Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
|Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer|
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is a sandbox video game developed and published by Nintendo, with assistance from Monolith Soft, for the Nintendo 3DS. The game was released in Japan in July 2015, in North America in September 2015, and in PAL regions in October 2015. The game is a spin-off of the Animal Crossing series where the player has to design homes for various anthropomorphic animal characters. The game received mixed reviews from critics upon release.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer downplays the wider community simulation mechanics of the main Animal Crossing series in favor of focusing on house designing; players work as an employee of Nook's Homes, designing homes for other animal villagers based around their suggestions. As players progress, they will unlock additional furniture elements they can incorporate into their designs. Players can also visit the homes they have created.
The game integrates with Animal Crossing Amiibo cards; scanning cards allows their respective character to visit a home that a player had designed, and allows players to design homes for other major characters such as K.K. Slider and Tom Nook.
Animal Crossing series producer Aya Kyogoku explained that Happy Home Designer was inspired by the internal process of designing homes for the animal villagers in the main Animal Crossing games, stating that "We had to think about, what kind of things would this animal like? What kind of life do they lead? Trying to figure out what they'd want was very fun, and we tried to think of a way we could get this kind of experience to players as well." Players are not tied to a specific budget when designing homes; while the concept was considered, the development team believed that such a limit placed too much of a burden on the player's creativity.
amiibo were also an influence on Happy Home Designer and a sister game, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, as the development team thought that Animal Crossing amiibo would be "cute", and brainstormed new gameplay concepts for the franchise that incorporated them. The two games also have integration with each other; houses designed in Happy Home Designer can appear in-game within amiibo Festival. Eight series character amiibo were planned for release with amiibo Festival. Upon their announcement, some expressed concerns with the series moving in a different gameplay direction; however Kyogoku noted that it and amiibo Festival were spin-offs, and don't necessarily represent where the mainline series would go in the future.
The game holds aggregate scores of 66.15% on GameRanking and 66/100 at Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews". IGN's Kallie Plagge praised the game for its "freedom to be creative", but noted that the game sometimes felt unrewarding. Similarly, Nintendo Life felt that the "sheer volume of content was staggering", but was critical of the "lack of any real challenge".
Game Informer's Jeff Cork gave the game a 5 out of 10, saying that it is "a deep dive into Animal Crossing’s ordinarily shallow home-design pool, without the town elements that make the series such a success". GameSpot similarly awarded it a score of 5 out of 10, saying "With what's in the game, Happy Home Designer would have been amazing DLC for New Leaf: it revamps the previous game's clunky design controls, and the glut of new items would give even hardcore fans a reason to revisit their likely neglected village. But as a standalone experience, no matter how many happy homes I design, the town just feels barren."
During the game's debut week in Japan, it was the best selling video game in the region, with 522,556 copies sold. As of March 2016, total Japanese sales have surpassed 1.48 million copies, total worldwide sales are at 3.04 million copies.
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- Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (Japanese: どうぶつの森：ハッピーホームデザイナー, Hepburn: lit "Animal Forest: Happy Home Designer")
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