A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about designing and creating buildings, as well as the needs of working with and budgeting virtual money (when buying items for a villager). Players also are exposed to different designs and tastes. They're rewarded for helping others, including getting a sense of community and citizenship by working on decorating public facilities such as schools and hospital. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer takes a positive spin on house and community building, placing it in a fun, friendly package.
Focuses on designing homes, inside and out, socializing with characters. Also decorating public institutions, such as a school, hospital, other facilities.
Positive Role Models
There isn't one character in particular, but rather, dozens of animals, other human townsfolk to take control over. Kids can also use amiibo cards to unlock other villagers in the game.
Ease of Play
Simple controls, easy to learn.
Products & Purchases
Works with optional amiibo cards that must be purchased separately, based on Nintendo's popular Animal Crossing series of games for multiple platforms.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is a design simulator that's appropriate for players of all ages. Players control their favorite Animal Crossing villagers to decorate their homes and other facilities in the town. There isn't any controversial content at all with this cartoon-like building simulation. Parents should be aware that this is part of a long-running popular franchise across multiple systems, and characters and locations are unlockable by purchasing additional amiibo cards, which are sold separately.
Is It Any Good?
It's incredibly rewarding to complete jobs for these cute animal friends, plus you'll be forced to use different styles, objects, and colors to keep things fresh. Also worth noting is the online "Happy Home Network," where you can upload the houses and buildings you've designed, visit other people's properties, and rate them (if desired). You'll also be inspired to go back to your own handiwork and tweak it. Unlike other Animal Crossing games, you don't have your own place to call home, which is disappointing. Perhaps the developers could have given you a place to decorate and provided a reason to do so: maybe with villagers who drop in for special assignments? Though it feels like this feature is missing -- and there isn't a role-playing game-like progression system to quantify your achievements -- the fun and fresh gameplay is worth your efforts. Overall, this game is based on construction rather than destruction, focuses on creativity and exploration, and cleverly adds fun amiibo cards to an already stellar simulation.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.