Animal Crossing Clock (DS) review
"Not a complete waste of time, but if someone bought it for you as a gag gift, you'd be extra tempted to clock him one."
A person who comes across a listing for Animal Crossing Clock on the Nintendo eShop might respond in any number of ways, I know. But there are two responses that seem most probable in the year 2021. The first likely response is something along the lines of, "Wow, what a completely useless bit of software that no one in their right mind would ever buy." And of course, the other likely response is, "Wow, what a completely useless bit of software that I absolutely must own immediately!"
Before I ever knew about the Internet term FOMO ("fear of missing out," as I learned only a few weeks ago), the phenomenon had been working its magic in my life for years. I long ago fell into the habit of buying obscure digital software from various online store fronts, knowing it's only a matter of time before those dubious titles disappear forever, never to be seen again except as files offered on shady ROM sites. And I like Animal Crossing well enough, so the FOMO got me good. I didn't want to turn my back on the opportunity to experience this little wonder on the family of hardware it was made for (a New Nintendo 3DS in my case, rather than my DSi, but let's not get picky about the details).
As if fully aware of how ridiculous it is, Animal Crossing Clock opens with a quick message to the consumer: "Thank you for downloading Animal Crossing Clock." Really, what else is there to say? You can tap "OK," but there's no option to politely respond, "You're welcome."
From there, the software talks a big game. "Sit back and enjoy a small taste of Animal Crossing!" it encourages its audience. "You can even compose a Town Tune for your clock chime!"
And I have to be honest: that's actually kind of cool. Remember stringing together your own series of bloops and bleeps and using them in the older Animal Crossing games? Remember when the band Weezer actually released the instructions to input a composition you could then hear in-game? I certainly remember, even though more useful information has passed through my brain like water through a sieve! So I looked it up online and found directions to program some notes from "Buddy Holly" into my special little clock. It now plays in the form of chimes at the top of the hour.
That was satisfying, but I suspected the software would let me do other things besides channel my inner Rivers Cuomo and it turns out I was right. I also got to select between an analog and a digital clock face for the display. You know I had to go with analog, because I'm retro like that. The resulting clock face resembles an old-fashioned clock you might hang up on the wall in your Animal Crossing house, so I've got no complaints there. I just wish there were maybe some on-screen movement besides just the clock hands. The animals just stand where they are, motionless.
The clock also allows you to set up to three alarms at once, which I tested. The alarm that sounds is kind of annoying, but you can tap the screen to disengage it once it has roused you out of bed or reminded you of the chore you soon need to complete or whatever else you might use the clock to help you with in your busy life.
In the "Settings" menu, you can set the clock if you wish, though the game just uses whatever time you have provided for the system clock so there shouldn't be any reason to make modifications. And any changes you do make seem to affect that other time, so it's not like you can set the clock for whatever time it is in your vacation castle in England unless you want to buy another 3DS for monitoring your local time zone. And while I technically do have two 3DS systems at my disposal, that seems like a bit too much bother. I guess you could also just look at your watch or smartphone, but that would be just silly.
Finally (yes, we're already at the "finally"), there is the option to enable an energy saver mode that affects how quickly the top screen goes to sleep and how quickly the software drains your system's battery. Your options are "off," an hour, or 5 minutes. This affects only the top screen, and you can press the A button or a direction on the d-pad to wake the system from its slumber. The bottom screen turns black much sooner, probably to prevent burn-in from occurring. You can wake it either by tapping the screen with your stylus or pressing a button.
So, you may now wonder if I feel my investment of 200 DSi points ($1.99) was justified beyond the job it did of satisfying my curiosity and allowing me to avoid the dreaded FOMO. The short answer is "no." The longer answer is still "no," with the added note that you can no longer even buy the game from the Nintendo of America shop site (which is what I did when adding the software to my own library a year or two ago). Now you have to browse the eShop on your 3DS and grab it there, assuming it hasn't already disappeared. I'm left advising you to not bother with the steps and the modest expense required, unless of course you're a nut like me. Then the $1.99 is somewhat less objectionable...
Staff review by Jason Venter (February 15, 2021)
Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.
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