Looking back at 2017, there are a number of games that stand out to us. Games like PUBG, Cuphead, and Fortnite come to mind, but in our eyes, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp deserves the game of the year award.
Let’s take a look at why we think Pocket Camp deserves more recognition as a decent, fully-fledged game, despite being released as a free-to-play mobile app.
Here are some of the reasons why Animal Crossing Pocket Camp was actually game of the year 2017.
It’s Animal Crossing
IMAGE: [animal crossing two]
Let’s start with the obvious. The Animal Crossing franchise is a great one. I’ve never felt so calm and away from my worries than when I’ve been playing Animal Crossing.
You’re given the freedom to do as you please in this peaceful world as activity goes on slowly in the background.
A lot of the things that made Animal Crossing special in the past have made a return in Pocket Camp. This includes making friendships with the neighbors, going out and collecting fruit, hunting bugs and slowly building up your home with different furniture and decorations.
It’s a peaceful world that only goes by as quickly as you’d like it to. As forgiving in gameplay as it is charming, it sets itself apart from the masses of highly competitive fast-paced titles that make their way to the top-selling charts each year.
Gameplay Is More Objective-Oriented
Whilst some players may argue that the freedom that Animal Crossing gives the player in other titles is a good thing, we’re not completely opposed to the objective-focused approach Nintendo took with Pocket Camp.
You can set out to different locations and you’ll know exactly what activity you’ll be doing when you go to that area. This makes it easier to focus on, say, hunting bugs when you need to, and segments the gameplay somewhat.
These different activities are bulked up with daily rewards and long-term goals that can be tracked within the game. Completing these objectives provides players with something to focus on and removes any choice paralysis.
With Pocket Camp, Animal Crossing is still relaxing, but you can leave the game feeling like you’ve accomplished something. With other Animal Crossing games, you’re often left not wanting to put the game down which is perhaps something that’s not great for a game designed to be played on the go.
There are also constant seasonal activities that are added to encourage players to keep coming back to Pocket Camp. Not only do these breathe fresh air into the game, but they keep content coming in with new furniture and new neighbors.
This is the first Animal Crossing game that may actually receive a long life after the launch of the title. With Pocket Camp being free-to-play, Nintendo is pressured to keep releasing more quality content to keep their player base engaged, so this is actually a good thing in my opinion.
The New Crafting System
The crafting system is something new to the Animal Crossing franchise that I’m quite a big fan of. It essentially makes it easier to craft the items you want to craft.
You’ll no longer have to walk around for hours hoping to find that chair or bed you’ve been looking for. Instead, you can open up the crafting menu and get to work. To craft an item, you must first find the raw materials around the world. This would mean going around the wood to collect supplies look wood so that you can craft the item.
Each item has a different set of required materials, as well as a set amount of time before the crafting time is completed. Yes, unfortunately, you can pay to increase the time it takes to build items, but for the most part, I never felt like this restricted gameplay.
Improving your building is mostly a process that’s done on the side, so it’s not really restricting gameplay in any way.
The Interaction With Neighbours Isn’t Too Bad
Every Animal Crossing game needs to have good neighbors. (and maybe some bad ones.) It’s where the core of the gameplay cycle is based. In Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, it’s no different. You’re able to help out those in the camp to get rewarded for your efforts.
As you improve the relationships with your neighbours, their interactions and rewards will change. Each neighbour will help contribute to an overall camp rank and this will determine what rewards you’ll get as you continue to play.
You’ll start to see new neighbors joining the camp as the gameplay progresses, too. It’s always nice to see another personality stop by for you to interact with.
As you gain more benefits and rewards to kit out your camp, you’ll want to think carefully about what items you use. Different types of items may benefit or degrade relationships with certain neighbors.
Honestly, it’s not the most complex system – we’d love to see a bit more depth when it comes to neighbor-given activities and rewards, but it’s easy enough to get lost in and for an Animal Pocket game this is the kind of change that I’d love to see more of.
The Downloads Don’t Lie
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp performed incredibly well in 2017. Yes, it didn’t sell at $30 and sell out like Battlegrounds, but it did perform well.
Not only did it bring in 10s of millions of downloads, but it also received a very high app store rating – close to 5 stars on both Apple and Android.
So what do you think of Animal Crossing Pocket Camp? Is this a game you’d be willing to give a game of the year award? If Pocket Camp didn’t win Nintendo game of the year, Nintendo still deserves manufacturer of the year for their latest efforts.
2017 was an absolutely great year for games for everybody, including PC, PS4, and Xbox One. However, Nintendo were the ones that killed it the most thanks to the release of charming titles like Pocket Camp, Super Mario Odyssey, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.