Announced during Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct online broadcast, and made available on the Wii U eShop shortly afterwards, Animal Crossing Plaza is a downloadable app that lets Wii U owners communicate with Animal Crossing: New Leaf
players the world over in the cutest way possible.
A companion piece to the 3DS smash hit Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the plaza is essentially a themed version of the Wii U’s home screen ‘WaraWara Plaza’, and sees your TV populated by a menagerie of animal villagers and special characters from the 3DS game (including laid-back tunesmith K. K. Slider and helpful secretary Isabelle) instead of Miis. Each character will offer tips, speak their mind, or perhaps relay messages and pictures from other users as they mill around the vibrant town square. You can select one villager as your favourite, and also add your own Animal Crossing details such as your name and Dream Suite address so other mayors can visit a dream version of your town on their 3DS. It’s worth pointing out that the world of Animal Crossing looks wonderful in HD, and it’s certainly a good bet that a Wii U version will be on the cards at some point in the future, especially considering how successful the 3DS instalment has been.
Of course, there’s a bit more to it than just picking out your favourite villagers 'Where’s Wally'-style (although that in itself is surprisingly enjoyable), and the app’s main purpose is to provide a link to the brand new Animal Crossing Community area of Nintendo’s take on social media, Miiverse
. This community is home to players’ posts, photos and hand drawn pictures as well as announcements and updates from the Animal Crossing development team, and will likely soon become one of the busiest corners of Miiverse given the huge amount of love that exists for the series.
Thanks for the tip, Harriet.
You can access the Animal Crossing Miiverse Community at any point while using the Plaza app, and by selecting one of the animal characters with a quick tap of the touch screen, you can then add and view posts solely about that character a bit like adding a hashtag to a tweet. If you want to upload your favourite in-game photos from New Leaf (taken by pressing ‘L’ and ‘R’ on the 3DS simultaneously) to Miiverse too, then Nintendo’s got you covered. All you have to do is pop your SD card from your 3DS into your Wii U (rather disappointingly there’s no wireless transfer option) and you’re all set to import pictures and save them into one of 12 albums. From there you can attach your snaps to Miiverse posts so other players around the world can see how many fossils you’ve collected or how fetching your new outfit is. Perhaps more useful though, is the ability to share QR codes containing custom patterns and scan them into your 3DS straight from the Wii U gamepad.
Animal Crossing Plaza is undoubtedly a pleasant surprise addition to the Wii U, and we’ve had quite a bit of fun just playing spot the villager and pondering a potential HD release for the series down the line. Its usefulness is lessened for those Wii U owners who don’t also own a 3DS of course (as it’s really designed to be used in tandem with New Leaf), and the app will only be available until the end of 2014 which is a bit of a shame, but all in all it’s a great (and free) way for budding mayors to communicate with each other and swap tips for creating the perfect town. Now, where's Tom Nook wandered off to?
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