that hurts the game a lot in the long run and makes it really tough to keep on playing it as it quickly starts to feel like a boring routine with very little reward to it. It is cute, it is nice, but it is too predictable. It is Animal Crossing, but without the small little things that make the player feel the excitement and curiosity that drives them to keep on building their city and go about doing all of those things because they never know when a nicely wrapped present box might fly by.

Screenshot for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has a lot going for it and does a lot right. It has some elements that looks really promising and can take the whole franchise in exciting new directions in the future. However, a lot of the soul of the franchise has been removed by becoming too punctual and predictable. The player knows exactly everything that is going to happen at exactly every time of the day. The only thing there is to do really is to level the animals' friend levels by catching fish and bugs, which creates a really monotone experience. While the main franchise can also (from an outsider's perspective) seem repetitive, people keep on playing to experience those amazing and charming moments of surprise that it delivers, which is completely devoid here. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a nice experiment to try out ideas for the future game, but in itself it feels more like a novelty than an actual game in the long run.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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