From Pocket Camp to Animal Crossing New Horizons back to Pocket Camp

Animal Crossing is one of my favorite Nintendo game series. When I was a preteen, one of the kids I babysat introduced me to the game. He had a GameCube and I was saving to buy my own. At that point, I saw a few trailers for the game. The marketing scheme at that time was “Real World.”

Basically,  people dressed in costumes on a set modeled after the game. Although I was not Real World’s target audience, I understood the intent. However, the commercial did not make me buy it. It was getting the opportunity to play it on someone else’s console.

Animal Crossing Backstory

The player starts of on a train getting ready to start their new life. Upon arrival, the player gets there own place without securing employment. To get out of debt, the player takes on odd jobs and sells items to Tom Nook. The game is designed for daily play, because game play is real time to include holidays. Certain establishments have hours of operation. Otherwise there is something to do at all hours of the day. In my opinion, the point of the game is to unlock/pay off all the home upgrades. The first player to do it, gets a life-sized Gold Trophy near the train station.

Homeloan Trophy Photo via Animal Crossing Wiki

Although it was not a multi-player game, four players were able to reside in the village and save their data on a memory card. So, I was able to make a character on his game. However, I didn’t get very far. I didn’t babysit him that often, but it made me want to buy the game. Eventually, I made enough money babysitting to buy a GameCube.

I am not the type of consumer that buys a new console right away. Sometimes, they are gifted to me. If I can get a game on my current console, I am not going to buy the latest and greatest game system. For example, Animal Crossing New Leaf was available on Nintendo 3DS. So, I did not buy a WiiU, which is one of a few Nintendo game systems that I passed on.

New Horizons and Pocket Camp

Fast forward to the present, the series has come a long way. Animal Crossing New Horizons is the latest game for Nintendo Switch, but it is not alone. Nintendo developed a free game, with in-app purchases, called Pocket Camp. In my opinion, this was a smart move. Pocket Camp is a legitimate Nintendo game. It is a no cost way for new consumers to check out the franchise. Nintendo Account holders are able to link their accounts to the app.

Last year, I downloaded Pocket Camp, because I did not have a Nintendo Switch. For a free app, the character and island design were spot on. I liked the convenience factor of tapping on my screen and interacting with other players I stopped playing the game, because the updates weren’t compatible with my phone.  Eventually, I bought a new phone. When I downloaded Pocket Camp, it asked me to login with my Nitendo Account. I had the option to use my previous game data or start from the beginning. At the time, my islander was at level 121. So, I decided to pick up where I left off. This was the beginning of the end for New Horizens.

Like other Animal Crossing games before it, New Horizens players must build there wealth from the ground up and develop their community. However, the Do-It-Yourself aspect is new. The player is able to craft tools and furniture with specific materials. Some of those items can be customized as well. The player has a smart phone with helpful apps, which I find amusing. Instead of developing a town, the player is trying to create a 5-star island. Compared to other games, I was suprised by the lack of upgrades the player can work towards. After I reached 5-stars, it felt like where do I go from here? Back to Pocket Camp.

Reasons I like Pocket Camp more than New Horizons

1. Community

In my opinion, it is easier to interact with other players on the application than the game console. I don’t have to go to airport and hope that someone is playing New Horizens at the same time. Pocket Camp has  four primary islands for fishing, catching bugs, and picking fruit. One animal and one player are present at each island. They swap out every three hours.

Players can buy goods from other players, check out their RV and send friends request. If the request is accepted, the player can ask friends for help, visit their island,  and help the friend as well. They do not have to be online at the same time. A new player doesn’t have to go out of there way to find friends. Direct player interaction is limited, but I don’t mind.

2. Goals and Seasonal Events

I like Pocket Camps goals, because there is a variety of rewards for compelting them. Players get coins, DIY materials, furniture, clothing and more. New Horizens has daily goals, but the reward is Nook Miles. They can be redeemed at a kiosk, but the selection is limited. I will admit, the seasonal event tasks are repetitive. The appearance of the objectives are different, but the same mechanics are used to achieve the goals. The task might be planting/picking flowers, fishing, collecting items or helping other players. If you complete the objectives, your avatar celebrates with the event coordinator and other islanders.

3. Access to New Animals

There are a variety of ways to befriend new animals on Pocket Camp. As mentioned earlier, new aninals arrrive on the four primary islands every three hours. Meeting and compeleting request will add them to the players contact list. Don’t feel like being on the game all day? Players can ship items with Guilliver to one of three islands. After a certain amount of time, players can select a package and find out what’s inside. If they get a character map, Players go to Blather’s Treasure Trek to access the map. Similar to a board game, the player must roll the dice to get to the animal at the end of the path. They’ll have to use DIY materials to unlock the animals.

To my knowledge, New Horizens has three ways of getting new animals. One, the player can visit specific islands with Nook Ticket. If there are vacant homes on the island, the player can invite them to live at their island.  Two, the player can build a campsite and wait for someone to visit the campsite. Three, buy Animal Crossing Amiibo cards. These methods are slower. You can only house nine animals at a time. It is difficult to get them to leave on their own.  Pocket Camp has an occupancy limit, but it’s  very easy to remove/invite animals.

4. Incentive to Interact with Animals

Animals at the four main islands will request fish, fruit, bugs, and sea shells. If the player fulfills those requests they get bells,  DIY materials, and bonus items. Animals at the campsite will randomly give players bells, DIY materials, and seasonal event items. These interactions level up animals. Each had special furniture that cannot be unlocked without leveling up. Players can accelerate this process with treats.

New Horizens relationships require daily attention to keep them strong. In my opinion, there are less errands to run for New Horizen animals than previous games. It takes longer to build trust. I’ll admit, they do send random packages to my mailbox. So, it’s nice to get presents. Unlike Pocket Camp, birthdays are celebrated.

Overall, I get more out of keeping up with my campsite than my 5-star island. Like New Horizons, Pocket Camp takes place in real-time, but there are no hours of operation. So, I can check on my campsite and the other islands anytime of the day. As a result, I am more active on Pocket Camp than New Horizens. I accomplished most of New Horizens objectives. I’m not in a hurry to pay off my 1,000,000 bells debt for adding a second story to my house. For now, I periodically login to clear weeds and check on my islands rating.

Want to play? See links below:

See link to Google Play Store.

See link to Apple Store.

Purchase Animal Crossing New Horizens.

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