Being an owner of AC City Folk on the Wii, I enjoy this franchise. But the odd controls and home-console functionality meant that I never played it that often. This game takes many of City Folk's problems away. AC works perfectly on a dual-screen handheld because I can check on it whatever time of day I want, and not just at home. Now I finally have the incentive to actually play every day.
They call this game "New Leaf" for a reason. It starts out similar to the old games; Rover welcomes you on a train, Tom Nook puts you into debt, etc. However, there's now a big turn in gameplay. Much rather than just being a mere villager, you now are the mayor of your own town. Now you can make public works projects, set ordinances, and have a cute dog named Isabelle as your secretary.
There's all sorts of things to do. You can go fishing, talk with your fellow villagers, go shopping, pull weeds (WARNING: Weeds easily trigger people with OCD. Proceed with caution.), and more. If you need a break, you can veg out at the tropical Tortimer Island. This game is brimming with content.
The 3DS also has amiibo functionality where you can get free items and villagers via amiibo cards and figures. All my useless cards were sitting around, gathering dust, so this is a great way to get one specific villager you want.
Overall, this game is brimming with content. It has aged very well throughout it's lifetime. Those who are into vigorous gaming will probably get bored easily. However, I personally use it to relieve stress. If I get angry about a game, Animal Crossing will do the trick. While it doesn't really have a main "end goal," I still enjoy this time-killer. Many are upset that it's been several years since a real AC game has been released, but at least we can enjoy this gem until the time comes. This is yet another great game that doesn't even cost more than $20.