The Bells and the Bees – Tips for Animal Crossing: New Leaf

I love Animal Crossing, and I don’t even care who knows it (I also love Viva Pinata, but I do care a bit more about who knows that.). It’s an amazingly addictive game, and loads of fun. If you’ve succumbed to the urge to buy a copy, here are some tips for getting started as a new Mayor.

1. It. Is. ALIVE!
When you first create your town, the questions you get asked determine more than just your name and town layout. It will restructure your very DNA! *lightning crashing overhead*

Ahem. Yes. Well, maybe not that severe, but the answers you give will determine your facial features. Animal Crossing has recently received online infamy due to the dead-eyed stares of its villagers, but if you want to decide exactly what kind of soulless husk you wish to be, check out this guide.

2. Gear Up
There’s a lot of stuff to buy in Animal Crossing, but the first three purchases to make should always be a bug net, a fishing rod, and a shovel. These three tools will allow you to exploit most of your town’s resources from the get-go, and net (hah!) you some Bells in the process. Personally, I’d get the bug net first – it’s simpler to use than the fishing rod, and bugs are cool. All of these tools are available cheap and early on anyway, so you won’t go without for too long.

3. Walk, Don’t Run
Metaphorically, this means that there’s a certain way to play games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and that way is to be cool, honey-bunny. You can rush around and try and cram as much bell-farming into your playtime as you can, but doing that will burn you out, and turn the game into a boring grind. Animal Crossing is meant to be a calming experience. Take it slooow…

In a more literal sense, I mean walk around your town. Not only are you more likely to spot things this way (like rare bugs or holes in the ground), but you’re less likely to scare them away (the bugs, not the holes.). Charging through flowers will kill them, and is almost certainly going to make bugs and fish scatter. It might be days (or months) before you see them again!

We lost three good men to catch that shark...Just kidding.

We lost three good men to catch that shark…Just kidding.

4. A Man (or Woman, or Cat-Thing) For All Seasons
Your town operates in real-time, with day and night cycles, as well as all four seasons. As such, things are going to change as you play. Butterflies will give way to moths as the sun sets. Snow will fall as the year grows colder. Shops will sell certain items at a discount, or stock things not available for the rest of the year. Keep exploring your town, day in and week out, just to see what’s new.

5. Don’t Mess With the System, Man!
Of course, there’s the chance that waiting is not your cup of tea. Why wait five months for winter when in less than five minutes you can alter the system clock on your DS? Then, like a digital Doctor Who, you’re in the future, stood in snow in the middle of August. Tempting, no? Well there are some reasons not to try this.

Setting the time forward will mess with your town, filling it with weeds, reducing villager happiness, all sorts of negative things. Setting your time backwards might cause some kind of temporal instability in your town, with the villagers wondering how the mayor who has been missing for infinity-plus years is suddenly back, and why he hasn’t said hi for infinity-plus years. That’s just bad manners.

Time travel. Not even once.

So much colour!

So much colour!

6. Shake That Rooty
OK, I regret that pun. But I regret nothing!

Trees hoard all kinds of goodies. Fruit, bugs, a jacuzzi bathtub. All you need to do is give them a few good shakes, see what falls out. It might be that rug you’ve been looking for! Equally, it might be a kajillion angry bees ready to turn your face into an advert for antihistamines. You’ll just have to take your chances.

Similarly, pay special attention to the rocks in your town. Each day, give them a tap with your shovel. One will shatter and leave behind a precious gemstone, and another will keep giving you Bells as long as you keep hitting it. Because…REASONS!

7. For Science!
You should try and donate your catches to Blathers at the museum right away. Not only will it satisfy the completionist inside of you, but it means you don’t have to worry about it again in the future – you can just sell those rare bugs and fossils for sweet, sweet cash without worrying about depriving the academics their specimens.

You can also use the directional arrows to rotate and zoom the camera whilst inside the museum, so you can get a good look at your catches without worrying about them running away.

Also, puns. A million, million puns.

Also, puns. A million, million puns.

8. Enjoy Your World
This is your town, full of activities and amusing distractions. It’s yours to run and do with as you please. Change shop opening hours, take a tropical island tour, stand under the starry sky and make wishes. There are no high-scores, no skill challenges, no competitive multiplayer (although you should invite all of your 3DS friends to visit your town!) to worry about. Just relax and have fun!

If you have any more tips, please post them below!


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