Thursday, 3 December 2015

Nintendo Wii U - Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival


Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game

One of our favourite game on the big screen, of course we are excited! And we can finally play together within the same copy of the game too! We have loved Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, and Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival didn't disappoint either, which we like even more than Mario Party 10!


Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Left: Nintendo UK Family Bloggers Pack
Right: Animal Crossing amiibos and amiibo cards
Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival (pegi 3; basic pack is RRP £49,99; other bundles also available) comes with the Wii U exclusive game, Isabelle and Digby amiibo figures, 3 amiibo cards and 2 free amiibo display cases (see Nintendo web store for more information). Like all Animal Crossing game, players play in an animal living town, but this time, the town has turned into a massive game board.

To play the game, players will need to use Animal Crossing amiibo figures, and to play the mini-games, they will need the Animal Crossing amiibo cards as well, which are included in the basic pack so no additional purchases are required unless you want to play as other characters or have more people to play together of course.


The Board Game:

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
  • Before they visit the "town", players are to roll for the playing order

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
  • Players can set a time limit before the game stops, which turn the game into a kind of race. We never tested this out because we like to take our time, but I can see the benefit of this especially for kids who have a shorter attention span!

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
The start of the game

  • Normally, pink tiles are good and purple tiles are bad

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game

  • Players can check what tiles they might land on before choosing a new path or rolling the dice

Aim and Terms:
Up to 4 players (single players will play against 3 computer players) are to compete against each other to collect the most Happy Points. Players will take turn to play, and once everyone has had their turn, a "day" (one round) will be over and the next begins. This will continue for a whole "month" (total number of rounds) before the game finishes.

Players can collect or lose Bells (Animal Crossing currency) and/ or Happy Points while going through the board. Collecting bells is important too as 1,000 Bells can be converted into 1 Happy Point, which will be done when the last "day" of the "month" has finished.


Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
  • When a player land on the same spot as another player, something different than normal will happen that affects both players. This can be good/ bad for both players, or good for one and bad for the other (Grrrr!)

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Left: Player gained both Bells and Happy Points                  Right: Player lost both Bells and Happy Points
Basic Tiles:
Generally, to move around the board, a player will roll a dice to see how far they can move, and the spot they land on will indicate what will happen to them. Once the player has landed on the spot, a short story will pop up to tell everyone what happened to the player's character, that made them gain or lose Bells and/ or Happy Points (see above images).

Some of these stories are quite funny, and occasionally you will find something amazing happening, such as collecting 90,000 Bells! That's 90 Happy Points, which will make the player ahead of the rest by miles (Abby:"That's unfair!")!


Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
  • Landing on a special character event spot (see below regarding the turnip price indicator)

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
  • Dr. Shrunk the comedian (his jokes are so cold/ dry!) freely gives a random Move Number Card a player can use (using any cards in the game require Bells) to move a number of spots indicated by the card. He also gives a positive or negative card depending on the player's luck, which I think is to change pink/ purple tiles to purple/ pink tiles


Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
  • Katrina the fortune teller gives a good (pink at the top) or bad (purple at the top) fortune card for free, which features a number that, when rolled by any players, will give/ take Bells or Happy Points to/ from the player carrying the card

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
  • Every player will gain extra Happy points on the Fishing Tournament "day", but which tile they land on will affect how many points they get

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Left: Players can buy special cards from Redd for 100 Bells

  • Every "month" there are 2 Double Dice Days (11th and 22nd of each month) and an Opposite Day. Players are given 2 dice to roll on Double Dice Days, and on Opposite Day, players will move backwards on the board and pink/ purple tile will have the effect of a purple/ pink tile. 
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
  • Phineas (usually an achievement badge giver in Animal Crossing series) gives Bells and/ or Happy Points out to either 1 or all players, depending on the wheel turned

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Thanksgiving event
Different month have different events, especially the seasonal ones
  • Seasonal events like Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas (or Toy Day in Animal Crossing) happens in Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival as well. Players are generally told to collect something by landing on or passing by specific tiles.
  • There is a Birthday event too, where Happy Points will be given if landed on the spot.

Special Event Tiles:
On the odd days and months, special characters will visit the town and randomly change some or all of the tiles on the board to a special one (see above images). We like it that these special events spice things up on the board game, making it more interesting.

Our favourite is of course the seasonal events, so we always choose a specific month (players can choose the month they want to play in) to play on that has them. I'm not sure about Abby but my least favourite has to be Opposite Day. It took me a few wrong choices before I got the hang of it! It's still fun of course.


With special characters events, as they only last 1 "day" (although some will appear twice a month), players don't necessary get a chance to land on the special events tiles. Abby has been mumbling about not getting an opportunity to get a card, until she get it and was all happy again. However, using these cards require Bells and since it's not always necessary, we don't always use them.


Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Wriggly Gyroid
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Left: Gyroids greyed out on mini map    Right: Stamp Collection completed (touch screen in-game image)
Stamps Collection:
To make the board game even more fun and give the players a useful choice when they go around the board, passing by junctions, players can find a Gyroid (totem looking characters) at each corner of the board game, waiting for players to pass by and collect their stamp.

Collecting stamps are very very important in the game because players can collect a minimum of 60 Happy Points by completing the image (4 stamps), and a further 5 Happy Points each time they pass by a visited Gyroid again. Gyroids will be greyed out on the player's mini map after they have passed by them already, so that they can see which Gyroid they still need to visit.


Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Joan giving out free turnips
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Left: Stalk Market prices have crashed   Right: Stalk Market prices are stable
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Left: Buying turnips     Right: Selling turnips
Turnip Stalk (get it?) Market:
To complicate things a bit further (and make the game a bit more fun and educational!), we can't forget the Turnip Stalk Market that has been featured in the other Animal Crossing games. It wasn't affecting players much in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but it can change your winning position within a week in Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival.

Every Sunday, Joan will visit the town and sell turnips. She will give each player a lot of 10 turnips for free on the first Sunday of the month, and players are given an opportunity to buy (every Sunday) more lots of 10s from her at a set price (this changes every Sunday).

During the next 6 days (Monday to Saturday), players need to keep an eye on the tiles they land on every day, which indicates the turnip selling price for that particular tile, on that particular day. It helps if players remember the buying price, and try to sell the turnips (before Saturday when they will rot) at the highest price possible. This involves guess work of course, because the Stalk Market is always changing! But if you can sell them at a higher price, you can make a lot of money out of it, meaning lots of Happy Points.

Each price per tile is also coloured in either purple, which means the selling price is lower than the buying price, or pink, which means that the selling price is higher than the buying price. Abby was a bit confused when she tried to sell turnips that was given to her for free. She still assumed that purple is a loss and pink is profit, so we stopped the game for a bit and had a talk about when cost is 0, anything you make from it, even a penny, is a profit. I do love these educational moments, although I'm not sure whether she is as well!

I'm personally very conservative about investments like this though, after all there is a bit of gambling involved because no one knows what will happen the next day. So I always buy a small amount, especially when the buying price is over 100 Bells!


Happy Points and Happy Tickets:


Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Blue player is way ahead because she gained 90,000 Bells from landing on the "grow money tree" story!
And she has also invested in 90 turnips!
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
End of the game - Bells turned into Happy Points
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Happy Points levels amiibo characters up, and the information is stored in the amiibo figurine
Expressions stored inside the amiibo figurine. Can be used before rolling a dice in Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival
(I accidentally changed Isabelle's name to Izzy. Oh well)
When the "month" ends, Happy Points will be calculated, and apart from finding out who has won the game, the Happy Points will also be uploaded to the amiibo figurine. Leveling the amiibo up with Happy Points will unlock new outfits and expressions for the character, and it can bring the Happy Points to the main amiibo Festival screen to turn them into Happy Tickets, which players can use to unlock mini-games, as well as upgrading the game board, which I've only just found out! We were busy unlocking all the mini-games, so we will be upgrading the town with new buildings and paths next.


Mini-Games:

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Left: A mini-game unlocked    Right: The full festival unlocked!
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Some of the mini-games They vary from fast to slow place and single to multiple players
I think Abby prefers to play the mini-games than the board game. They are very cute and fun to play, although we are both not so keen in the Acorn Chase (top left image), which is timed while having to run away from a lawn mower, and using the correct amiibo card to move at the same time!

Apart from using amiibo cards to bring in the characters, they are used to move the correspondent character as well, which I'm sure is a new but clever concept! For example, I had to keep Digby up in the air (top right image) by slapping his amiibo card on the reader at the correct time (love his expression!)

Playing mini-games will also give Happy Points.


Overall:

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing board game, Wii U party game
Left: Northern Lights       Right: Star gazing night
We love our Animal Crossing games, and love it that Nintendo didn't just create an Animal Crossing themed board game, but has brought the board game into the town instead. The scenes are beautiful and the graphics quality is quite good (you can see the animals' fur details). You can also see the familiar animals who live in the town around the board game, so it really makes you feel like you are playing in town.

It's a happy game where there are nothing that scares you to make you lose money and/ or points (like, you know, Bowser that Clay isn't happy with, haha *love*), and because there is quite a bit of things each player need to do and focus on themselves, we do forget sometimes that we are competing against each other! A lot is based on luck as well, so we just enjoyed the time playing together.

When the kids want a break from the board game, they can play the mini-games, which are fun and can be challenging as well, so they can play the game for a very long time!

We are also really pleased to be able to play as the famous Isabelle (who jingles when she walks, just like in the other games) and Reese (from Animal Crossing: New Leaf)! Abby is so sweet and didn't mind me taking over Isabelle for a bit. I was focusing on growing her Happy Points so that we can unlock all the mini-games. I of course don't mind to share!

I especially like the Turnip Stalk Market in this game, although I never buy any turnips in other Animal Crossing games! It encourage kids to practise their Maths. For example, if you are given 10 turnips for free, and you buy another 10 for 80 Bells each, it brings the cost down for each turnip to 40 Bells each. And if you sell them at 178 Bells each, you'll make a fantastic profit! So I always try to encourage Abby to get some turnips, and not just focus on the colour of the stalk market price indicator.

Now that we know that we can grow the town like in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, we are loving the game even more and can't wait to play again and add more new buildings and invite animal friends to live in the town! I can definitely do with different paths as well on the game board.

Needless to say, we highly recommend Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival! It's definitely the party game we will be playing during Christmas (December will most likely be popular)!


On a side note, I finally found out that I can take really good in-game pictures using Miiverse for both top and touch screen! Aren't these pictures beautiful? I really wish I have found this out earlier!