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Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer Is Fresh But Confusing

by Justin Berube - July 17, 2015, 7:45 pm EDT
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I spent a few minutes playing the first Animal Crossing spin-off and tried to piece it together.

I got the chance recently to play a little demo of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer at a Nintendo press event.

Walking into the demo, I really didn’t know all that much about Happy Home Designer. I know it is a game that takes place in the Animal Crossing universe and this time it isn’t about the player living in town. Instead, the objective is about making the residents happy by designing their homes.

To start the demo off, it seemed like a new villager just moved to the town and I had to pick a nice plot of land for them to live on. Of course, it helps to listen to the new guy in town because there are places they’d prefer to live. I picked a nice plot of land that was near the beach and this villager loved it.

From there, I was able to design the outside of the villager’s home with trees, change the type of fence surrounding their home, and more. This particular resident seemed to enjoy the color blue, so upon entering their house I was happy to see that they brought a bunch of blue furniture already. From there, I could open up my own menu and add various furniture items that Animal Crossing fans will be familiar with. However, not everything was unlocked and there were plenty of blank spaces.

The best thing about Happy Home Designer I found is that the way players can design both in interior and the exterior of homes is much more intuitive than in previous Animal Crossing games. Players can just drag and drop the furniture around on the touch screen, as well as rotate it in any way they want to. Yes, it seems like you can still walk over and drag stuff the old fashioned way, but it’s a waste of time by comparison.

After adding some new items to the house I asked the resident if they liked their new home. Luckily, they loved it. That was the end of my hands on time with this short demo.

I walked away from Happy Home Designer not fully understanding what to expect in the final product. I asked the Nintendo representative if there was a definitive ending to this game and they, sadly, didn’t know. So what is the end goal here? What am I, as a player, working towards in this game if I’m not living in the world like in previous installments?

While I don’t have the answers to these questions, I am intrigued. I’m glad Nintendo is trying something new with the series because at this point in time I don’t think I want another traditional Animal Crossing game. So while I may not fully get it, I am still going to pay attention to Happy Home Designer. Besides, I’ll need some game to utilize the hundreds of Amiibo cards coming out for it.

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Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer Nintendo

Worldwide Releases

na: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
Release Sep 25, 2015
jpn: Dōbutsu no Mori: Happy Home Designer
Release Jul 30, 2015
RatingAll Ages
eu: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
Release Oct 02, 2015
aus: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
Release Oct 03, 2015
RatingParental Guidance
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