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Animal Crossing is a game that you’ve either played a lot of or haven’t played at all. Either way, the franchise has had a big impact on Nintendo. But which ones are the best? We’ll tell you below.
#9 Animal Crossing Plaza (discontinued)
It’s not a good sign when a game in a series is discontinued. Not that you can’t find it, it’s not available anymore, period.
To be fair, this wasn’t a new game; it was more of a social network deal. This entity came out during the age of the Wii U and was meant to tie into the MiiVerse service to allow players to interact with other players who loved Animal Crossing. Specifically, a particular 3DS title we’ll talk about later.
You could drop messages, get updates on the game, and so on. Sadly, when the Wii U shut down its online service, Animal Crossing Plaza went with it.
#8 Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival
The following two entries are from the “dark period” of the franchise’s history. Why? Because the 3DS entry was killing it in every way, Nintendo decided that they wanted to expand it but couldn’t think of fun ways to do it.
Enter Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival, a game that was pretty much a Mario Party ripoff, and fans weren’t happy about that. Or the fact that you needed Amiibo to get the whole experience. They released eight figures for this game, which shows just how much faith they had in the idea.
Sadly, the execution was terrible. As a result, the game didn’t sell well, and it was a rare commercial failure for the franchise.
#7 Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer
Commercially, this game did well, and it was more akin to the rest of the franchise than the previous entry. However, Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer still rubbed gamers the wrong way because it felt more like a DLC game versus a new title.
The gameplay is simple: you go to a village and decorate the characters’ houses so they’re happy in their new homes. You have a lot of freedom and many options to choose from, which people enjoyed.
But there wasn’t a challenge or a tangible reward for doing the gameplay. Ironically, a later Switch title would get a “sequel” to this game, but in DLC form. Glad they learned their lesson.
#6 Animal Crossing Pocket Camp
Now we get to the good titles in the franchise. First, we’ll start with the sole mobile title for the game, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. The title is a nice change-up to the franchise, as instead of a village, city, or island to decorate and call home, you have a campsite.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s a nice-sized campsite, and like the others in the series, you have plenty of options to make the campsite shine and be personal to you.
The game was part of Nintendo’s “mobile initiative,” and it was successful. By 2020, people had sunk $150 million into the title, and you can still play it today.
#5 Animal Crossing City Folk
Why is Animal Crossing City Folk lower on the list than some of its earlier counterparts? While the game was fun and sold well enough, critics and fans agreed it was a bit “too much” like the other games.
While there are improvements, visuals, and certain game mechanics, it felt more like a “quality-of-life” set of changes versus “dramatic moves” to make the game better. Considering that this title was on the Nintendo Wii, they missed an opportunity to make the game appeal to everyone who had the platform. The system sold over 100 million units, yet the game only sold 3 million.
The game wasn’t a failure, but it was a game that treaded water.
#4 Animal Crossing Wild World
Animal Crossing Wild World was the first sequel for the franchise, and it remains one of the best-selling games of the series. The DS title expanded on what the original did in numerous ways.
Easily the one that influenced the rest of the series was the real-time gameplay. That was because they tied the game to the clock on the Nintendo DS, so the game would change the time of day, have seasons, and have holiday events for fans to enjoy.
The game also featured a high level of customization for the player character so their villager could be “more their style.”
The dual screens also helped players manage everything to a simple yet elegant degree.
#3 Animal Crossing
The history of the original Animal Crossing title is fascinating. The game was supposed to be an RPG, believe it or not, and was developed as such until certain pieces of technology failed the team.
Then, designer Katsuya Eguchi realized they had an opportunity to do something different, very different. So they changed it into a life simulator that would set the trend for many games. The idea was to make the game accessible to those who hadn’t played video games a lot and just wanted a simple experience.
The result was critical praise and good sales. In addition, it opened up the casual gaming market to more titles of this nature, which gave people more reasons to try things out.
#2 Animal Crossing New Leaf
Before our No.1 title came out, Animal Crossing New Leaf was the epitome of everything great about Animal Crossing.
You might even say that this culminated everything the series had built toward. The game puts you in the role of mayor in a town you just moved to. Alongside building up your own life, you would help other villagers and partake in all sorts of events.
The game was so popular that it sold over 13 million units on the 3DS. Plus, it was known to be one of the most-played games on the system in terms of players returning to the title. There was content year-round, and people enjoyed it until another game came around.
#1 Animal Crossing New Horizons
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Animal Crossing New Horizons is the No.1 game on this list. After all, it’s the best-selling game in the series! Not to mention, it was everyone’s “best friend” during the early days of the pandemic.
It sold over ten million copies in a month due to the pandemic lockdown happening right before the game’s launch! It’s the second-best-selling game on the Nintendo Switch, and it’s only been out for two years!
People loved this game and had their own private island that they could build and shape to whatever they desired.
The real question here is, what will Nintendo do to top this game? It won’t be easy.