My copy of Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival recently arrived in the mail, and I gave it a try today. It comes bundled with two Amiibo figures, Isabelle and Digby. It also comes with three Amiibo cards: Goldie, Rosie, and Stitches. That’s a much better group of villagers than what I got when I bought a pack of the cards separately for Happy Home Designer.
The board game is the only mode available from the start. The game does not take place in real-time; each game takes a month of game time. Each turn is represented as a day, and the game ends at the end of the month (which will usually be 30 or 31 turns). A normal game lasts about an hour and 15 minutes, although you can set a time limit if you don’t have that much time available.
An Amiibo figure is required for at least one player, but it’s not a one-time thing. You must hold your Amiibo up to the Wii U gamepad every time it’s your turn; it’s how you roll the die. That seems really unnecessary to me–it’s like you constantly have to prove that you own an Amiibo just to play the game. Why? It’s overkill.
The object of the game is to earn the most happy points (music notes) by the end of the month. You can also earn bells along the way, and those can be converted to happy points at the end. You roll the die to see how many squares you advance on the board. Landing on a pink square is a good thing–you’ll score some happy points or bells. Landing on a purple square is a bad thing–you’ll lose happy points or bells. Each space will have a story behind it. Maybe you’ll catch a fish, which is worth a certain number of bells. Or maybe you’ll find out that you accidentally broke your zap helmet, and you’ll lose bells as you pay to repair it. A variety of things can happen, but they rarely seem to be interactive. You just take what you’re given.
A number of Animal Crossing characters make cameo appearances. For example, Shrunk may appear on a certain day. If you land on a special event space on that day, he will give you a card (after you suffer through a corny joke of his). The card may be used to roll a specific number. You can use it to make sure you land on a good space rather than risking a regular roll of the die.
If Katrina the fortune teller is visiting, landing on a special event space lets you choose a card. I got a card that gave me a bonus any time someone rolled a 1–but the effect only lasts for one week (7 turns).
Joan also appears on Sundays to sell turnips, which you can then sell on Mondays through Saturdays. Each space you land on will have a turnip price. You can choose to sell at that price or hold on to your turnips until later in the week. Any remaining turnips will always be sold on Saturday, though.
There will also be seasonal and holiday events. On fishing tournament days, every space is transformed into a fishing space. Whoever catches the largest fish (fishing is automatic) will get the largest bonus at the ceremony. During the harvest festival, spaces will change into ingredients; everyone works together to collect all of the ingredients needed for Franklin’s dish.
I ended up winning my first game, and I was told that my happy points will be saved to my Amiibo. As I earn more, new outfits and emotions can be unlocked. How exciting. More importantly, I’ve unlocked the ability to play the board game in other months, to experience different seasons and events. There are also other modes to play, but I haven’t unlocked those just yet.
So how is the board game? In a word, boring. Choosing when to sell turnips and when to use your special cards is really the only semi-strategic moves you can make; everything else is just random. In that way, it’s much like a regular boring board game. And most of the time is spent waiting as the other characters make their moves. There aren’t any fun mini-games, at least not so far. This is nowhere near as fun as a Mario Party game.
Perhaps the other modes will be better. But so far, this game seems like a dud. I do enjoy the graphics and the Animal Crossing charm. But that just makes me want a real Animal Crossing game. The graphics alone aren’t going to cut it.
I will have more coverage of the game in the coming weeks, including a video and likely more blog entries as I try out the other modes. I’ll eventually post a review as well, but not until I’ve thoroughly explored the game. So stay tuned!
Here is a gameplay video of the board game as it appears in the month of April. April Fool’s Day and Bunny Day (Easter) are shown.