By Jack Glenn
With less than a week before the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf in the United States, Nintendo's latest 3DS installment in the hugely popular series, many of the game's first reviews have been released, giving insight as to what we should expect come Sunday. So far, the vast majority of reviews seem to be generally favorable, and rightfully so; at nearly 4 million copies, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the best selling 3DS game of all-time in Japan (where the game is titled "Animal Forest: Jump Out" とびだせ どうぶつの森), shockingly surpassing entries in both the Pokemon and Mario series. Such high sales numbers likely foreshadow what we can expect in the U.S. to a certain extent.
IGN (96): "New Leaf is a truly magical game, one that you can easily expect to invest hundreds of hours in over the course of years. Anyone with access to a 3DS should absolutely give this game a try - just be prepared to kiss your “real” life goodbye."
Polygon (90): "Animal Crossing: New Leaf's addicting, ceaseless progression is all in the service of creating an identity for yourself and your surroundings. The expansion of the series' multiplayer capabilities — a vehicle for you to actually showcase that identity — is one of the best things New Leaf has going for it."
Joystiq (90): "Yes, it can be boiled down to "just more Animal Crossing," but the introduction of your mayoral duties, a few housing and furniture enhancements and (let's be honest here) the ability to buy your character pants is enough to make Animal Crossing: New Leaf worth playing, even for series veterans."
Nintendo Life (90): "It is apparent from only a comparably short time — as opposed to months and years — spent with the game that Nintendo has done a great deal to address the complaints of its Wii predecessor, and provided plenty of exciting new features and buildings to enjoy."
Game Informer (85): "New Leaf is one of the most purely pleasant experiences in gaming, free of stressful boss fights, combative multiplayer experiences, or cynicism in any form. Instead, it focuses on clever humor and forming friendships with the residents of your town. Some may find it cheesy or without direction, but I enjoyed this endlessly charming outlier in the current gaming landscape."
GameSpot (80): "New Leaf is an expected sequel that doesn't stray far from its predecessors. Still, the happiness of your citizens is so intoxicating that it's easy to be sucked into this portable adventure as you live out your dreams as an all-powerful mayor."