There are few things I love more in this world than watching HGTV. I could watch all of those shows about people redecorating houses forever and ever (admittedly, I know they are all the same show, just slightly different, but I do not care). I dream of having tons and tons of money to perfectly coordinate my decorations and live in a home designer’s paradise.

However, although I am SUPER great at sitting on the couch and passing judgment on the work of professionals, I imagine that in practice I would not be the best home designer (no matter how much I like to think I would be). Luckily, Nintendo’s new Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer lets kids (and me) design their own rooms with an unlimited budget and tons of fun.


Animal Crossing

In Happy Home Designer, players can show off their style by designing homes for all of the Animal Crossing villagers. My favorite part of the game is designing the interiors—so many weird couches!—but kids can also use their creativity to design outdoor spaces, too, which is super fun!

The game begins with the staff of Nook’s Homes welcoming their newest team member: you! Players will go through some brief training with Lottie, where she has you design a room for her and walks you through the process. Spoiler alert: the room you’re designing is FOR Lottie’s house, so it’s the ultimate test. Once you’re a member, you can talk to the villagers to take on design requests and decorate using the in-game catalog items, or the items the villagers brought with them. The more rooms you design, the more your collection grows, and the furniture is really fun to play with. From classic, fancy furniture to trendy, funky pieces, kids can do their very best to match the client’s vision. I designed a cozy reading room for Goldie; a chic, modern room for Lopez; and a citrus-y themed room for Tangy.


Once you’ve got some experience under your belt, Isabelle comes along and hires you to help her spruce up the buildings on Main Street, including the school, hospital, and other public spaces. It’s a big job, but this part is really fun because it’s more than just designing one room, which is what the game has been up to this point. When redecorating Main Street, you get to choose building exteriors as well as decorate major rooms, such as classrooms for the school. These jobs also require checklists, which gives you a bit more direction since they are much bigger spaces, but definitely don’t impede your creativity.

The game is also compatible with the Animal Crossing amiibo cards. Simply tap the amiibo cards of special characters to call in animals that would overwise not appear in the game with requests. The game includes one amiibo card, and other amiibo card packs are sold separately. (Note: I tested this on a New Nintendo 3DS XL, which has the NFC communication built in. Playing on a Nintendo 3DS or 2DS will require an additional NFC Reader/Writer to use the amiibo cards.)