Animal Crossing holds a special place in my heart. Ever since my buddy Mark and I discovered this now classic title for the Nintendo GameCube, there was always constant shell collecting, fish hunting, errand running, and fossil gathering mayhem daily. After several releases in the series that did very little to expand upon the original formula, we now have a truly new entry in the series. Happy Home Designer allows the player to design the interior and exterior of the houses throughout the village. Gone are the gathering of items within your town (with the exception of furniture) and now you must appease residents of your town by using your keen eye for interior decorating.
Excited? No? But wait there is more! Introducing, Amiibo Cards! If you have not heard, Amiibo is the hotness for 2015, and Nintendo is cashing in as best they can. Animal Crossing has dozens of characters that interact within your town, and to make a physical plastic Amiibo for every character would be foolish as they would never sell as well as Mario, Luigi, etc. So instead Nintendo has opted for NFC cards that come in booster packs of 6 random cards each. This way you can import your favorite character into the Happy Home Designer game. Nintendo has announced that the first series of cards are supposed to hit stores soon in time for the game's release on September 25th, and there will be 100 cards to collect in all at launch. However, the booster packs are retailing for $5.99 each, almost $1 per card. Oh, and it's already been announced that a 2nd series is in the works of 100 additional cards. So if you were to collect them all, and got extremely lucky, you could have an entire set of series 1 and 2 for at least $200.
Instead of taking Animal Crossing, and actually improving on the formula to add more things to do, we end up with this. Maybe I am missing something, but to me this is a one trick pony that is not going to hold up over time. The funny thing is, Nintendo is pushing this title really hard! First off you can either buy the game at retail as a physical copy (includes an Amiibo card) or digital copy as normal for $39.99. But, if you have an original Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL, the Amiibo cards are useless so you need the NFC reader bundle for $49.99 which includes a peripheral to scan in Amiibo figures and cards . (Note, if you own a "New Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL" There is a built in NFC reader, so you can buy just the standard edition.) Okay, confused yet? So if you don't have a Nintendo 3DS system and Happy Home Designer is going to make you jump on board, you can purchase the New Nintendo 3DS Happy Home designer system bundle. This includes the standard size New 3DS, an Amiibo card, faceplates for your system, and a digital download of the game all for the low price of $219.99.
I don't understand Nintendo's thinking on this one. The cards on one hand are a huge profit maker, because there is no way it costs $6 a pack to manufacture. In my opinion, the game is tough to swallow at $39.99 for what essentially is an interior decorating game with an Animal Crossing skin. I feel at the very least the price points on both the standard edition and the deluxe edition should be dropped by $10 each, since the game honestly does not look exceptionally fun to me. I really hope they come out with an awesome new and improved Animal Crossing game soon that utilizes the Amiibo technology. As for the cards, the collector in me screams "You must have all 200 cards because you have to collect them all!" but thankfully my wallet knows better. I would be lying if I said I wanted none of the cards, because who doesn't want a Roald card? Everyone knows he is the coolest. (I hear it takes two other character cards to trade for a Roald card, he's that in demand.) I think I will spend $10 max on acquiring the less than a dozen individual cards I really want to keep. To all of those other collectors out there that need to have them all? I wish you luck in acquiring all of the characters, but prepare your wallet b-b-b-b-buddy!