When I learned that Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer was coming out on 6/30 in Japan, I decided that it was finally time to put myself out of my misery. And by that, I mean I finally broke down and bought a Japanese New 3DS system. What do those two things have to do with each other? For those who don’t know, the latest AC game – which I will be calling “ACHHD” for short from now on – utilizes a new Amiibo card peripheral that can only be scanned using NFC technology. That means I could either wait for Play-Asia to ship me the game with the Amiibo NFC-scanning adapter peripheral, or I could buy a Japanese New 3DS (which I call “JP N3DS”) and finally enjoy some faceplates, along with downloading the game to my SD card. I tend to prefer the digital copies of games, and I have been DYING to get my hands on some faceplates. The decision was made, and the order was placed. I opted for the simplistic monochrome K.K. Slider (aka Totakeke) faceplates because I like the matching K.K. Slider theme for the Home Menu. And you know, cuz I have a K.K. Slider plush and he is one of my favorite characters in the game. Chances are that I will be getting more faceplates in the future, but this is a start!
So, after 12pm on 7/29 I was able to start playing the game, thanks to Japan being like 12 hours ahead of the east coast! I’m still waiting for the Amiibo cards to arrive, but they should be here early this week. That didn’t stop me from diving right in and starting the game! Keep in mind that I still don’t speak Japanese and I’m basically playing the game without having a clue what’s going on. But I’m getting by!
PLEASE BE ADVISED – MAJOR ACHHD SPOILERS FROM HERE ON!!
ACHHD has a totally different format than a regular AC game. You don’t play in “real time” and you don’t have to have an interview with Rover to determine the look of your character. Naturally, I designed my character to be an extension of Mayor Neko of my JP ACNL game. Now that Wasabi is well established, Mayor Neko decided it’s time for a sabbatical of sorts, to try her hand at interior design and get a fresh perspective. She was impressed with the facilities available at her new Happy Home office, complete with a changing room, a sewing machine (that she couldn’t use yet), a salon (also not yet unlocked at the start of the game) and a cute little New 3DS that opens up when you select it. Side bar: The fact that the game designers decided to put this particular New 3DS XL limited edition console in the game makes me feel even more certain that this special edition will be released globally. I mean, why would they put that in the game if it wasn’t going to be for sale in every region?? Fingers crossed that this LE makes it to the states!!
Once Mayor Neko was in her work uniform and ready to start work, she was first tasked with what I can only assume was a practice design. I say this because there was no client involved, it was just to learn how to move furniture and whatnot. For those who are curious, the game is mainly controlled by the stylus, as it allows for furniture to be moved around and rotated easily. You can also make tweaks the old fashioned way, by pushing and pulling using your character, but I find that it’s much faster and more convenient to use the stylus. I’m officially spoiled!! lol
Anyway, the practice theme was quite clearly the Lovely theme. I did the best that I could, and I couldn’t help but feel that I wasn’t provided with the full set. I’m sure the rest will unlock as I progress in the game. How did my design come out? I was super excited that they gave me a painting to use right away, so I made that the featured item of the room!
After that, I was able to work with my first customer! Goldie the adorable doggy was eager to have her new home set up. Now, this is when their requests get a little iffy for me. Obviously, I have no idea what the townies are requesting. Luckily, each design project has requirements such as a chair or a desk that you MUST include, and those tend to be of a certain theme. New townie customers will also unlock new furniture items, so I also check the “New” tab to get an idea of what the theme might be. So far I haven’t received any complaints so I guess I’m doing a pretty good job!
Goldie had what I can only assume is a bookworm type of theme. She required a giant bookcase and stacks of books be included in her house. I came up with a design that kind of caters more to an “older” character. What do you guys think? You can’t see it in the photo, but in her house I also included an egg fryer that sizzles the entire time. I think it adds a little something extra. :P
After every design project is finished, there’s a cute cut-scene where you can take photos and watch the townie enjoying their new digs. It’s super cute. Then you are whisked back to the office (you get a car in this game btw!) and have to “fill out paperwork” which is saving the game. You can only work on one design project per day. However, if you don’t want to save immediately, you can still wander around town and talk to townies before you go in and save and start the next day. What I ended up doing was going back upstairs to the break room and seeing if I could change my clothes, since I had noticed that some clothes had shown up in the New tab when I was working on Goldie’s house.
You can’t change your shirt, I guess that’s the uniform requirement of the job. But you can change your skirt/pants, shoes, socks, hat and accessories! Mayor Neko thought it might be funny to try a wacky outfit. Let’s see if the customers take her seriously.
OK Readers – I know I’m excited about this game and I could blog about it all day. But should I not write all the details of every single townie customer? Should I stick to highlights? Let me know, otherwise I’m just gonna write about everything!! :P
Just to sum it up, I think everyone who enjoys Animal Crossing would like this game. I don’t want to say it’s AC-Lite, but it does kinda have all of the home decor design fun without the stress of saving up money, collecting items and then ordering from the catalog. However, it doesn’t fully satisfy your AC needs if you enjoy other things like bug catching, fishing, holidays, etc. because it doesn’t work in real time. So Happy Home Designer is certainly not a REPLACEMENT for the regular Animal Crossing game, but its a fun re-imagining of the same idea. I hope everyone will pick it up when it is released in the west this fall! :)
More to come!!!