Title: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
Developer: Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Category: Life simulator
Release Date: July 30, 2015
How I got the game: I bought it
I love the Animal Crossing series. If you know me and have been following this blog for a while, you’d know that. I can’t get enough of Animal Crossing. I was excited when Happy Home Designer was announced because building and decorating houses is my favorite part of playing The Sims. Now I could do it with my Animal Crossing friends… except it wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped.
The gameplay is simple enough. The touchscreen on the 3DS is a big portion of the controls. At least it was for me. I found it easier than pushing the buttons.
You get a client and go to their house to decorate the interior. Your character doesn’t have to move too much provided you utilize the touchscreen. The bottom screen has a grid showing off the size of the house. You go into your inventory and place items down and make sure it looks nice and pretty and goes along with what you’re client likes and wants. Eventually, you can choose where you want the house to go and decorate the exterior as well as the interior.
This isn’t a bad concept, but what bothered me was that you have a certain amount of items you can use. With each client, you gain new items. Those items are what your current client likes and wants. So when you decorate there’s no trying to “guess” what your client will enjoy. It’s all laid out for you. Plus, whenever you put something down your client will react positively, negatively, or indifferently. So you can tell by that as well.
Another thing was the search option. You could find items through their category (clothes, chairs, beds, etc.), you could type in the name, or you could just see all the items you need for that current client… Yeah, it lays it all out for you so there’s no thinking involved. It’s a casual game, yes, but that was a little too casual for me. I would have liked to have figured out myself what furniture to put down based on my client’s clues.
After you finish working for a client you write in your journal and the day ends. The next day you can find another client or Isabelle may show up and asks you to help with the town. There are many projects she has such as a school, hospital, office, stores, and more. Later she may ask you to add to them, like adding a second classroom to the school. It’s not much though and neither project was challenging or took a while.
Each project from Isabelle had a checklist of items you had to use. For example, when creating the concert hall the only item on the checklist was a microphone. So, that’s all I put down, despite the many new options I had for musical instruments and seating and the like. Isabella absolutely loved it and it was a hit. A single microphone in an empty room… all because I added the item from the checklist. In other words, it didn’t matter how well you decorated the room. If you used all the items on the checklist, it counted as a win and the clients were happy. Again, no challenge.
Isabelle didn’t come every day and even when she did you had the option to go out and find another client before helping her. I did Isabelle’s projects first to get them over with. However, when you finish all of that the credits roll and the game is “over.” At that point, I had only helped 10 clients. It was a short game.
You can continue playing and get new clients as well as redecorate old clients’ houses after the credits, but that was enough for me.
Like all Animal Crossing games, the graphics and music are great. I enjoy the 3D graphics and being able to turn the camera all the way around to get each and every angle of the characters, the homes, and any place you currently are. The design has a cutesie feel to it which is so calming and really brings out the casualness of the game.
The music is one of my favorite aspects of the game. It’s always soothing and allows you to just get immersed in the gameplay. While I felt as though the soundtrack for Happy Home Designer could have had a little more to it, I enjoyed it all the same.
The sound effects are as silly as ever between placing something down, turning it around, or not being able to turn it around. I enjoy interacting with the objects as well, especially the musical instruments. It’s something small and simple, but it really adds a lot.
There’s not much of a story to this one. You create a character and join Nook’s Homes as an employee. Then you go out, find clients, and help design their homes. Isabelle will show up a few times with some town projects such as building a school or hospital. Once you finish helping her own, the credits roll. That’s just about it.
There’s a lot more for me to do in the game. There are so many villagers who need help decorating their homes. I have a lot of more items and furniture to unlock. However, I don’t know if I’ll be picking up this game again. It was a nice casual game to play, but it was repetitive and got old quick.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer gets…
3 out of 5 lives.