Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is now over a year old, and a load of changes haven’t transformed it from being the opposite of what I want from an Animal Crossing game.
I play Animal Crossing to relax. When I opened up Pocket Camp today for the first time in many months, I got five alerts for the currently available Fortune Cookies. Fortune Cookies are the game’s version of loot boxes, wrapped in a saccharine sweet package. It wasn’t a good sign.
Yesterday, Pocket Camp added a Cabin, which give players a new location to place furniture and decorate and show off to villagers. Over the past year, the developers have also introduced new terrain options that allow players to change the foreground, middle ground, and background of your camp. There are also more quests to clear each day, including a list of daily tasks you compete to gain the in-game currency of bells and crafting materials. There are more animals, clothing items, furniture, and accessories. There’s just a hell of a lot more game.
Much of what has been added still leads players toward enticements to spend money. Sure, the game is free and the developers need to make some money, but the game is asking for money so often that it just comes off as a sleazy cash grab where you’re constantly being cajoled to buy Leaf Tickets, Pocket Camp’s premium currency.
Those special Fortune Cookies are 50 Tickets each, or five for 250, plus an extra stamp on your Stamp Card. If you don’t have the materials to craft any of the fancy new furniture pieces or clothes, you can use Leaf Tickets instead. In the current Toy Day event, themed around Animal Crossing’s version of Christmas, you have to catch Elf Hats in your garden. If you don’t spend Leaf Tickets to get Loid the Gyroid to do it for you, those Elf Hats might run away. The game also has a Leaf Ticket special going on for the Toy Day event and the one year anniversary, offering discounted prices on bundles.
It’s pretty clear—the game wants you to spend and buy Leaf Tickets, and you’ll probably have to if you want to complete furniture sets or finish this event..
When I look at almost any screen in Pocket Camp now, I’m assaulted by notifications. If it’s not a banner ad for the event going on or the Fortune Cookies for sale, it’s a notification that I’ve completed some kind of daily quest. Looking at that screen stresses me out. I can’t imagine anything further from the peaceful feeling I associate with Pocket Camp. The upcoming Switch Animal Crossing, which will hopefully have none of this, can’t come soon enough.