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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2012) is a life simulation game where you design your dream village in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals. Like other Animal Crossing games, you design and decorate your home, collect and sell items, chat and play with villagers, and partake in activities throughout the days and weeks. In this game, however, you are the mayor of the whole village, giving you even more freedom to create an imaginative, beautiful haven.

You play a new arrival to a small town, hoping to move into your new home, but upon arrival, you're mistaken for the new mayor. Although the premise is different, play retains the typical open-ended, imagination-led structure of the series; hunting for insects and valuable items to sell, decorating and extending your house, chatting with the goofy villagers, or partaking in different events and games. Because of your position, you also get to redesign the landscape and help plan out the town's expansion with new public buildings and structures.

As with all Animal Crossing games, the real-world clock dictates the time, season, and day, with different events and special occasions, like Christmas, Halloween, and Easter occurring throughout the year. Whether it's to water and propagate your plants, experience the first snow of winter, or hunt for rare insects to catch and collect, there's always something new to come back to.

The result is a laidback but deeply immersive escape where you can run your own whimsical rural village, that still remains connected to the real world through the passing of time. It's a way to escape from the stresses of life for short bursts each day for years.

Our examiner, Ben Kendall, first checked Animal Crossing: New Leaf 6 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 12 weeks ago.
There are lots of games similar to Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Here are some we picked for you:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Collecting, Narrative and Simulation game with Adventure, Communication, Role-Play and Sequencing elements. You can play with 1 to 4 players in the same room or as a 4-player online game. You can play with your friends via local wireless play, where each person uses their own game and system but you're in the same room, or over the internet. You can visit each other's islands, exchange items, and play alongside each other as you design and do activities. The game also uses StreetPass functionality, letting you visit anyone's village that you come across.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: It takes between half an hour and 1 and a half hours to play a round of this game. The game is designed to be played for an hour or so each day as you check in to see what new activities and events there are to do, as well as continue to improve your town and collect bugs and items.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 3.
Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

In the US, ESRB state: Players have the ability to bonk other characters on the head in a comical manner with toy mallets or butterfly nets. In a handful of scenes, characters can be heard emitting flatulence sounds.

Skill Level

7+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger children enjoy the imaginative fun of creating their dream town, while older children and teens, along with this aspect, also appreciate the finer details of the relationships you form, the designs you create, the activities on offer, and the choices you make.

Account Rating

You don’t need a platform subscription to play this game online.


You can only play this on older systems (Nintendo 2DS|3DS) but can usually find it second hand on eBay. There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
The game was re-released as Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome Amiibo, which was the original game but with added Amiibo support, along with new villagers and slight gameplay changes. 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 08/11/2012, updated in 2016

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Players: 1-4 (4 online)

Genres: Collecting, Narrative, Simulation (Adventure, Communication, Role-Play and Sequencing)

Accessibility: 24 features

Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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