For a free game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp accomplishes a remarkable amount: being able to appeal to millions of players who have never played an Animal Crossing game before, introducing new elements to the franchise, creating a streamlined version of seeing more design options and animal friends than ever before in a relatively short period of time, and simplifying gameplay for all ages and interest levels. Without further ado, let's go camping!

Those who have played Animal Crossing games before know that the gameplay is rather simple. Fishing, bug catching, gathering fruit, and using other tools are all controlled with a singular button, and thus by singular taps in Pocket Camp. Since materials are more important than ever in the mobile title, gathering the staples of the Animal Crossing world requires a little less strategy. The game literally tells the player to tap when the time is right. This may seem too elementary, but for what this mobile game is supposed to be—an amusing and even sometimes tantalizing distraction—instructions enforce what matters in this game: instant gratification.

As such, this game is by no means a New Leaf, in which progress and planning for that 3DS title felt like it equated into more meaningful accomplishments and relationships down the road. No, instead Pocket Camp delivers an experience I think both veterans and newcomers to the series can get behind. For those who have played games in the franchise before, Pocket Camp provides a streamlined way to perhaps meet villagers they have never seen in action before.

It also provides a relatively cheap way to access loads of different furniture sets, because Cyrus the alpaca crafts them from easily accessed bells and materials. Real-life currency can translate into Leaf Tickets to speed up this process even further, but even without spending any cash, players can experience new parts of Animal Crossing quicker than ever by logging in on their phones a few times per day after the hours of crafting pass or when new prospective campers show up.

This evolving landscape of the campgrounds appeals to newcomers too; looking up the game at different times usually provides something slightly different. A new cat or dog may appear at Breezy Hollow, or a new event like the currently ongoing Jingle-themed festivities may begin. Every action has a significant reaction in Pocket Camp, meaning that helping out an animal or collecting fish, bugs, seashells, and fruit will always get the player closer to unlocking something new, whether it be through animals' requests or the cycling reward system that gives out new materials automatically when milestones are reached.

This perpetuates the self-serving style of gameplay this quick and easy version of Animal Crossing is going for, and I must say, it all makes a lot of sense for a mobile game that many are likely to—and should—pick up for short bursts of amusement every once in a while. Fittingly enough, this game is not built for long play sessions, but for a game in which the days are always changing, Pocket Camp is smartly designed enough to court all kinds of animal lovers throughout our days too.

What about you? Have you picked up Pocket Camp, and what do you think about this title as a mobile venture? Share your friend codes with other commenters and get ready for Toy Day coming this month!