One month after its announcement during a Nintendo Direct in late October, Nintendo today has begun rolling out Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp onto iOS [Direct Link] and Android devices worldwide, following a limited soft launch in Australia. The game was announced to be coming out tomorrow, November 22, but it has begun appearing on the iOS App Store for some users in the United States, United Kingdom, Austria, and France, and potentially other markets where it is launching.
The new game is Nintendo's fourth mobile app created in partnership with developer DeNA and follows Miitomo (launched March 2016), Super Mario Run (December 2016), and Fire Emblem Heroes (February 2017).
Similar to the latter two games, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a mobile-optimized version of its franchise's larger console games, and introduces a few new features into the traditional Animal Crossing gameplay to streamline certain actions for one-handed smartphone sessions. For example, both fishing and bug hunting are as simple as tapping on the screen, and the world that the player occupies -- centered around a campsite -- is scaled down from the villages of games like New Leaf and Wild World.
The main mechanic of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp centers on convincing animal villagers to stick around at your campsite by foraging for materials and crafting their favorite furniture. Outside of the camp, there is also a beach, river, island, and other areas that are accessible through your camper, which you can also customize and decorate to your liking. Additionally, you can visit your real friends to check out their camps to give them "kudos" on their decorations and see what items they're selling in their Market Box.
Any time you visit Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, the game will reflect the time of day and current season of the real world, and Nintendo has said it will be launching seasonal events over the holidays with exclusive furniture, outfits, and item decorations for players to collect.
Nintendo's latest smartphone game is free-to-play and uses optional "Leaf Tickets" as in-game currency, but our sister site Touch Arcade got hands-on time with the game in October and found very little reason to spend real money, thanks to gameplay systems that eventually reward players with the items they want if they put in the time to get them.
You can also spend Leaf Tickets to craft any furniture you might not have the materials for, but again, the first session of the game sprays so many of these different things at you that you're really going to need to play the game for a while before you're running low on anything.
There's other "cheater" items (and I'm saying "cheater" with the absolute most exaggerated air quotes imaginable) that you can buy with Leaf Tickets too like fishing nets and honey, which are used to catch loads of fish or bugs in one go- But, it seemed like if I wanted to invest the time I could just fish and catch bugs all day, so this seems like a real weird way to spend premium currency.
Players should note that Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp requires a "persistent internet" connection -- mentioned in the game's "digest" trailer -- which seems to be similar to the always online requirement of Super Mario Run. At the time of Super Mario Run's launch, Shigeru Miyamoto said that Nintendo's reasoning behind this move is to "support security" and prevent piracy.
Looking ahead, Nintendo's next mobile game is rumored to be set within The Legend of Zelda universe, although it's still unclear exactly what the gameplay would be for that app.
For more information on Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, head to Nintendo's website, and you can download the game on the iOS App Store for free beginning today [Direct Link]. For those playing on iPhone X, the game has been optimized to support the 5.8-inch display of Apple's new smartphone.
Update 5:27 a.m. PST: Some users attempting to play the game have been met with multiple communication errors, and it's unclear at this time what might be the issue, although it could be related to a large amount of people trying to start the game following launch.