Animal Crossing Mini Direct – Recap & Reactions

The Animal Crossing Mini Direct for 2nd November 2016 has aired, but even at 17 minutes long, the show was packed with a lot of exciting info on the new update for Animal Crossing New Leaf for Nintendo 3DS.

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The new update introduced additional amiibo content to the 2013 game, as well as some other features, here’s the full rundown of what’s coming…

The Direct opens with a Crossing Mayor sitting down to watch the Direct, and goes on to push some of Nintendo’s most Meme -baiting content to date. Series Producer, Hasashi Nagomi, presents the Direct dressed as Harvey, a new character who takes care of the new RV Campsite in which amiibo card characters can visit (VR … Haaarvey, geddit?).

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Immediately, ‘Harvey Nagomi’ informs us the new update is live “right now”! I began updating my game via my New Nintendo 3DS right away, and the download was complete the moment the Direct finished. Once downloaded, my New Leaf game is now titled New Leaf ‘Welcome amiibo’. Harvey Nagomi then went on to introduce K.K. Slider to ‘help’ with the rest of the announcements.

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Despite the distractions from both Harvey Nagomi and the creepily silent K.K., this Mini Direct was wall to wall with fresh content for Crossing Fans. First of all, we get a little tutorial on how to scan in amiibo with both old and new 3DS systems. Harvey Nagomi went on to explain that returning character, Wisp, will poses the bodies of absent Crossing Characters to make them appear in your home. Spooky. I though Halloween was over.

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All cards from Series 1 to 4 of the current Animal Crossing amiibo cards will work with the game, and allow you to invite characters from them to visit and live in your town, however, only the NEW set of ‘Welcome amiibo’ cards will come to stay in your RV Campsite.

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As an introduction to the Campsite, Harvey Nagomi lets us know that two RVs can stay at a time, one from an amiibo and the other will be a special Crossing character, such as Jingle or Jack the Pumpkin (whom normally only appear one day a year on Christmas or Halloween respectively).

Inside the RV homes you can hangout with the animal characters, and order whatever furniture they might have using Meow Coupons. These items are only available from the RV Ordering system, so unless you have the amiibo card, you probably can’t access this stuff. The new currency, Meow Coupons, is earned by fulfilling new ‘Town Initiatives’, which reward you with Coupons once completed.

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Town Initiatives are structured around your usual day to day activities, meaning you’re basically being rewarded just for playing. The Initiatives shown in the Direct included collecting and selling a certain amount of fruit or fish, or investing into your own savings. This is a good way to incentivise players to carry on doing the more mundane and repetitive aspects of New Leaf.

Once the Animal Crossing amiibo were finished being explained, Harvey Nagomi starts to show off some of the other new features coming to the game. The first is a Photo Booth tool, which lets you position Crossing characters and take photos of yourself with them. A few fun examples of this are offered, and it’ll no doubt be popular with some players. Scanning in amiibo lets you take photos with those characters too.

But what if you don’t have any amiibo, is it worth updating? The Direct covers this, with a major surprise announcement. ‘Desert Island Escape’, a mini game from the Wii U game, Amiibo Festival, is coming to New Leaf. Accessed via an in-game Wii U, this would appear to be an identical port of the mini, although it would seem amiibo are now optional to play it, rather than required. The introduction to the game is presented in a funny parody of the ‘Survivor’ TV Show ad campaigns.

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Desert Island Escape tasks you to find resources to escape a deserted island in 7 days (at this point I’m assuming this means 7 days in-game, and now 7 real world days, impressions on this another time).

“Can they build a raft, and escape?! Or will the island build them… a grave” … Intense.

This mini was previously the only part of Amiibo Festival I found tempting, but now it’s available in New Leaf, I see no reason anyone would want that game at all. Sucks for those who already invested in it… But what a great addition to the 3DS Version.

As well as the Meow Coupons and Mini Games, Players will also have access to a new Storage Area. This is basically a huge, unseen closet that can be accessed ‘from anywhere’. The Direct shows us this is much larger than any other storage menu, which is great for long term Players with a lot of items. However, speaking to Lottie at Nook’s Homes (a character brought over from Happy Home Designer), you can organise and decorate the area if you wish. This also beings over the control scheme from Happy Home Designer, which makes things a whole lot faster! Additionally, if you have Happy Home Designer Save-Data on your 3DS, you’ll be able to order ‘Giant Items’ from the game’s Catalogue. A nice bonus!

Moving on, the Island (not the Desert Island, by Tortimer Island) is getting a nice UI change that’ll allow you to mute unpleasant Players from chatting with you, and also allow you to leave the island more quickly should you want to.

Another option is now being added for Players who wish to start over entirely too. Now you can opt to ‘Re-Create’ your town, rather than simply destroy it. This means that any items or funds you have in-game will be evaluated and bought from you by Tom Nook with the new funds being taken straight into your new town. This is great for long term players who want to start fresh without losing some of their accomplishment. The Direct shows us these evaluations can run into the millions.

Moving on, there was yet another surprise announcement in the form of another mini game. Animal Crossing ‘Puzzle League’ is a new Tetris-style colour matching game, which pits you against former Mayor Tortimer. By winning the mini game, you prove yourself as Mayor. I very much doubt this is more than a fun frame work for the mini game, and has no real impact on your town, but I’m assuming winning the game will also reward you with some Bells or maybe Meow Coupons. Puzzle League is accessed via an in-game New Nintendo 3DS.

Taking things back to the amiibo theme, Harvey Nagomi introduced the features of using non-Animal Crossing amiibo in New Leaf. Firstly, the Hello Kitty amiibo card set is announced for the West and we’re shown both the Splatoon series and Zelda series features! Scanning in Callie or Marie will let you meet Cece or Viché respectively. And scanning any other Splatoon amiibo will let you invite Inkwell, an Octopus.

All Zelda amiibo will be scannable, including the Wold-Link & Minda figure. Medli, Ganon, Epona and W.Link (Wolf-Link) can all be invited to visit! I don’t know yet if any other these characters can be invited to live permanently, but we’ll see.

All of them bring a massive amount of new items from their game series to New Leaf!

Finally,Harvey Nagomi and K.K. sign off the Direct with the help of Sound Designer, Kazumi Totaka, who plays a lovely rendition of K.K. Bossa while a full list of the 50 returning Villagers of the new Welcome amiibo Card set scrolls over the screen. I’ve not had a chance to review them all (please Twirp, come home).

And that was it! At just under 18minutes, this Direct provided a lot more than I expected. My own predictions of House Placement or accessing new items without amiibos weren’t fulfilled, but I didn’t expect two new mini-games and such embellished features from non-Crossing amiibo.

I can’t wait to get stuck in and explore these features for myself! Stay tuned for a review of the update itself soon.

Graeme
@FossilArcade

 

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