Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise DLC Casual Review

A DLC that was and Still is Needed

General Info

Release Date: November 5, 2021
Base Game Release Date: March 20, 2020
Rating: E
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform I Played On: Switch
Platform(s) Available On: Switch
Genre(s): Design, Cute(?)

I did purchase this DLC when it came out back in November 2021. I didn’t have this blog at the time so I’m just doing this review as an appreciation post while including my minor criticisms of the DLC. I know this review is super late to the party but ultimately, it’s just for fun~

Synapsis

Taken From Official Site
Happy Home Paradise DLC – Animal Crossing™: New Horizons (animal-crossing.com)

Make their dream vacations come true

Clients with different dream vacation requests will visit a new resort area located in an archipelago, made up of several different islands. You can talk to a client and find out the details of their requests for a vacation home, and then make their dreams happen!

My Personal Highlights

>> Decorating animals’ homes!

>> Get to decorate your residents’ homes

>> Fun, Creative, and cute

>> Something to do off you island

General Thoughts & Observations

I was really excited to hear about the release of this DLC. Back in my 3DS days I LOVED Happy Home Designer (HHD) and played that game more often than the actual Animal Crossing game. The same thing has happened to me with the release of Happy Home Paradise (HHP). I actually have spent more recent time on the DLC than my actual island.

It is fun to be able to design other animals’ houses, especially the ones you would never want to have on your actual island. Like in HHD, there are animals roaming around an area that happen to all desire a vacation home (which I honestly just head-cannon to be their actual home ngl). HHP has increased the number of possible clientele with a core six animals on the beach with additional animals inside other buildings. You can talk to any of them and they will be ecstatic to meet the legendary house decorator!

There is a short story involved as you continue to decorate houses. You get to work for Karlotta (Lottie) and have two coworkers Sigmar (Wardell) and Bono (Niko). My favorite has to be Sigmar! Every ten houses there is a milestone and you get some story in the beginning as well as unlocking more commercial buildings to decorate. As the story progresses you gain more tools and skills to make you houses even better. Some skills included are the ability to change room size, add ambient noises, or cleaning items to give them luster.

When you take on a new client there are typically two to three furniture requirements that go with the theme for that animal. For example, someone might want a space theme and want a rocket ship. Another animal might want a floral theme and request a few different plant-oriented objects. You are only locked into the requirements upon the first design session.

After the first session you can redesign anyone’s house as many times as you want. Every time you will be asked if the theme first chosen fits the house. If you radically changed the theme you can give it a new name that corresponds with your vision. I personally like the challenge of keeping within the confines of the theme so I’ve rarely changed the title.

You get paid with the new currency used in the DLC which is called poki. For every new home you design you get paid 20,000 poki. This base amount can change depending on a randomized circumstance. You also get a smaller amount of poki when you redesign houses. As you progress through the story you eventually get the ability to exchange a finite amount of poki to bells. There is an exchange rate that fluctuates daily so some days you can make significantly more money. Honestly this is how I now primarily earn my bells, through the currency exchange.

Poki are not entirely useless in the DLC island. You can buy items in a little shopping area that change on a daily basis. Eventually you can purchase up to five items per day. Sadly, this is limited to furnishings and not clothing. This can be a great deal especially if you end up having more poki currency than bells.

This game added some new features the most prominent being the roommate system. You have the ability to have two animals share a home by asking if they want to be roommates with one another. Of course, this being Animal Crossing, the animals will always think it’s a great idea and agree. It’s up to you, the player, to make it a great home.

The other new feature is one that effects your island. You now have the ability to use your newfound design skills and design your residents’ homes. This was a game changer because now I can have residents that I previously blacklisted simply due to the exterior of their homes not matching my island’s aesthetics. We can design the exterior and interior for a fee courtesy of Tome Nook.

This game really sparked the overall value of the amiibo cards. For the longest time I never used them, especially when you had to buy an extra reader for the 3DS. It wasn’t worth my time, money, or effort back then. I have since bought a few amiibo cards and have enjoyed being able to decorate the Sable Sisters house, Blathers, or Celeste’s homes. There is no theme for the special characters so you can create one yourself. For example, I made Blathers a Fossil Research lab which was quite fun to create.

This DLC is a really fun expansion and allows for a casual yet purposeful gaming session. I am one of those people that does get somewhat bored with the repetitive nature of Animal Crossing (I can only collect bugs and fish for so long). I love having the ability to just focus on designing houses and appreciate all the decorations and furnishings the game has to offer. It’s great to have alternative activities within the game!

What I Miss from Happy Home Designer

They changed (or simply didn’t include) some of the commercial buildings that were present in in HHD. The ones I would’ve like to have seen would’ve been the hotel or a concert venue. The hotel would’ve been a really nice feature considering we are located in an island paradise. Where do the poor visiting animals stay after their time on the beach?

There are two design related options that are also noticeable due to their absence in this game. I hate how we have no choice in curtains in this game. In HHD you could choose your curtain design separate from the wallpaper. In this game they are synonymous, your curtains are determined by the wallpaper. There are some great looking wallpapers, but I end up never using them because I hate the curtains that come with them. I think this was a mistake because they took away something that really could potentially change the aesthetics of your project.

The second missing thing is the floor plan system. In HHD you could choose a set of floor plans from the get-go and potentially change it every time you decorated an animal’s home. In this game I like how we can fully customize the room size; however, we only get a choice of one main room or a simple two-story home. We do not have the option make a floor plan involving two rooms on the same floor or a basement. I just wish we had the capability to make a back room or a basement instead of being limited to a simple second floor. Some designs would’ve benefited from a basement.

Would I Recommend?

In my opinion this is a must have DLC if you enjoy Animal Crossing or liked the original Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer game for the 3DS. It adds new furnishings, customization, and design choices that were not present in the original HHD. I have ended up often shirking my island representative duties and go straight to the Happy Home Paradise island just to spend some time designing houses.

While I have some minor complaints about some of the features from HHD being taken away HHP as a whole is simply elevated from its predecessor. We have more design options, more animals at one time to choose from, and the addition of the roommate system. I have enjoyed all of the improvements immensely.

I wouldn’t recommend this DLC if you don’t like designing or decorating as a major game feature. This is pretty much all the DLC adds in terms of gameplay to the base game. Honestly that’s the main concern I can imagine some people having. I wouldn’t recommend the DLC if you just really weren’t into the base game itself.

I would recommend the game if you like design or liked the previous game HHD. In my opinion this makes me want to play Animal Crossing more often because it offers something fun and relaxing. I love design and building games so this is the kind of content I enjoy. A strength of this DLC is that it adds the ability to redesign your residents’ homes. This is a huge gamechanger and I love giving my animals the home they deserve! If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon of Happy Home Paradise I would say it’s definitely worth it for the extra content.

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