"Nearly every gamer got their first taste of the world of Animal Crossing when the GameCube original was released, but I was late to the GameCube party, and never managed to get my hands on the title that I had heard so many good things about. Well, I was quick to make sure that the same thing wouldn't happen again and I immediately dove to nab the sequel that was released on the Nintendo DSÖAnimal Crossing: Wild World. "
Nearly every gamer got their first taste of the world of Animal Crossing when the GameCube original was released, but I was late to the GameCube party, and never managed to get my hands on the title that I had heard so many good things about. Well, I was quick to make sure that the same thing wouldn't happen again and I immediately dove to nab the sequel that was released on the Nintendo DSÖAnimal Crossing: Wild World.
And a wild world indeed. If you are not familiar with the basic concept of Animal Crossing, then let me enlighten you. You play as a person (though you look a little dolled-up, sometimes to a creepy extent) who lives in a town where all the other residents are, well, animals. These animals, though, wear clothes, are capable of normal conversation, and can even decorate their own homes. Nifty tricks, huh?
Though you might not be aware of the above fact, there is a very small chance that you aren't aware of that Animal Crossing is a life simulation game. I really doubt you'd even be looking at any of the Animal Crossing pages on GameFAQs at all if you didn't know that. But yes, the game is a life simulation game, but with those strange Nintendo undertones and touches that make it childish, yet still enjoyable for older people as well. I mean, Mario is obviously aimed towards children, but it still appeals to an entire legion of adults, and what reason would that be? Simply, the fun factor. I don't know another way to put it--Animal Crossing is just addicting fun.
One major complaint that I have with the game though is that there are virtually no customization options for your character at all. In fact, your character's appearance is determined by an odd questionnaire at the beginning of the game during a conversation with a taxi driver. Pretty much every outcome of what your character can look like resembles a strange doll that has way too much make-up on. Sure, you can change the clothes they wear (and later on in the game, their hair style and color), but that really doesn't change the fact that they look like figures that belong in a cheep horror movie involving dolls that kill people.
Of course there must be a way to progress through the game, right? Every game has to have some sort of point to it, and Animal Crossing does. To continue through the game, you simply have to live your life. The game works on a brilliant real-time clock system, which means whatever time it is in real life, it is that time in Animal Crossing. Hell, holidays take place and the seasons even change. I put the game down for nearly two months and came back to find everything drastically changed. What used to be a brilliant green land was now shaded with orange, the leaves on the trees had changed colors, and everything just had that atmosphere of Fall.
There are various businesses that are available for you to visit in your town (which you have the liberty of naming). The most important business is probably Nook's Store, which is a store that as you buy more and more items from it, it grows. At first the store starts out as a shabby shack, but eventually develops into a multi-purpose building where you can get your hair cut (thank God, though even then you still can't choose what your hair looks like, it works at random) or check out an entire floor of more items. There is also a membership-point system at Nook's store that by obtaining the next membership (which is done obviously by purchasing goods at the store) you obtain some rewards.
Another major landmark for your city is a clothing store that sits right next to Nook's store. This clothing store is run by a couple of hedgehogs and here you can partake in one of the game's more interesting features of designing clothes. Though someone with an unsteady stylus hand may have some problems with this, it is a rather simple process, even if you are a person with practically no artistic talent. Not only can you design clothes, however, you can also design the town's flag here.
A museum is also in your town, but this place I found to be practically useless. You can donate bugs, fish, fossils, or paintings that you can collect (instead of selling them) to the museum to make the museum's exhibits more extravagant. Up the nearby stairs, you find an astrologist owl that allows you to gaze at the stars as well as design your own constellations. Downstairs, you find a coffee shop where you, obviously, buy coffee.
The main building out of all the above, however, is the town hall. At the town hall you can do a wide variety of things such as give money to a needy town or change the town's theme song. I found playing around with the theme song to actually be pretty entertaining and even provided a surprisingly lengthy chunk of game time just trying to find the best-sounding tunes. I know this sounds lame, but it is strangely alluring, I assure you. The town hall is also the place where you can pay your infamous mortgage. A recycle box is found inside the town hall that you can find some unwanted items ripe for either putting in your home or selling. Sitting outside of town hall is a bulletin board, where you can find some interesting messages or alerts to events that may occur on certain days in your town. Also, you can mail letters to other residents in the town hall and even mail them presents which makes them more friendly towards you.
I've mentioned the ability to catch bugs and fish and sell them. In order to do this, you need to buy a fishing pole and a bug net. Animal Crossing: Wild World has some main items, which are the shovel, which you use to find fossils and other buried goodies as well as make some of your own traps; the bug net, which is used to catch bugs; the fishing pole, which is used to catch either freshwater or saltwater fish; or the slingshot, which is used to shoot presents out of the sky just in case there are any floating around up there on the top-screen.
Creating messages in bottles is one of the more interesting features of Animal Crossing: Wild World. The basic concept is this: you buy a message in a bottle, write your message, and then send the bottle out into the ocean. Then, when you connect with another Animal Crossing game via wireless play or Wi-Fi connection, there is a chance that those players will receive your message in a bottle at a random day.
I have no idea why this is, but I've seen a lot of people giving great praise to the multiplayer. I mean, Animal Crossing: Wild World is pretty amazing without the multiplayer, and the multiplayer could have made it totally perfect, but the multiplayer is pathetic. All you do is visit someone else's town, and if they are visiting your town, it gives them the opportunity to go around and cut down all of your trees. This can be extremely frustrating, and due to Nintendo's insistence on using Friend Codes, the fun randomness of playing games online is totally butchered.
Since the game is on the DS, the graphics are definitely not mind-blowing, but they are still rather decent. Not to mention that Wild World is the best 3D game the DS has to offer in terms of controls due to traversing the town being very similar to walking around a globe. Like I said earlier, the creepiness of the graphics can sometimes get in the way of a totally satisfying gaming experience, but I guess there really isn't something to totally complain about.
The audio, to put it simply, is amazing. The main theme is catchy and hard to get out of your head, not to mention you can create your own music in-game. The sound effects synced nearly perfectly. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the audio quality of Animal Crossing: Wild World.
Sadly, there is no story to Animal Crossing, but that really isn't why you play a life simulation game, is it? The replayability is obviously through the roof, but somewhere along the line, the already repetitive tasks you must go through everyday actually become more openly mundane as time wears on. If you put the game down for a while and return to it, you can probably squeeze some more hours out of it, but eventually you will get very annoyed with the extremely high mortgages you are expected to pay and give up on the game all together. Sure to at least fill a week of gaming, however, Animal Crossing: Wild World is a must-have game for any gamer's collection of Nintendo DS games.
Community review by horror_spooky (November 10, 2007)
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