Animal Crossing: New Leaf
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Animal Crossing: New Leaf gives players the opportunity to live in a virtual world filled with colorful, friendly animals. Players will work their way from being the new town resident with barely any money to a well-liked citizen with a fancy house, and might even become mayor of the town. There is an option to connect online, which allows players to visit the towns of other players, and vice versa, but this option can be disabled, and can also be limited so that players can only interact with their trusted friends. The online option allows players to chat with each other using text; but there is a filter that prevents inappropriate words from being exchanged. As with all 3DS games, Nintendo recommends that children under 7 only play the game in 2D, as the 3D effect could damage developing eyesight. Parents can turn off the ability to play in 3D by using the device's parental controls.
What kids can learn
- the economy
- time management
- friendship building
Responsibility & Ethics
- respect for others
- fiscal responsibility
- honoring the community
- making wise decisions
Engagement, Approach, Support
If this game could be summed up with one word, it would be "engaging." Players are empowered and motivated to make their experience within the game as immersing and enjoyable as possible.
There is an over-arching motivation to do as much as possible within the game, but there are no specific directives or goals. Kids learn by experimenting.
Players can monitor their progress in a very visual way -- getting more money will result in a more distinguished house, etc. However, player's aren't necessarily guided or held by the hand if they are unsure what to do next.
What's it about?
ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW LEAF won't really surprise anyone who has any knowledge of the Animal Crossing franchise. The same core aspects are still here -- build a house from the ground up, earn virtual money, and become the coolest person in your town. As to be expected, though, there are some neat new twists that reinvigorate this franchise. For example, players can opt to become their town's mayor, which gives them unprecedented control of the town, like dictating when stores are allowed to be open and deciding where to build new bridges and fountains. There is also an island players can travel to in order to play mini-games and win prizes.
Is it any good?
Animal Crossing: New Leaf does exactly what it should, exactly what anyone would expect it to do. It keeps the winning formula of letting you become a citizen in a cute and adorable town and creates an interesting and well-balanced simulation about living and participating in small town life. This is the same theme that has been around since the original Animal Crossing game, but New Leaf adds just enough new content and new interactions to appeal to the existing and very loyal fan base.
Does it break exceptionally new ground? No. Does it provide a compelling reason for people who have never had interest in Animal Crossing to give this game a closer look? Not really. For those who are already hooked on the franchise, does it add enough flair to justify buying a brand new Animal Crossing title? You bet it does. This fun and gentle simulation game is a great way for kids to explore a world filled with cute characters.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the importance of setting video game limits. With a game as engrossing as this, you may want to set up rules for how long kids can play and at what times.
How different are the characters in the game from the people you interact with in real life? What do you think a real town would be like if all the residents acted like the characters in the game?
Does this game make you want to go outside and participate in gardening, fishing, etc., in the real world? Why or why not?