If you have read my previous posts about Pocket Camp or follow my Twitter, you probably have an idea of what I’m going to be saying here already. The short version would be that a game where doing everything at your own pace giving a subscription that helps you deal with their ridiculous event schedule or a game where collecting everything is a huge deal getting a subscription that gives you more space and more chances at items is incredibly scummy and I’m not sure why some games think just because they’re mobile, they can charger their users for certain things that are expected.
I will say I don’t think the “Happy Helper Plan” is awful and if it was under different circumstances, I’d probably even consider it more. I also would have less of an issue if the subscriptions were (whether just one or bought together) done through a permanent “premium” purchase of the game in the sense of buying it like Super Mario Run had versus being a monthly payment. At $2.99 a month, it’s not really terrible on paper, but still has some issues in the sense of the game itself.
The main problem with the “Happy Helper Plan” is a lot of people have brought up how demanding Pocket Camp can be. While they have slowly added more things players can sell to one another, it still doesn’t involve actual items– just materials. There are rarely any event breaks and the events require A LOT of time. In a time where every single game/site wants to do an event at the same time and all require a large amount of you dedication to get through, it’s even rougher in a game where they penalize just how much you can do at a time and also requiring you to check in each time and depend on others or even your own luck to finish.
The Happy Helper Plan essentially makes it so things will be taken care of for you so you DON’T have to constantly check in. Which honestly is really nice, but a big point of Animal Crossing is collecting everything and that’s really where the problem for this specific subscription comes in because despite the game Pocket Camp is based off of, it clearly has no idea what “going at your own pace” means and that’s one of the REALLY nice things with Animal Crossing. Days where I want to spend tons of time getting things done, I can! Times where I don’t feel like doing much, it’ll be okay! New Leaf added ways to lessen how much you really needed to check in with the Beautiful Ordinance and at times, Pocket Camp feels like two steps back which makes me worry about New Horizons quite a bit :/
If this was just a premium thing as part of mobile, I feel like I could at least justify it a bit more, but a subscription service to just feel more comfortable playing and succeeding in the point of the game itself feels really iffy.
It does cost about what 60 Leaf Tickets would be anyway so in that sense, the service is free, but in a game that attracts people of so many ages, things getting more and more paywalls (Fortune Cookies, Event Items, Terrain Customization…) just doesn’t really sit well to me.
The other subscription is the Cookie & Depot Plan which, honestly, I just think is complete garbage. It’s $7.99 a month and essentially you get 50 more Leaf tickets than you would normally (as you can pick any five fortune cookies, including ones gone each month) plus a big storage system. Ignoring all the issues with Fortune Cookies I’ve brought up before and that older ones will likely return anyway, my main issue is locking storage behind a monthly payment system.
A game with a huge collection feature, constantly adding new items (I don’t even think we have all the items from pre-existing games…), a gachapon feature, and multiple parts of the game that encourage getting extras of items (The HHA Academy, Gulliver’s whole thing). Locking storage when having everything is encouraged to such a point is really awful.
New Leaf had a lot of storage, a lot of places you could place things, and even more storage added through an update. Past games let you use wardrobes to try and have more storage too. Here, you can only decorate three places (Your Campsite, Cabin, and Camper), all are relatively small, and the game is constantly pumping out more and more things.
Was I able to keep everything I wanted on hand in New Life? No, of course not, but I was able to use multiple characters to try and hold onto everything I wanted to that was important to me and made a point to just keep items that couldn’t be ordered again through the catalog incase I DID need something. And if I ran into a situation of needing something immediately again like for Gracie or something, I could usually ask a friend to help me out.
But we don’t have any options here. Every event, we gets tons of the same things. Some HHA Academy rooms require multiple ones. Gulliver works on item combos. And yet we have to pay for additional storage and barely complimentary fortune cookies? I don’t really have words for just how much Pocket Camp just… breaks my heart. I keep lowering my expectations and somehow, it still manages to go below them and disappoint me further.