By: Ashley Quirke
At first glance, the newest title in the Animal Crossing series, Amiibo Festival, kind of looks like a cute way for Nintendo to sell Animal Crossing Amiibo… And that’s exactly what it is. Animal Crossing Amiibos are necessary to even play this game. One per player. Players scan them on the game pad every turn to roll the dice. Cash-grab aside, Amiibo Festival is a cute, feel good game, and a nice way to kill an hour or two.
First off, the game is basically a board game for the Wii U. Players use Animal Crossing amiibo as game pieces to move around the board collecting Happy Points and Bells (the Animal Crossing world’s currency). The object of the game is to have the most happy points at the end. All the money you have is also converted in to happy points at the end of the game, so better start saving! In general, a game lasts one “month”, and each turn counts as one day. As players move around the board, there are generally 6 types of spaces you can land on. A space that gives/takes away Happy Points, a space that gives/takes away Bells or a space that gives/takes away both. Upon landing on a space, a little scene with a description of what happened to the player’s character that day will occur. These are absolutely adorable for the most part. Even on days where you lose money or happy points, it’s usually for a good cause.
Throughout the month, characters from the Animal Crossing series will sometimes come to visit for the day. If you land on a spot with their face on it, you can interact with them. This usually involves a quick mini-game – like playing Higher or Lower when Katie comes to visit. There are also various competitions throughout the month. For example: in the fishing contest, players must try to land on a spot with a golden fishing rod in order to have the best shot at winning. These events are small, but helps to break up the month a little.
So everything is cute and happy for about a week into the game. You and your friends are smiling and laughing about what’s happening to your in-game characters. Then it happens. Everything goes south. Tensions will run high. Friends will become enemies and your game will never, ever be the same.
This monster shows up.
That’s right. Her name is Joan, and she exists purely to ensure the rest of your game is fuelled by rage.
Ok, ok. Maybe I’m overdoing it just a little bit. I’ll let you be the judge when you play. In the meantime, let me tell you a bit about the Stalk Market. Basically, at this point in the game, all your money should be going towards buying turnips at the beginning of the week. For the rest of the game, every space you land on will have a number on it, as well as an event like normal (getting bells/happy points, etc.). This number will indicate how much you are able to sell your turnips for that day. You always want to try to sell them for more than you paid for them. Just like the real stock market, the Stalk Market can crash! Every day, there’s a chance that the status of the Stalk Market could change. It can either be steady (Only small differences between what you paid and the numbers on the board), Fluctuating (Large differences between what you paid and the numbers on the board) or crashed (You will be lucky to break even with what you paid). The Stalk Market will either make you or break you in Amiibo Festival, so let’s hope it doesn’t crash! There are cards that players can acquire to be able to adjust the state of the Stalk Market, but let’s just say that Joan usually finds a way of coming out on top. She’s not meant to be a villainous character, but when the stalk market returns to crashing right after you’ve played a card to make it fluctuate, you’ll see why she gets some hate.
The game also comes with mini-games that can be unlocked through playing. These are generally short, but really cute and a lot of fun. Some of them use the Animal Crossing Amiibo cards, which seems a little cash-grabby to me, but it works out fine for people who would be collecting anyways.
Stalk Market rage aside, this is a cute game that’s a lot of fun to play with friends that are fans of the Animal Crossing series. Gameplay can get a little monotonous sometimes, but the event spaces tend to help with that, and the extra mini games make good time as well.