Animal Crossing has always been one of Nintendo’s more interesting series to me - none of the games have an end, per se. Rather, they are mostly about building and maintaining friendships and a community. Although I played a lot of the original on my Gamecube, the installment I’ve spent the most time playing has been on the 3DS - the short tasks the animals had me doing to maintain my village were perfect for a handheld console.
So, Animal Crossing was a perfect candidate for being Nintendo’s next game for cell phones. Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is an abridged version of most of the other Animal Crossing games. You don’t have a house to improve and decorate, nor do you have a whole community to curate - instead, you have your own campsite, and you can decorate it to make it the coolest campsite around, so all your animal friends want to come visit and hang out.
As with most mobile games, downloading the game is free. There is a premium currency in the game, called Leaf Tickets, but you can play without buying a single one, and I played the game for hours before I was even tempted to purchase any.
As much as the game is simplified for mobile phones, it still very much feels like an Animal Crossing game. Each animal has their own distinct personality, the colors are all warm and inviting, and the music is cute, serene, and often the tiniest bit wistful.
The relationships with the animal inhabitants of the campground aren’t as deep as they are in the console games, and neither are the ways you interact with them. But for the short, two or three minute bursts that this game is designed to be played for, I think that’s OK. This game isn’t a replacement for the regular Animal Crossing games, but until we get the next one for the Nintendo Switch, it’s a pleasant distraction.