Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (JP) is a spin-off game in the Animal Crossing series that primarily focuses on the house designing aspects seen in the previous games, and expands greatly on it. Unlike in the past games, Happy Home Designer doesn't run on real time.
In Happy Home Designer, the player will work at Nook's Homes as a real estate agent, designing houses for villagers. Though the exact details aren't known, it appears that special characters from past games will be making a reapperance, such as Isabelle, Kapp'n, and more. You can also design a variety of different public buildings in the effort to build Main Street. It has been confirmed that every villager from New Leaf will be returning, alongside a few new ones; every single villager can have their house built, meaning that over 300 unique houses can be built. That does however mean that unlike the other Animal Crossing games, Happy Home Designer can actually be 'completed'.
After being inducted into Nook's Homes, the player is then given the job of designing houses for the villagers, with each one wanting a specific theme. The process of designing the houses has been greatly expanded on, with the bottom screen serving as a way to easily move furniture around with greater precision. The catalog has also seen a massive increase, with items now being sorted into categories to make them easier to find. Unlike all the other games in the series, Happy Home Designer doesn't run on a real time clock, and instead separates time into 'days', which the player can alter at will. Other general additions and improvements include:
- A revamped character customizer, with more options, and the ability to choose your skin color from the start.
- You can choose the locations of houses you build for villagers.
- You can design public buildings, such as a School, or a shop.
- You can design the outside of villager's homes too, as almost all furniture can be placed outdoors
- Much more.
It has also been confirmed that QR codes will return, and they work the same as New Leaf, meaning that any QR code that works in one game will also work in the other. The game will also have some sort of connectivity to Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival, but it is unknown what that is at the moment.
Happy Home Designer brings the launch of amiibo cards, which unlike the typical figure-like forms of regular amiibo, focus mainly on functionality, with the cards being at a low price point. The first wave of Animal Crossing cards launches alongside Happy Home Designer in all territories, and features 100 unique cards separated into blind bags of 3 (Japan) or 6 (US and Europe). While not all details of amiibo card functionality are currently known, Nintendo has said that scanning in amiibo cards of villagers will allow the player to decorate the home of that villager, which is already available in-game. Swiping in after the home is finished brings the villager(s) to the house, which can then be interacted with. Nintendo claims that all villagers will have cards, plus most special characters, meaning that there will be 300+ different amiibo cards. Scanning in the Villager amiibo will net you a gold Villager statue item, which is then added to your catalog. The physical Animal Crossing amiibo are also supposed to have functionality, but that is not yet known.
In Japan, reception for the game has been strong. The game got a large amount of positive reviews, with many journalists praising the amount of customizability available. Some more negative reviewers criticized the lack of a grading system, and felt like the animals were to easy to please. On Metacritic, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer got a metascore of 66/100 based on 60 critic reviews.
First week sales were 522,556 in Japan with the amiibo cards being nearly sold out everywhere. The game has now reached 3.47 million lifetime sales, as of September 2020.
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- Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is actually the first ever Animal Crossing spin-off game, with the second one, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival releasing shortly afterwards.
- There have been 2 different promotions revealed for the Japanese version of the game. A Monster Hunter collaboration, which introduces a new Palico themed villager among other Monster Hunter themed items, and a 7-11 collaboration, which introduces another new villager alongside other 7-11 themed items.
- The game launched alongside an external NFC reader for the 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS, which couldn't scan amiibo before.
- There is a Happy Home Designer themed New 3DS faceplate.
- There is a Happy Home Designer 3DS theme in Japan; it is unknown if it will come to other regions.
- There is a special edition Happy Home Designer New 3DS XL releasing in all the territories.
- This was the first game that posthumously features Satoru Iwata in development.
- Metascore for Animal Crossing: Happy Home DesignerMetacritic, Retrieved February 19, 2020