Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a home away from home, a sensational time sink and a phenomenal success the world over. Unfortunately, you'll also have to put in an inordinate amount of work to earn the staggering sums of money required to get anywhere. To this end, we've compiled a list of seven tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of the game; whether it's making bank or making lasting friends.
7: Fruit Farming
Gathering fruit will likely be one of the key ways to pay off your first home loan, but savvy Animal Crossing players know that money really does grow on trees. Forget your town's native fruit, which sells for next to nothing, because sooner or later you'll be presented with an exotic fruit (by a villager or letter) that sells for around 500 bells a pop. Instead of selling them, grab a shovel and plant them.
Trees don't require watering and grow quickly if you space them out regularly, and you'll quickly be rewarded with your first crop in a couple of days. At which point, it's time to bust out your shovel and axe, massively enlarge your orchard, and cut down all the useless pine trees to replace with tasty fruit-bearing alternatives. Within a week, you'll be able to make 1500 Bells per tree, and continue to expand your earnings exponentially by turning barren ground into money in your pocket, and fruit-less trees into fruitful Bell mines. Remember that you can stack up to nine identical fruit in a single inventory space!
Not only will you create a self-sustaining source of regular income, but your citizens will also be immensely grateful for all the new greenery, which will be reflected in the satisfaction survey. Thanks much!
6: Choose The Right Ordinance
On the face of things, choosing the 'Bell Boom/Wealthy Town' ordinance from the Town Hall is an obvious way of increasing your earnings. Shops (especially Re-Tail) drastically increase the amount of Bells you'll receive for selling items, but it may not in fact be the most profitable and productive way of doing business. If you tend to play before work/during commutes or late at night, it's probably worth setting the down to Early Bird or Night Owl instead, keeping shops and amenities open longer, and letting you get the most out of your village.
In the long run, you'll end up being more productive... and thus, richer. Not to mention more fulfilled, and who can put a price on that?
5: Campsite For Sore Eyes
This one's a neat tip as opposed to a great big earner, but it's worth bearing in mind. At some point, one of your villagers will suggest that you build a campsite somewhere in town, and it's well worth doing so at your earliest convenience. Once constructed, new faces will frequently decide to vacation in your town, and can be chatted to or played with in a selection of minigames - one of which can earn you interesting new items. Better yet, if you like the newcomer, extended conversations can lead to you convincing them to permanently move in if you beat them in a round of charades or rock/paper/scissors.
For such an inexpensive public works project, the campsite certainly earns its keep.
4: Time Is Relative
Time is on your side. Yes it is. Though the inexorable march of the minutes, days and seasons can't be stopped, it can be changed - either by altering your 3DS' system clock or by selecting "I need help with something" when starting a game session.
I personally don't do this, since I find the joy of Animal Crossing is living in a parallel town (it ruins immersion), but it does have a few interesting benefits. For example, if you're playing in the dead of night and know that you can't resume playing until the next afternoon or evening, you could always manually change the time to 9 or 10 the following morning. Doing so will allow you to read your mail, make the most of Tom Nook's Homes, catch daytime fish and generally enjoy your town in the sunlight, something that can be difficult to do when you're actually holding down a real job. Just be sure to set it back to real-time before you resume.
To be honest, I wouldn't recommend doing anything more drastic than moving time forward by a handful of hours (such as fast-forwarding several months to enjoy Christmas in August), since things can get seriously weird if you play around with the space-time continuum. Houses can become infested with cockroaches, weeds can flourish, beloved villagers can move out and paradoxes can force you to become your own grandfather if you're not careful. I may have just made up that last one.
3: Send A Little Love
Sending letters is one of the most fun little touches in Animal Crossing, but remember that you can attach gifts too. It's good practice to do so, since even a bit of fruit or 100 bells can convince the recipient to send something back; perhaps a set item or an eminently saleable piece of furniture. If you happen to have a few items that are destined for Re-Tail, consider gifting them instead and sharing the wealth.
After all, the more your virtual pals like you, the more fun you'll have.
2: Get By With A Little Help
Animal Crossing multiplayer is a little fiddly, but so long as you've got friends registered or swap friend codes, it's a great way of making your towns more fun and profitable with half the workload. Cooperating with a buddy lets you complete any job in half the time, so long as they're willing to help, while foreign towns can be a rich source of exotic fruit or item sets you can't find back home. If you're personally friends with your co-op partner, consider starting a Skype call to really get co-ordinated, especially if you're planting a forest or somesuch.
Don't forget to Streetpass too! Though the model homes initially feel like a gimmick, remember that you can order anything you see in their houses. You'll have to pay an inflated price, but finally getting the last piece in a set is absolutely priceless. Plus, all that walking will earn you plenty of Play Coins for fortune cookies.
1: Methodically Farm The Island
Sustainable fishing be damned, because the Tropical Island will probably become your major earner. Its waters, especially after dusk, teem with some of the most profitable fish in the game; from Whale Sharks that Re-Tail at 13,000 bells to the more menacing varieties that earn upwards of 15K. Moray Eels and Napoleonfish also don't sell for chump change. Once you've trawled the clear blue sea for new species to take back to Blathers in your first expedition trips, scare off the small fry by quickly running past them, then focus in on the biggest game - if it has visible fins, be sure to catch it. So long as you remember to put them in the hamper before you leave, you can make well upwards of 150,000 per hour, and return several times over the course of the day. As a word of advice, don't worry too much about the ribbon eels, which tend to sell for peanuts.
Don't forget the bugs too! As before, be sure to scare off the fruit beetles and other worthless critters in order to attract the bigger Goliath Beetles and other expensive creepie-crawlies.
Finally, though I personally love Cap'n's shanties, remember that you can skip his songs by mashing B. He won't like it, but he won't hold it against you!
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a huge game, and we've barely scratched the surface. There's so much more to take in, from the way luck affects your gameplay experience to feng shui, turnip prices and an entire year of events. If you've got any advice, tips or anecdotes to share, let us know in the comments!