Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

I never owned any Nintendo Wii or 3DS console. Which means that I have never played any game of the Animal Crossing franchise. I was aware that these games existed due to the generally good press they got, but never played one. So when recently Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was released on iOS, I decided to give it a try. And ended up seriously disappointed: There is no game in this game!

My general model of modern games is that they have a core game, e.g. combat or a type of puzzle, embedded in a shell of story, rewards, and character progression. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp certainly has the shell part of that: There is a basic story, you do get plenty of rewards for what you do, and there is some sort of character progression in the form of levels and friendship levels to a growing number of animals. However there isn’t really a core game. The core consists of clicking on resources to gather them. And that’s it. There is no puzzle to solve to gather those resources, no monster to kill, nothing. Some of the resources have a vague hint of a game, which is tapping once to start the process, and then needing to tap a second time within a time window when “tap” is written on your screen, but that is as complicated as it gets. Other resources, like fruits from trees, don’t even have that, you just click to gather them.

Crafting isn’t really a game either, you just provide the money and resources and wait for minutes or hours until your crafted item is finished. So all you can do in this game is gather resources, and keep various animals happy by providing them either the resources directly or some furniture crafted from those resources. There is a complete absence of any challenge or even actual gameplay. Describing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp as a game for children is actually insulting to children.

That the mobile version only provides you with limited amounts of resources every 3 hours or lets you wait for hours for your crafting to finish, but then “allows” you to speed those things up with a currency you get for real money is just the icing on the cake. After playing the game long enough to make sure that I hadn’t accidentally overlooked a real game in there, I just uninstalled Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Unless you desperately want a game with absolutely no challenge or real gameplay at all, I can’t recommend this.