Why Animal Crossing Should Be Harder (But Not By Much)

The Animal Crossing series is a relaxing if somewhat shallow experience. Added depth and difficulty in certain systems could reinvigorate the formula.

Animal Crossing is not a game series known for great difficulty, nor is it a series that requires it. Far from the challenge of something like Dark Souls, the games enjoy a relaxed pace that makes them perfect for anyone wanting to kill a few hours without having to use their brains too much. From idly customizing the layout of a house to fishing in the river and catching a nice boot, the most stressful thing in Animal Crossing is usually the back-breaking debt the player is put under from series mainstay Tom Nook.

Animal Crossing takes place in a variety of locales, but with a few common themes. The player character is always the only human in a world full of animals. They are almost immediately accosted by beloved resident Animal Crossing supervillain Tom Nook, who persuades them to purchase a house and additions for increasingly large sums of bells (the in-game currency), and they can pay off this debt as well as other projects by fishing, harvesting plants, and doing other daily chores and activities.

While the lack of difficulty in Animal Crossing games is relaxing, it can quickly get boring. More challenges in the series (but not too many) could make it more engaging without taking away the laid-back atmosphere. Each of the games’ activities, from archaeology to fishing, is good for killing time and paying down debts. Each could be expanded upon in a way that would make them more challenging and time-consuming, but ultimately more engaging to those looking for more out of their time in the village.

Archaeological Surveys Could Add Depth To The Animal Crossing System

Blathers the Owl will pay handsomely for any fossils the player can dig up around the village. These fossils can be obtained by simply finding a patch of disturbed earth and digging it up with a shovel, provided the player doesn’t dig up one of Animal Crossing‘s many gyroid types. Expanding upon this system could involve making archaeology a project in line with the series’ construction projects. Players could have to section off part of their villages to be a dig site, and have to spend time doing tasks in the digital to actually find a fossil. This expansion would retain the simple nature of archaeology in Animal Crossing without adding too much mechanical difficulty.

Fishing In Animal Crossing Sometimes Fails To Hook Players

The fishing system in Animal Crossing could see many improvements. As it stands, the only difficulty in catching fish lies in rapidly hitting A when a fish gets hooked. The character then instantly pulls anything from a gar to a whale shark out of the water and stows it in their pocket. A proper fishing minigame could see this system improved and be more engaging to players. Once a fish is on the line, a minigame whose difficulty is determined by how big the fish (with the biggest fish you can catch in Animal Crossing being the most difficult) is and how much the player tugs at the line would make for a much more rewarding experience, making a whale shark feel like more of an accomplishment than simple bluegill.

Making Animal Crossing harder is a delicate proposition. Many fans enjoy the series for the casual, laid-back nature of the games. Putting too much difficulty in could drive away these casual players. However, adding a touch of depth to some of the series’ longstanding systems could reinvigorate them and add difficulty that casual players would find rewarding rather than daunting.

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Michael P
Los Angeles based finance writer covering everything from crypto to the markets.

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