Over its legacy, Animal Crossing has added many drastic new features to the franchise, such as being able to visit a new city full of new life and shops in ‘Let’s Go To the City’, and being the mayor of your own town in ‘New Leaf’, however the gameplay has pretty much remained the same.
In comes ‘Happy Home Designer’, a spin off to the Animal Crossing games. In this game, you become a new interior designer for Nook’s Homes where your job is to create fantabulous new homes for the residents of your town.
Is Happy Home Designer a job well done, or is it just full of cowboy builders? Check out our review after the break!
Happy Home Designer’s aim is to take the decorating your home part of Animal Crossing and to expand on it, making it the entire focus of the game. To do so, you are recruited by Tom Nook himself as a new interior and exterior designer for his business, Nook’s Homes. Your first task is to design Lottie’s home as she leads you through a short tutorial.
It couldn’t be easier to design a house, in fact, it’s much easier and less tedious than it is in previous Animal Crossing games. You have an ever expanding catalogue with various categories, such as the type of furniture, outdoor furniture, fish/fossils/bugs etc., you can even sort by colour, keyword, and newness. Placing and rearranging furniture is as easy as dragging and dropping on the touch screen, and tapping an item will rotate it. After you complete the tutorial, you’ll have to write a report for the day (pretty much just saving the game) and then you can continue to the next day to design a new client’s house.
Each client will have a different theme, such as an indoor tropical getaway or a gothic abode, you are also provided with up to three pieces of furniture that you must use to fulfil the clients’ wishes. Each client also adds a various amount of furniture and other doohickeys to the catalogue which usually fits the theme the client is asking for, so after several clients, your catalogue should be bursting by its electronic seams, full of variety. After you have created a few homes, Isabelle will pay you a visit, asking you to build your town’s first facility building, a shop. Building a facility is pretty much the same as a home, though on a slightly larger scale. You are told what furniture is vital then you are free to design how you see fit. Once you have built the shop, more options are available when building facilities. You can build a hospital, a school, a café, and so much more. Also, once you get the hang of things, you can expand and remodel facilities you have built any time you want!
After designing for a while, you will then be able to design the exterior of houses too, as well as choosing the lot you build on and the season. This can get particularly fun as you can even change the type of house, type of roof, type of door etc. and it’s perfect for those with a green thumb as you can plant loads of trees and flowers. When back at Nook’s Homes, you can use Play Coins to purchase extra features such as room layouts, custom designs, and the facial machine for if you need a new personal look.
Another neat feature is the Happy Home Network. This acts as the gateway between designers around the world and allows you to view creations other players have made as well as uploading your own. It also comes with a neat rating system. There are four categories: uniqueness, coolness, cuteness, and I’d live here…ness! Players can give each category a rating out of three. There are also frequent challenges, where you are given a theme and have to create the best design for that theme for example, the first challenge was The Sweetest Home.
If you purchase any of the AR Card packs, you can use a special character card to receive an exclusive client to design a house for, such as K.K. Slider. You can also use these cards to invite the characters to homes you are visiting or assign them roles in facilities.
Overall, Happy Home Designer is a very cute game and has some interesting ideas for the Animal Crossing franchise. The characters, as always, are full of charm and joy and everything from placing furniture to putting up wallpaper is quick and easy. The biggest problem however, is the fact that there is little to no challenge which, to me, reduces how many times you can come back to the game. As long as you include the furniture that is required and stick to the theme somewhat, it is incredibly difficult to make any mistake or make an unhappy home. There’s no real feedback on what is good and what is bad, and the game throws any sensible product placement out the window (including Feng Shui), I literally just unboxed all the required furniture in a client’s house and let it where it is, and the client still seemed ecstatic, either they have no sense of interior decorating or they would just rather do it themselves. I would love it if there were more strict guidelines, and perhaps you could be rewarded Happy Home points for how well you did, like you do in previous Animal Crossing games.
Other than that, Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer is a pretty well built game and can be very fun whether you are an Animal Crossing fan or not. Though with a lack of challenge, it may only be enjoyed for a long amount of time for true hardcore Animal Crossing fans.
Final Rating – 3 out of 5
Have you tried out Happy Home Designer yet? What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!