Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Animal Crossing; Amiibo Festival: "So I herd you liked Mario Party 10"

"Honestly, we just wanted Animal Crossing Amiibo. We wanted the company to make Animal Crossing Amiibo, so that's why we made a game that works with them." I herd a lot of backlash for this statement, and I mean a lot. I'm not going to summarize it, but my view on it is more pleasant then others. This was said by the development team, and more often then not, the development team doesn't have dollar signs in their eyes, and they've shown that they love all the characters they've made, why wouldn't they, it's Animal Crossing. To say that the characters are cute does them a dis service, adorable doesn't even come close at times. With that push, Nintendo had the ability to print money before they ran out of fighters in Super Smash Brothers, and giving them enough time to build up the RFID chips to back log for the inevitable mass producing of Pokemon amiibo, my wallet is already dreading that day. So with Amiibo Festival and it's sister game, Happy Home Designer, how well does the Animal Crossing Team impliment Amiibo. I will come back to Happy Home Designer, but let's get this done first.

I'm going to say this now, THIS IS A PARTY GAME. There is no story in this game, it's something you put in the console, gather friends around and say "Let's do this". So with that, let's see what this game has to offer, and as a spoiler, not a lot. The game is more board game focused then the game most people have been comparing this too, Mario Party, which is fine, it helps it stand out a bit. I've only played two mini games, the balloon pop, which isn't fun due to controls, and a quiz game, which is just as bad because of controls. Maybe I'd live with it more if it wasn't one game pad being shared between 2 to 6 (depending on the mini game) in question. Both of them use the amiibo cards over button presses, something I could tolerate more if the Near field communication system wasn't just built into the gamepad, especially for the quiz game. The balloon pop one isn't as bad with this, but it's major problem is the range of the NFC technology, which might be me not getting used to it in time for this review, but it might not at the same time. There are other games, but I only have four cards, one from Happy Home Designer, three from Amiibo Festival. I'll probably do a recap for the mini games when I review Happy Home Designer, which has more of a focus on the cards rather then the figures. As I said, this is the sister game to HHD, so it's hard to talk about one without the other.

Said figures are used in the board game primarily. The goal is simple, roll the dice, get stamps, Bells (the animal crossing equivalent of money) and "Happy Points" to win the round and unlock skins for your amiibo figures. To my knowledge, each figure has six costumes and six little animations you can use before you roll. Each game takes place over a month, each one with special days, some more then others, including fishing, bug catching and other holidays in the main games like Toy Day (Christmas)... whatever they're calling Easter as another, along with the birthdays of all available animal crossing villagers (which reminds me, no you cannot use your psychopath one from the Smash Bros amiibo line). It's simple, anyone can play it, but it has one flaw for me. The game focuses on the board game, could we have more then one board then? As far as I can tell, the map for the board is set. Once you play the game, whatever base board you get, you're stuck with it. This is something I wish they had taken the Mario Party approach with, and given us the ability to at least pick a difficulty selection for the board, to give the illusion of variety. Instead we get board customization, which I'm still trying to figure out how it works and how to actually scan the cards in for the board game. Hopefully I'll have an answer by the time I review Happy Home Designer.

The event days are also a bit lack luster. You have the Stalk market (I'm not making that up) from Animal Crossing New Leaf, which from my experience is the way you either win or loose at the board game if you know how to gamble with random number generation. Katrina the fortune teller, who will give you a tarrot card enchant that will either help you, or screw you over thanks to random number generation. Katie who will either give you a card if you win at a game of "Higher or Lower", or swap one of your cards for another. Crazy Redd, this game's version of the shop, allowing you to buy cards that help you play the game. Dr Shrunk, who will give you a card if you listen to his "so bad they don't even count as" jokes, and Phineous who will give a reward to the player a roulette wheel picks. On top of the holidays, Twice Dice Day on the 11th and 22nd of every month, Opposite day which I haven't seen a constant pattern for, and you have a pretty mediocre and repetitive game.
The new year did not come with a capture card, that one's still coming

Unlike a lot of critics, I don't mind the control scheme. While the game pad has more weight to it, I compare it more to the notion of handing around dice for a real board game. I'd prefer more then one controller, but in this case it's fine so long as everyone playing is in some sort of order so that you can pass the gamepad around easily. At the same time though, I do agree with some points. The game can't really sustain itself on just it's charm, it's obvious this was rushed just to hold people over for the NX and I hate it when any company does those kinds of practices. Thankfully this game still functions well in comparison to other games who suffered that fate, but that's still no compliment. I think the game deserves post launch patches that add more content to the game, like Splatoon. Am I glad that it has to happen at all? No, I'd have preferred a delay over that, but free updates is better then paid DLC for an unfinished game.
Can someone please tell me how you do this?

If you're going to get this, even if it's just to justify having all the animal crossing amiibos, do yourself a favor and don't compare this to Mario Party, the games are targeting two different audiences. Amiibo Festival is slower, calmer. You're not going to find a lot of potential friendship killing moments a la old school Mario Party. But at the same time I hope this is a wake up call for Nintendo, and that there's a reason why people played, and still do play Mario Party 2-6. Now does this need to be Mario Party? No, but it should still apply some of the things Mario Party did (Like more then one board) to itself. This is not perfect, far, FAR from it, but I would like to see this continue, I think this has potential. It's a faithful retooling of Animal Crossing mechanics into a party game, now lets see them inject more party game into the party game, shall we? Come tomorrow, The review of the Sonic and Mega Man cross over (Before Smash bros), Worlds Collide. Yes, comic reviews are back as well, I did say I was hitting this year running (I think).

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