Animal Crossing: New Leaf essentials guide and walkthrough

Everything you need to know and how to make money

Starting Off

Turning Over

Animal Crossing: New Leaf marks the debut of another classic Nintendo franchise on a new handheld. With this new entry come more adorable animals to meet, more bugs to net, more fish to catch, and more memories to create.

But what if you're not sure how to being this new adventure? Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of tips that will help your town become a bustling utopia in no time. Keep reading for ways to clear the game's two biggest hurdles: starting off and making money.

Your Town Layout Isn't That Important

When starting the game, you'll be asked to pick your town layout from some mapped options. The thing is, this layout doesn't have a huge affect on your experience. They all have the standard beaches, rivers, and trees.

On the other hand, having the bridge located more towards the center of your town could prove to be useful as it's easier to reach things without having to traverse through your entire town, with butterflies being the prime example. Ultimately, just pick a layout that looks interesting to you. What you do in town is more important than how it's designed.

Buy a Shovel, Fishing Pole, Net, and Wetsuit ASAP

These four tools are absolutely required to experience Animal Crossing: New Leaf. A shovel will allow you to dig up fossils and other buried items. A fishing pole will let you catch fish, and a net will let you catch bugs. Finally, a wetsuit will let you swim at the beach to find items on the ocean floor.

You can purchase a shovel, fishing pole, and net at Nookling Junction on Main Street. To get the wetsuit, you'll have to first unlock the Island (this will happen automatically after a few days). It will cost you 40 medals in the gift shop.

Alternate Your Fishing, Catching, and Diving

It's important to fish, catch, and dive at different times and in different spots. Some fish only swim near waterfalls; some only swim at the beach. Fish at different spots to reel up new species.

Likewise, different fish, bugs, and deep sea items can only be found at certain times. Try going out at night to find different creatures lurking about. Be sure to go out when the seasons change too, as some species can only be found in during certain seasons.

Talk to Everyone

Your main task when starting the game is getting your approval rating to 100%. To do this, you'll have to make your citizens happy. This all happens when you talk to them.

Simply talking to a citizen will automatically boost your rating. You can do this in person, or send letters from the Post Office on Main Street. In addition, citizens may ask you for favors when talking to you. Doing these will greatly boost your approval rating, and will sometimes earn you a reward. You can help out your citizens for gifts even after maxing out that approval rating.

Participate in Events

One of the best ways to earn unique items is by participating in events. These are most commonly tournaments, but special holidays serve the same purpose. During these times, being active in the event will net you a special item, although in the case of tournaments, you'll have to actually place.

Once you reach the Tropical Island, it's worth entering some of the fishing tournaments, but not scavenger hunts or specific item-only tours. Talk to Lloyd and borrow a bug net, so you can catch rare bugs and collect loads of fruit and take them back using the basket in the island foyer for a substantial amount of bells.

Use Those Play Coins!

Play Coins are earned whenever your 3DS is shaken while in Sleep Mode. You can put it in your pocket and walk around, or simply shake it up to earn the coins.

You can use the Play Coins at Nookling Junction to purchase a fortune cookie each day. Eating this nets you a ticket, which can then be traded in for a rare item. This is the best way to get unique decorations for your house.

Making Money

Fill and empty your pockets

The easiest way to make money is to start pocketing items. You can pluck flowers or shake trees for fruit, but the aforementioned shovel, fishing pole, net, and wetsuit are key here. Using these, you can add fossils, fish, insects, and sea creatures to your inventory.

With your pockets full, head to the Re-Tail shop in your town. Here, you can sell any item in your inventory. They offer prices different from the Nook brothers' store, so be sure to check which outlet give you the best prices when selling your items. Check the sign out front to see what the day's special item is: if you can sell it, you'll earn far more Bells.

...and Learn the Extra Pockets Trick

You can carry 16 items at a time, but with the essentials (shovel, fishing pole, net, and wetsuit) on hand, your carrying capacity is greatly reduced. Fortunately, wearing and holding some items will free up some much needed inventory space. Also, by attaching items to letters, it's possible to hold even more, so fill your pockets with letters before you head out.

Equipping the shovel, fishing pole, or net removes the item from you inventory and puts it in your hands, freeing up an item slot. Even when you go inside a building and watch your character put the tool away, it won't go back into your inventory (don't worry - the item doesn't glitch away). Wearing the wetsuit also removes it from your inventory. Wear it while holding a tool, and you'll have two extra inventory slots to play with.

Rock out with your Spade out

Smashing rocks with your spade is an easy way to potentially make some bells. Before you start smashing away, be sure to set up at least one hole behind you to stop the recoil. If you find a rock that drops money, keep hitting it until it stops dropping money. There's also a chance to find valuable gems in these rocks. It's possible to make an easy 16,100 in free bells every day.

Plant Trees

Oranges can be picked and sold at the Re-Tail shop, but they aren't worth much due to being so common. Planting foreign trees will net you uncommon fruit that can be sold for much more.

The three main fruit trees to grow are pear, coconut, and mango. To unlock the pear tree, talk to Isabelle with a seashell in your possession. Give it to her, and she'll give you three pears. Coconuts and mangos can be picked on the Island. Plant any of these three, and a tree will grow in a few days. Then, all you have to do is pluck the fresh fruit each day and sell it for a nice bundle of Bells.

Start Turning Turnips

Just like growing fruit on trees will net you easy money, so will learning how to profit from turnips. Joan will appear in town on Sundays, selling turnips. Buy some from her, but remember the price.

The trick with turnips is selling them at a profit. Each day, you can check at the Re-Tail shop to see the price of turnips. If that number is higher than what you bought them for, selling them will net you a profit. However, turnips will go bad in one week, or if you mess with the 3DS's date and time settings. Keep these things in mind, and you'll be turning turnips in no time.

Enact the Bell Boom Ordinance

The best way to boost your Bell count is by enacting the Bell Bloom Ordinance. After getting your approval rating to 100% and unlock the development permit, you'll be able to do this.

Talk to Isabelle at your desk in Town Hall. Under the Ordinances menu, choose "A rich town." This will boost the selling price of all items at the Re-Tail Shop. Enacting this ordinance costs 20,000 Bells, but you'll make more money in the long run.

It's Been a Long Day...

These tips will get you on your feet and fill up your bank account. Follow these, and you'll have old Tom Nook off your back in no time, free to enjoy the successful town where you've been made mayor. And hey, why not take a break from your utopia and check out our review of Animal Crossing: New Leaf?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tony lives in Maryland, where he writes about those good old fashioned video games for GamesRadar+. One time he interned here too. Fancy that.
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