Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer leaves us wanting more

Happy Home Designer box art.

Happy Home Designer box art.

Lucas Cook, Online Editor

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     Happy Home Designer, the newest installment in the Animal Crossing series came out on Friday, September 25th. While some may argue the game was rushed, HHD is radically different from the previous games, so the game should be reviewed like it is: a spinoff.


     In past Animal Crossing games, it was very simple and almost the same for all of the games. You’re moving to an entirely different town, and you’re the only human surrounded by talking animals. Once you settle in, you get to do a variety of different things: become a museum curator, pay off your loan and expand your house, become friends with villagers, celebrate holidays, play games, and much more, Happy Home Designer is a completely different experience. Since the routine became a little old after a few games, Nintendo experimented to make each game more diverse than the others. In the past game, New Leaf, you became a mayor and got to build Publics Works Projects, visit friends wirelessly, designed towns and checked out others towns, on top of the old routine of celebrating with talking cats, frogs, and sheep.


     In Happy Home Designer, you can forget about that. The game starts you off by being able to customize your avatar’s looks, but it’s not by a personality test that the other games have done. You get to manually pick your skin tone, eye shape, hair, and colors, which makes this customization much more useful and organized. No more waiting until you build a hair salon and no more tanning to get your skin tone right. Although it’s much more convenient, it takes away the Animal Crossing experience.


     There is no open world to explore, which makes HHD so different. There isn’t much option to change the look of the small town your housing agency is in, except for the exterior of the houses, but you can decorate the interior and yards of over 300 villagers that you can visit.


     You work at Nook’s Houses, which in the past games is where you bought your house. The game has introduced a new character to work besides Nook, Lyle and Digby and her name is Lottie. Lottie is a pink otter that’s Lyle’s niece, and she’s the character that you spend the most time with, as she’s guides you through designing. Although she’s new, Lottie seems to fit right in with the others, giving a feeling as if she’s been there throughout every game.


     The game is disappointing in terms of making animal friends and designing your town, since there really is no town. A lot of what the villagers say are even more recycled than New Leaf, and you don’t interact with them a whole lot besides telling them you’re finished decorating their house. The game almost doesn’t feel like an Animal Crossing game without Sabel, Mabel, Kapp’n, Blathers, Tortimer and the others, but you can call them with Amiibo cards – if you manage to get them, since they come in mystery packs.


     Villagers will randomly come to your town with an idea of the aesthetic they want for their home. A rustic ranch, a black and white bastion or a robohouse, all depending on the character’s personality and looks. HHD has made it much easier to move furniture using the touch screen. It allows you to squeeze into tighter spaces you couldn’t of gone into before, and you can unlock new furniture, items and crafty tips with Nook’s guide.
Happy Home Designer could have been a wonderful game, but it gets repetitive after a while, since all you do is design, save, design, save. Happy Home Designer has taken out almost everything that made Animal Crossing the game it was, but it is still is a fun game to play if you like designing. The game is more of an unfinished spinoff than a real Animal Crossing game, and had much more opportunities to be a better game.

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