The Animal Crossing Direct has taken place, and revealed a surprisingly extensive update for Animal Crossing: New Leaf. We knew that the 'Welcome amiibo' update and new edition would introduce the figures and cards into the much-loved 3DS game, but Nintendo went further with new minigames and additional features to jump into.
First of all, the update is available right now, so it's worth getting that downloaded right away. Below, also, are the Direct broadcasts and some extra trailers.
'Western' Animal Crossing Direct
Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo New Features Trailer
Japanese Animal Crossing Direct
Japanese Animal Crossing amiibo Showcase
So, what are these new features? Taking the lead from Nintendo's press releases and websites, let's split things up into amiibo and non-amiibo additions.
For starters, as you'd expect the game will support all existing Animal Crossing amiibo, including the figures that rolled out with Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival and the cards of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. The figures, though, have one extra feature over the cards, which we'll get to below.
The first thing to do is to find a magic lamp; this will unlock Wisp and, with it, the ability to scan amiibo. You can scan once a day to invite a character to live in your town, or they can just visit and leave you a gift. Once you've accessed Wisp a new area in the town truly comes into play.
The RV Campground will appear in your game with the update (and you don't strictly need amiibo for this area to appear); it's run by the hippy Harvey. You can have interactions with new characters here, and amiibo that are scanned visit in rather snazzy RVs. A nice touch is that amiibo from a couple of other IPs bring unique visitors - so far this includes Splatoon and The Legend of Zelda figures, which bring special RVs and some particularly neat outfits and characters.
Scanning an Animal Crossing figure (not a card) also gives you great odds of receiving special Wii U and New 3DS in-game items; these can also be bought with fortune cookies at the Nooklings' shop, but that'll naturally take more effort.
The new games are 'Desert Island Escape', unlocked with the Wii U item and a fun spin on an amiibo Festival-style game. The New 3DS item unlocks the Animal Crossing Puzzle League, which at its core appears to be a match-3 game. In both cases scanning amiibo (cards and figures) adds participants and/or bonus abilities into the game.
Other New Features, no amiibo Required
MEOW (Mutual Exchange of Wealth) coupons can be earned from Harvey in the RV Campground by completing tasks (such as gathering items, weeding and so on), and can be redeemed on special items at the campground or from visitors.
The amiibo Camera mode may mention the NFC range, but can also be used without scanning in extra characters. This is a simple camera app where you can have game characters appearing in real-world photos, an idea Nintendo's used a few times on 3DS. Photos can be shared to social media using the Image Share tool, as well.
Some extra features are there to simply make life easier, too. You now have a 'storeroom' where you can hoard more items. Decorating your home is easier too with increased customisation, a feature lifted from Happy Home Designer. Linking Happy Home Designer save data also unlocks 20 'giant furniture' pieces to buy, too.
Those are the key features in the new, and free, update to New Leaf. Let us know what you think in the comments.