Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is an easy game to get into.Based on one of Nintendo's most successful IPs it begs the question - would this ever have NOT been a success?
Maybe if it messed up on its free to play or went the Super Mario Run full premium route, I guess it could've been less popular, but that's not the case.
If you're looking for a game packed to the brim with exciting action, you'll not find it here I'm afraid. A relaxing getaway on the other hand? Hell yes.
Here's your camp
If you've played any Animal Crossing games before, you'll know the basic deal here.
Granted, Pocket Camp doesn't bring the full AC experience to mobile, but you've still got anthropomorphic villagers to please, things to manage, and tasks to complete.
You start off by designing your avatar, then arrive at your new campsite. There you're greeted by Isabelle, a recurring character from the previous games.
The tutorial sends you around the island to learn the basic moving, interacting, fishing, and catching mechanics. Tap to move. Tap to interact.
Depending on what style of camp you chose, the first resident you visit will likely be the first one to crash at your campsite.
A major part of the game is building friendship levels and keeping your new friends happy. To do this you can listen to their requests and nip about the island, collecting whatever it is they want.
Some of these things will be super simple, like picking up a single horse mackerel or tiger butterfly. Others will be slightly more difficult. Once you've handed the desired items over to your new pals, you'll get materials, Bells, and XP for your troubles.
You need materials and Bells in order to craft items for your camp, and each resident has a favourite item. Before they can visit you have to craft the furniture they like, and make sure your friendship level is high enough.
If you're looking to make human friends, you can find other players dotted about the island. You can visit their campsite, befriend them, give them kudos, and vice-versa. Or, you can just add friends through the usual code-sharing.
Go do management stuff
The game's been simplified substantially, but that doesn't really matter that much. Given that you have to call back in every few hours, it's ideal for quick sessions.
Since you earn Bells from completing tasks and finishing daily challenges, making money isn't that much of a problem so long as you've got the patience to check back and chat to people.
You can use the newly-implemented Market Box to sell four materials to real-world players, and check out other player's wares when you encounter them across the island.
Despite the game being free to play, the payment model doesn't feel too invasive. You've got the option to buy Bells and Leaf Tickets, and you'll get unsubtle pop-ups reminding you of great daily deals, but you don't run into any road blocks for a good, long while.
Where you might be tempted to splash some cash is with the timers. Whether you want to craft more than one thing at once, speed up the crafting time, or make fruit grow back on the trees quicker, that'll cost you a certain amount of Leaf Tickets or materials.
Happy friends, happy camp
It's not the greatest or most interesting game on the market, but it does a good job at being an Animal Crossing-lite. It's also a pretty good advert for Nintendo's full AC titles.
Whether you've got a few minutes to spare on your journey to work or school. or whether you're taking some time to chill out, Pocket Camp offers up a decent and simple escape with some fluffy moments that make you go 'aww'.