Released in 2015 on the Nintendo 3DS, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is the first retail spinoff of the life simulation series Animal Crossing. In it, you play as a home decorator. The goal of the game is to design houses for the various villagers and other NPCs who ask for your services.
Happy Home Designer is compatible with special Animal Crossing amiibo cards that when scanned enable new villager requests for you and allow other villagers to visit the house where you just decorated at for a house party.
- The Bus Came Back: While they made their main series comeback in the Welcome amiibo update for New Leaf, Happy Home Designer does return 4 villagers that were previously exclusive to the first game, which are Carrie the kangaroo, Louie the gorilla, Claude the rabbit, and Maddie the dog. (The latter 3 are limited DLC)
- Character Customization: For the first time in the series, you can chose to be a skin colour other than the default light-skinned. The game foregoes the typical Animal Crossing customization quiz and just lets you chose your design at the start. Pocket Camp and New Horizons would subsequently adopt this approach to character creation.
- Downloadable Content: DLC characters include Filly, a Normal Horse with a 7-Eleven theme (or just a convenience store theme in international versions), and a Felyne.
- Game-Breaking Bug: In most cases of scanning incompatible amiibo, the game will simply tell you the amiibo isn't compatible. However, scanning the RV cards from New Leaf will crash the game- apparently the game recognizes that it's an Animal Crossing series card but can't figure out what to do with the nonexistent character. This even extends to amiibo cards for characters introduced via DLCs like Maddie.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: K.K Slider's casual outfit in Happy Home Designer and Welcome amiibo (as well as his 3rd costume in amiibo Festival) has him wearing his DJ hat and a long-sleeved green-and-white striped shirt.
- An Interior Designer Is You: The whole point of Happy Home Designer to decorate people's houses using wallpaper, flooring, decorations, and furniture.
- Irony: Animals in the meeting room of the office facility you can construct are usually seen holding a meeting called "How to Hold a Productive Meeting". Going by the dialogue, these meetings end up dragging on for hours or even days.
- Justified Tutorial: The game teaches you the mechanics of the game through your first client.
- Literal Metaphor: When special characters who are proprietors of businesses in the main games are called, they usually mistake the mention of a "home appointment" for a request for use of their services at the caller's home, afterwards realizing it's literally referring to an appointment about a home in current context.
- Mythology Gag: In his main series appearances, Rover's role is to set up various aspects, including the player character's appearance, and the first thing he asks is for confirmation of the time due to his watch being busted, which sets the game's time. The first thing Rover asks when you call him on the amiibo phone is what time it is for the very same reason, although you don't respond as he realizes he's not having an in-person conversation.
- Nephewism: Happy Home Designer introduces Lottie, Lyle's niece.
- New Work, Recycled Graphics: Happy Home Designer reuses most of the assets from New Leaf.
- "Rashomon"-Style: Downplayed. Tom Nook and Redd reveal that they used to be work together at some point, and when each one speaks to you about it, he says that of the two of them, only the other one is not to be trusted. Tom Nook can barely say more of the incident, and "your pal" Redd tries to reassure you that he's the reliable one.
- Token Human: As always, you star as a human among Funny Animals.