Animal Crossing games flood the mobile platform all the time. We see countless games that are littered with micro-transactions and unstimulating gameplay. Nintendo has decided to dip their toe into this market. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is the third game from Nintendo to hit mobile platforms. A little game that focuses on farming materials to give to characters from Animal Crossing or to craft items for your campsite. I wasn’t sold on the idea, because I have never been a fan of Animal Crossing. However, diving into Pocket Camp, I was quickly engrossed in the game.
What is Pocket Camp?
The goal of Pocket Camp is to have as many Animal Crossing characters as possible to visit your campsite. In order to do that, you must form a relationship with each character. This is done by giving them certain items that they ask for. You retrieve these items by shaking trees for fruit, fishing, and catching bugs in your net. Each time you give the correct number of items the character is requesting, your relationship with them ‘levels’ up; A little heart pops up and fills up. When the heart is full, your character also levels up. You eventually get characters to come to your campsite by crafting furniture they are interested in.
The premise of the game is so simple, and one would think it would get boring very easily. If you played it all the time, it probably would. The other half of Pocket Camp is waiting. You have to wait for characters to rotate in and out of the map, furniture to be built, and for new items to appear on the marketplace. Of course, this is where micro-transactions come in. You can spend ‘leaf tickets’ in order to make things go faster, but you will run out of tickets fast. If you are so inclined, you can spend real money to buy tickets. I have to commend Nintendo when it comes to micro-transactions: they don’t shove it in your face. You hardly see any advertising for micro-transactions, and it is a breath of fresh air.
The game is all about themes. You get to pick between a natural, cute, sporty, and cool theme when you start the game. Each of these themes has its own set of furniture, items, and characters that are interested in that particular style. You need to focus on getting characters that are interested in the theme you chose because when you upgrade your tent or amenities, your relationships with those characters will level up. It’s a basic system that rewards you when you focus on the theme you chose. This can be frustrating when the characters that are on the map aren’t within your theme. So, you either have to wait for the characters to rotate out or use your resources to make furniture and items that you aren’t interested in.
The Problems With Pocket Camp
The downfall of Animal Crossing is the waiting. When you level up, you do get new furniture you can craft, and new characters to meet. However, the more you level up, the slower it is for furniture to be created. Some take several hours to make. You also have to wait for characters to cycle. Every three hours, the characters outside of your ccampsite change. If you are trying to work on getting a certain character to your camp site, you have to do it within three hours. You can use calling cards to call the character you want, but these cost actual money. This is more of a ‘maintenance’ game than a simulator like The Sims or Stardew Valley.
Prepare yourself for cut scenes. Cut scenes you can’t skip. Every time you bring a new character to your camp you have to sit through a cut scene showing the character sitting on a bench or sleeping in a bed at your campsite. When gathering materials, you have to sit through small scenes where you have to quickly tap on the screen in order to capture bugs or catch fish. It can be tedious once you have done it 100 times.
Is Pocket Camp Worth It?
I thoroughly enjoy life simulation games, so this is right up my alley. What makes it even better is that it is a basic simulation game, so casual players can easily play it. I enjoy maintaining relationships with the Animal Crossing characters, and constantly changing how camp site looks. I wish I could buy the Pocket Camp outright, like with Super Mario Run. It is, at least, a game you can play without having to play with real money. However, you have to be patient. Even with those negatives, Pocket Camp is worth your time.