7 Things You Should Know About ‘Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer’

If you or your kids loved decorating your house more than anything else in previous Animal Crossing games, you’re in luck! With Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, you can put your own style on the inside and outside of homes of over 300 villagers. You’ll also make a school, hospital, restaurants, and more to make your new town feel like your very own.

Before you pick up the game, now available for the Nintendo 3DS, here are seven things you should know.

Happy Home Designer is an Animal Crossing 3DS game that stands alone from New Leaf. Your town, house, and villagers in New Leaf can’t be visited or imported into Happy Home Designer, so you get a completely fresh start (and a new job!). You now work for Tom Nook making customer’s design dreams come true.

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
Courtesy © Nintendo

This is an Animal Crossing game more suited for kids than any other game in the franchise. While older players might be disappointed with the lack of the open world, objective-free style Animal Crossing is known for, keeping the goal for gameplay simple might keep kids interested longer. My six-year-old never could get into completing the town museum exhibits or playing the turnip market, but she loves filling a customer’s request for their ideal home.

Only one profile (character) is allowed in the game. This was an unpleasant surprise for my daughter, who had expected to be able to create her own character like she could when we shared a copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. If you have kids who share the 3DS, be prepared to step in for some negotiating as they share a character.

You can’t visit other towns or player homes, but you can share your designs in the Miiverse or Happy Home Network. You can even take a look at designs submitted by players worldwide.

The UI improvements remove a lot of the frustration found in other Animal Crossing games. Even my six-year old noticed the difference. A search function for the decoration options and detailed icons make finding items a breeze. The stylus moves or rotates objects with a tap—no need to drag furniture around!

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
Courtesy © Nintendo

Use amiibo cards to invite your favorite villagers for a home makeover, but you’ll need an adapter if you don’t have the New 3DS. amiibo cards are sold in packs of six at the same retailers where you find amiibo figures. Inside the pack you’ll find 5 characters you can call in-game to offer your designing services, along with a special NPC card like Isabelle or KK Slider. If you have a New Nintendo 3DS, you can simply tap the card on the screen. If you don’t, the game can be purchased in a package that includes the NFC reader.

Some additional game features and decorations are earned by spending Play Coins. That doesn’t mean you have to make in-game purchases with real money—Play Coins are earned with every step you take while carrying or holding the 3DS.

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is a fun, don’t-want-to-put-down game that you and your kids can play in 5 minutes or 5 hours and still enjoy it. The game is out now for a suggested retail price of $39.99 and includes one amiibo card.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Top image Courtesy © Nintendo

Kelly Knox is a freelance writer in Seattle, WA, where she contributes to local parenting magazines. She also writes for StarWars.com, Geek & Sundry, Forever Young Adult, and more. You can find crafts and art projects for geeky families at her blog The St{art} Button.