I have a confession to make. I have never played any of the Animal Crossing games. I know several friends who really like them, and they seem to appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike, but somehow I’ve never got around to trying them. So when Nintendo sent us a download code for Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, their new Animal Crossing-themed Wii-U game, I went into it with no pre-conceived ideas or expectations at all.
First things first – Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is different from all other Animal Crossing games. I understand that the previous Animal Crossing games were more like village simulators, but Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is more like a board game. If you’ve played Mario Party 10 you’ll be right at home with this game as well, but I also think it’s very accessible for anyone who hasn’t played this kind of game before.
Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival can be played with anything between 1 and 4 players. Each player must have an Animal Crossing Amiibo to play the game, which is why when you buy it you get 2 Amiibo figures as well as the game disk. It’s also why it’s not available for download from the Nintendo eShop – you have to buy the retail copy of this one.
The basic game in Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is that each player takes it in turn to roll the virtual dice (by placing their Amiibo against the Wii U game pad), and then moves their in-game character along the squares of the board. The square the character lands on last will in some way gain or lose them Happy Points (what you need to win the game) and/or bells (the currency of the game), and this outcome is either fixed, in which case a little bit of a story is told and the result is given, or the player gets to play a mini game where the outcome depends on how well they do in the mini game. You can tell from the board whether you’re going to land on a good square (pink) or bad square (blue) in advance, and at junctions in the path you make the decision on which way to go.
The gameplay is divided into days and weeks, with the full game playing out over a month. A day is the time it takes all the players to take one turn, and the winner of the game is the player who has the most Happy Points at the end of the month. For the 4 player game Nintendo suggest it will take about 1hr 15 minutes to play the whole game, but if you’re time limited you can choose to play for a specific duration, rather than play the full game, and the winner then becomes the player who has the most Happy Points at the end of that time.
To add variety to the game there are special events that take place over the course of each week. There is a simple trading game where each player can choose to spend their bells on turnips, and then each space they land on during that week offers a price for their turnips that may or may not be more than they originally paid for them. Then each week there is usually a visitor to the village who changes what some of the game board squares do and gives chances to win “cards” which can then be used to change your fortunes in the game (for example, one card might allow to roll with a dice that just has the numbers 4, 5 and 6 on it).
Although the overall winner is the player who gets the most Happy Points, there are many other challenges through the game that other players might win. So even if you don’t win, you might be the master turnip seller, or the champion fisherman. All this means that this is a great game to play together as a family, as even the youngest members can join in, and have a go, and there is plenty to enjoy together.
We’ve been thoroughly enjoying playing Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival together, and I’d definitely recommend it for family play.
Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is available from all the usual online and high street stores. I’ve found it priced anywhere between £29 and £45, so it definitely pays to shop around to find the best price. It’s currently selling on Amazon* for £29.99
Disclosure: We were provided with a copy of Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival and 4 Amiibo figures for review purposes. All words and opinions are my own. Amazon links (marked with *) within this review contain my Amazon affiliate identifier – if you make a purchase after clicking I will receive a small commission payment at no additional cost to you.