Spoiler alert: I’m addicted to this freaking game.
It’s quite obvious that the quality of app games has vastly improved, in recent years. We started with Snake. Now we have app games like Vainglory, which is a full-fledged eSport, and Revolution II, a phone MMORPG that uses the Unreal Engine. Everyday app games inch closer to console/PC quality. Obviously they will never quite catch-up, but as long as they keep improving, apps will compete as major form of gaming.
Game developers have taken notice of this trend. Major game franchises, like Pokemon and Fire Emblem, have made successful iterations for mobile, and many other franchises are following suit.
The problem is some of these franchises do not translate well to mobile. Bandai Namco’s Tales of franchise is one of these. For me, the Tales games are built around their storylines, character interactions, and real-time battle systems. The mobile addition to the franchise, Tales of the Rays, loses most of these qualities, and shoves hundreds of Tales characters (all from different universes) into one game. The result is awkward, cringey, and doesn’t feel like a legit Tales game at all.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is the new mobile entry into the Animal Crossing franchise, and it is the exact opposite of Tales of the Rays. Instead of becoming a blemish on the franchise, Pocket Camp is a strong title for the whole franchise, even being a mobile game.
I spent countless hours playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS. The simple gameplay of collecting things, furnishing/personalizing your house, and paying off your debts was addicting, and this gameplay translates well into Pocket Camp. In the new game, players take control of a campsite instead of a whole town, where they meet animals, complete requests for them, and recruit them to stay at their campsite.
As for the customization and furnishings, Pocket Camp has a lot to offer. When players level up, they gain access to craft new furniture and items that can be used to decorate their camp, or upgrade-able RV. Both of these serve as the players “house,” and can be transformed into whatever you want. I chose to build a concert venue in my camp:
It’s basic, so far, but I had fun constructing it, and that is the excitement of Pocket Camp.
The one area where Pocket Camp lags behind the core games is in the collection of items. In the core games, players would collect fish, artwork, and more to add to the town’s museum, which served as the player’s in-game collection. I loved collecting all of the fossils found in the game, so that I could construct all of the replica’s in the museum. All of this is completely absent from Pocket Camp, forcing players to fall back on collecting furniture, and adding new animals to their camps.
Taking all of this into account, Pocket Camp is still a stunning app game. It has fun, easy, and creative gameplay, without being gated by extreme time-waits like other “builder” games. Furthermore, after a few weeks of playing Pocket Camp, I am still fully invested, and have not spent a dime.
Do yourself a favor, and download Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp now. While your at it, add me as a friend:
By Kyle Kalbach