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Best Animal Crossing Games, Ranked

Considering I’ve played the series since it was released on Gamecube, and how I’ve just been obsessively playing New Horizons recently I thought I’d put together this post of Best Animal Crossing Games Ranked Worst to Best.

ranking animal crossing games

There’s a reason why Animal Crossing is one of Nintendo's best franchises. Even though the core gameplay has more or less stayed the same for over twenty years, it’s a series that has remained highly successful, even with many gamers anticipating the next instalment- myself included.

Today I am going to rank most of the Animal Crossing games released since the Gamecube, my only exception is that I am not going to rank separately any DLC or updates, like ‘Welcome Amiibo’ for New Leaf and ‘Happy Home Paradise’ as you still need the main game to play them and instead these will be judged as part of the whole game.

8. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival
best animal crossing games

It’s the game that could have been! Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival was the series' take on the party game genre, trying to mimic Mario Party in its own unique way and although the game seemed like a good concept on paper, the game was poorly executed- and with mixed to negative reviews from critics and fans alike, it’s clear that Nintendo clearly missed the mark with this game.

Yes, the game does look nice and kept it’s cute aesthetics that the game is known for, however it was clearly a bore fest cash grab clearly put out to sell the then newly released amiibo cards, as this game heavily utilised them. Let’s hope that one day Nintendo can deliver us a party styled Animal Crossing that is fun and entertaining

7. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
worst to best animal crossing games

Released in 2017 when mainstream popular franchises were trying to take over the mobile market, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp came at a time when we were suffering a drought and were desperately clinging onto the next main game release, (yup it was that long).

This free-to-play game was available on most mobile devices and saw the player decorating their campsite, instead of island, and inviting other characters to visit them. There were many daily tasks that the player could fulfil and it was the perfect game to play on the go.

6. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
best to worst animal crossing games

Released in 2015 for the 3DS, Happy Home Designer was the first ever spin off game from the franchise. This game breaks away from the traditional formula that we are used to and instead heavily focuses on a home design element.

Although the game was initially met with mixed reviews, it has since been popular amongst fans and can be credited in making furniture arrangement and home design in New Horizons a lot easier.

5. Animal Crossing: City Folk
all animal crossing games ranked

Seen as the weakest out of the series due to its lack of innovation and stagnant gameplay, CIty Folk aka Let’s go to the City was released in 2008 for the Wii and tasked the player with growing their town, however although the core gameplay itself had not changed, they did introduce a new city location that they could travel to via the bus.

I loved this aspect as you got to break away from collecting critters and pulling weeds and solely relax in a setting that was different from anything we ever saw before. To its credit, this game still boasts its original charm that the franchise is known for as well as one of the best soundtracks throughout the entire franchise.

4. Animal Crossing: Wild World
animal crossing games ranked worst to best

Initially released for the original DS back in 2005, this game slightly expanded on the core gameplay whilst losing a lot of in-game events and features that we enjoyed in the original Gamecube game.

Character customisation took a step up, allowing players to choose their character’s appearance and style, dressing them in their own clothes and scrapping those awful hats! This game also introduces a cute cafe to relax in and an observatory. Although the game has since gained a cult following with plenty of cozy gamers, the graphics haven’t really aged well.

3. Animal Crossing: Population Growing
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The game that started it all for many of us. Originally an old port that was released for Japanese audiences on the N64, western players got to experience this soon-to-be phenomenon in 2001 when it was released on Gamecube.

Very unique for its time, this game set the initial tone for the entire franchise and heavily revolved around communication and building a community with other villagers through events and holidays.

2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
best animal crossing games ranked

When the highly anticipated New Horizons was released in 2020, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Released during a pandemic which saw a lot of us stuck at home, this game acted as a way to escape the four walls of our claustrophobic homes.

This game heavily revolved around island customisation, allowing players to truly customise their island to reflect their creativity, along with the Happy Home Paradise DLC and 2.0 update, this game is peak customisation. Despite enjoying this game and revelling in its charming, crisp graphics, there are many beloved features (and characters) that are missing and it just feels a tad charmless compared to our last entry!

1. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
best animal crossing games, ranked worst to best

I’m sure that a lot of people saw this entry coming, and I hope plenty of you agree with this placement. Following off of the so-so success of City Folk, New Leaf had the gruelling task of bringing this seemingly dead horse of a franchise back to life and let’s just say, it succeeded.

Released in 2013 for the Nintendo 3Ds, this game manages to combine the traditional gameplay that we loved whilst adding new features, such as outdoor furniture and town ordinances, along with mini games. New Leaf highly improved on what was becoming a stagnant series and breathed life into the franchise, allowing us to enjoy it for many more years.

These were all the Animal Crossing titles ranked worst to best, do you agree?


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