A Pocketful of Cuteness: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp


A screenshot from an in-game event

Olivia Gallmeyer, Editor-in-Chief

My remaining college deadlines are looming. The spring musical is about to start. The due date for that AP Lit essay is fast approaching. And yet, I don’t care about any of these things. In truth, almost everything in life has stopped having any significance to me.

The only thing I care about now? Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp for iOS and Android.

Animal Crossing is an adorable life-simulation series of games by Nintendo focusing on small town life. It’s wonderfully open-ended, giving players the freedom to catch fish and bugs, customize their houses and towns, and befriend their neighbors, a quirky set of anthropomorphic animals. For its first foray into mobile gaming, Pocket Camp fittingly takes players on the road as the manager of a RV campsite, with the main goal being to recruit animals to your campgrounds by doing favors for them. With each favor, players get rewards known as materials, which can be used to craft more furniture to decorate your RV and campsite.

Even without a town to explore, Pocket Camp does an excellent job of translating the key mechanics of the Animal Crossing series to a mobile platform while adding its own twists. You’re still able to catch bugs, go fishing, and befriend animals. There’s also plenty of options for customization, including changing the colors of your RV at the OK Motors store and buying clothes from the Able Sisters. What’s more, the game doesn’t force microtransactions onto you like so many mobile games; there’s a currency called Leaf Tickets that can be purchased and used to speed up in-game events, but they’re easy to obtain by completing objectives.

One of the game’s greatest strengths is how it preserves the pacing of the original games. Animal Crossing games proceed in real-time, changing based off of the season, and Pocket Camp is no exception. It takes time to craft furniture or have new animals show up, meaning that you can’t blow through the game quickly. This combined with frequent game updates- a holiday event rolled out the past week- means that the game feels fresh even after playing for several weeks.

Personally, my favorite part of the game is getting to befriend all my favorite villagers again. Though there’s only 40 animals in this game compared to the hundreds in the console releases, there’s still friendly faces I recognize from playing City Folk and New Leaf. The game’s full of charming flavor text and moments with the campers, and it’s impossible not to smile when Lily shows off her shell collection or Jay calls me “brosephine”. For me, anything Animal Crossing comes with a layer of peaceful nostalgia, remembering times watching my brother play the original Gamecube release or painstakingly creating the perfect New Leaf town over long summer days. Now, in one of the most stressful times of the year, there’s been nothing more therapeutic than spending time out in virtual nature with my animal friends.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is available for free for iOS and Android operating systems; the game requires an Internet connection. Optional microtransactions are available in the game.