Animal Crossing Pocket Camp — 2Q2019 issue

Camp­ing with friends

My love affair with Ani­mal Cross­ing began in 2003, a year after the Game­Cube ver­sion was released in the U.S. It wasn’t enough to mere­ly start a life with a char­ac­ter — known as Rubes(kitty) — in my pro­ce­du­ral­ly gen­er­at­ed town known as Tokyo; I had to col­lect every­thing in my cat­a­logue, build my house into a man­sion and catch every insect and fish just for com­ple­tion sake. In the ensu­ing 16 years, I have played every iter­a­tion of Ani­mal Cross­ing avail­able. So, you can imag­ine my pal­pa­ble joy when a mobile ver­sion of Ani­mal Cross­ing was announced in 2016. Cue Ani­mal Cross­ing: Pock­et Camp in 2017, and I’m still going strong in my quest to build the per­fect camp.

Pock­et Camp is a spin­off of the main Ani­mal Cross­ing series but retains ele­ments of the series. Famil­iar tasks such as pay­ing off your debt for your liv­ing quar­ters, com­plet­ing requests for ani­mals that vis­it or improv­ing your finances through item sales are abun­dant in the Pock­et Camp land­scape. New to the series is the timed rota­tion of the ani­mals that are in one of four loca­tions scat­tered around the land­scape. Four ani­mals will be in these loca­tions with options to talk to you and request items; whether you choose to give them the spe­cif­ic items they request or just chat it up for expe­ri­ence points is up to you. Also new are the afore­men­tioned expe­ri­ence points. Each ani­mal has a meter that gauges their friend­ship lev­el with you. The high­er the lev­el, the more rewards they give in exchange for items they request. The rewards are also new, usu­al­ly in the form of Leaf Tick­ets and raw mate­ri­als that are used in craft­ing fur­ni­ture and clothes that can be used to dec­o­rate your camp site and RV.

Pock­et Camp, in its most sim­plis­tic form, is a dumb­ed down portable Ani­mal Cross­ing main game that requires inven­to­ry man­age­ment and micro trans­ac­tions. And it’s a sat­is­fy­ing way to get that quick Ani­mal Cross­ing fix. Much like the main series, it’s relax­ing and fun to pop in and check with the camp site to see what’s hap­pen­ing, pick up some gifts or get involved in fes­ti­vals and events at my own leisure. Time is still mea­sured real­is­ti­cal­ly, and insects and fish are still viable at cer­tain times, though the sea­son require­ment is not in use. Mon­ey is still prac­ti­cal­ly around every cor­ner, and it’s eas­i­er than ever to pay off the debt of upgrad­ing your hum­ble abode when rare bugs and fish are more plen­ti­ful this time around. It’s also quite nice to be able to buy items from oth­er play­ers world­wide in an item mar­ket­place with the Mar­ket Box­es option. The econ­o­my that has devel­oped still has some work to do, but the abil­i­ty to find rare insects, fruit, shells and fish for sale from oth­er friends and strangers is a great start.

For a long­time Ani­mal Cross­ing play­er, the fun in Pock­et Camp is imme­di­ate­ly there but not with­out some caveats. After a cer­tain point, the in-game cur­ren­cy of Bells ceas­es to be a prob­lem. While scarce in the ear­ly going, Bells aren’t an issue once the final upgrade for the RV is obtained and paid off. I now reg­u­lar­ly have about 1.8 mil­lion Bells on hand dai­ly and can’t spend it fast enough on things oth­er than craft­ing and a rare item inven­to­ry econ­o­my that has con­ve­nient­ly sprung up in my friends list. This is like the issue of Bells in the main series so while it’s not sur­pris­ing, it’s still an issue that needs to be reme­died with more things to do. And, the price of Leaf Tick­ets is a bit much. Their addi­tion is help­ful, but their pric­ing should be adjust­ed. Also, in-game cur­ren­cy should be allowed to be used to buy Leaf Tick­ets. That would give anoth­er rea­son to hoard mon­ey lat­er in the game.

While it might not be a main­line game, Ani­mal Cross­ing: Pock­et Camp is still a neat and wel­come addi­tion to the Ani­mal Cross­ing fran­chise. With its con­tin­ued updates and addi­tions, the Ani­mal Cross­ing pop­u­la­tion is still growing.