Animal Crossing: New Leaf Game Poster Image

Animal Crossing: New Leaf



Cute town sim about friendship and spending virtual money.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn how to be good citizen in a virtual town. They are encouraged to be a polite and friendly neighbor, dispose of trash and pick up weeds, and settle their loans in a timely manner. In addition, this game allows kids to become the mayor of their town, which exposes them to concepts like public works projects and the declaration of city ordinances. By playing this simulation about becoming a citizen of a town, kids learn about friendship, government, and how to manage their time and money efficiently.

Positive messages

This is a video game about socializing with friends, helping to make the town a better place, and learning skills like money and time management. A key aspect of the game is shopping at the local town store. Players are encouraged to spend their in-game money on the newest and fanciest decorations for their virtual home. However, players never need to spend real money to buy any of these items.

Positive role models

There is a direct role model in the game -- the mayor. Players can actually aspire to become the mayor of their virtual town themselves, and live up to the reputation of the franchise's long-running town figurehead. Virtually every character in the game also exudes positivity, with qualities like generosity, friendliness, and helpfulness expressed in their every interaction.

Ease of play

It's very easy to grasp the controls and the concept of this game. This is a title that isn't about busting your brain or solving puzzles or mastering difficult control mechanisms. Instead, it taps into the other side of the brain that fosters creativity and relationship-building. There are a few aspects of the game, like trying to catch fish, that require traditional video game-playing dexterity, but for the most part, this is a very casual game designed to appeal to all players. Difficulty is not an issue.

Violence & scariness
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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'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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Subjects:Social Studies: citizenship, government, the economy
Hobbies: building, collecting, gardening
Skills:Responsibility & Ethics: fiscal responsibility, honoring the community, making wise decisions, respect for others
Communication: friendship building
Self-Direction: goal-setting, initiative, time management
Available online?Not available online
Release date:June 9, 2013
Genre:Role Playing
ESRB rating:E for Comic Mischief

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Teen, 13 years old Written byHappyMaskSalesman June 27, 2013

Defenitely one of the best Animal Crossings

The description on this site is WAY off. The game isn't about "friendship" or "spending virtual money." They make it sound like it's for a 4 year old girl. This game is one of the best games ever, period. For the first time in Animal Crossing you can customize the exterior of your home, you can be the mayor, you can go to the Island (unrelated to Animal Island in the first game). I don't want to ruin the game for you so I'll stop there. GET IT NOW.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 7, 7, 7, and 7 year old Written byAdrianbarrett227 July 15, 2013

Good game

I like this game for kids my kids like the 4 kids ting it is asmome it is a good game get it for your kids!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bySweetDisposition July 14, 2013

Easily the best game in the series. May not be the right starting point for newcomers.

I've been playing animal crossing for almost 10 years. New Leaf differs majorly from past iterations in the fact that you are the mayor in this game. You have to unlock shops on your main street, pay for public works projects, can sign ordinances into law, and do everything else you could do in previous animal crossing games. Animal crossing's premise is simple- you are the only human in a village full of animals. You can make money- known as bells- in order to fund public works, make your house larger, pay for new clothes, new furniture, new wall papers, new designs which you create yourself, and new tools. The town also houses a museum, where players can donate the fish and bugs they catch, the fossils they dig up, and the art pieces they purchase. It doesn't sound like it'd be fun, but it's satisfying seeing your museum fill up with everything you've donated. New Leaf is the most customizable game in the series. You can put custom patterns on certain furniture items, choose how you want your town to look and how you want to develop your town, and as always, create your own designs to be used as clothing, wallpaper, carpets, or pictures. The reason I say New Leaf might not be the best starting point for newcomers is that it doesn't explain the mechanics of Animal Crossing as a whole too well. Aside from being mayor, the core of the game hasn't changed much. And for someone who's never played the series before, the additional challenge of being mayor might be overwhelming. However, New Leaf would be a good starting point for older fans (10+). I've been playing for a month now, and in a game which is technically endless, I've hardly scratched the surface of what's possible. However, what I know is that Animal Crossing is a pleasure, but be warned that for optimal game play, it'll require an hour minimum of the player's time daily.