Yes this review comes a few months after release but considering Animal Crossing for Wii is another evergreen title from Nintendo; who’s to say that it’s too late to review Animal Crossing City Folk for Wii? Depending on how you look at it there have been three or four main games in the Animal Crossing series. This time on Wii Animal Crossing is a hybrid between the games seen previously on the Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo DS with a fair bit of new content thrown in for good measure. Life simulation games aren’t new and come in many different styles but the one thing they all share is that people love them. Tiles such as The Sims, Second Life, The Settlers and Animal Crossing are all world favourites with millions of fans worldwide.
In Animal Crossing for Wii the premise of the game is to live a stylised virtual life in a virtual town filled with cute animal inhabitants. After arriving in your new town you get to choose from four small but cosy new homes and local shop owner Tom Nook will supply you a with an interest free mortgage. The problem is you’ve arrived with no money (the currency in Animal Crossing is Bells) so paying off this mortgage without any dosh is going to be difficult. Thankfully the local shop owner Mr Nook is kind enough to employ you as a delivery person for one day. This part time job entails you taking a handful of items to some of the other villagers for delivery; not only is this good practice for managing your inventory system but it’s also a good chance to meet some of the locals and learn the town layout. If you get a little stuck you can call up the map at any time to help you find where a particular character’s home is located. After just a few deliveries Tom Nook has no more work left for you. With no Job Seekers Allowance to claim you will quickly have to find a source of income. Sadly for me this is where Animal Crossing started to become a bit stale.
Instead of continuing the job theme you can simply earn money is quite silly ways. Fruit that falls from trees and Sea Shells washed up on the shore can all be sold to Tom Nook for a good amount of bells. Of course you’re not going to be able to buy many of the rather sweet items to furnish your home with right away but a few days of scrumping will easily see you earning thousands of bells. So what can you do with all this money? Well firstly as I just mentioned you can buy hundreds if not thousands of items for your home. Almost anything you could ask for is here; Chairs, Couches, Tables, Lamps, TV’s, Radios, Stereo Systems, Wallpapers, Carpets, Plants and many more. Obviously cool items are more expensive than rubbish ones but all can be sold back to Tom Nook when you’re done with them. My main issue with this system is that new items appear daily and fairly randomly – you don’t get to buy what you want when you want Amazon style here. Secondly you can spend your money creating new clothes designs but this is a tad boring. Thirdly and probably most excitingly, you can head to the City to check out the new shops and attractions. So yes, to The City! This is probably the most striking difference between Animal Crossing City Folk and its Nintendo DS counterpart, instead of just pottering about in your own solitary town (or those of your friends via WiFi) here you can live the high life and spend some quality upmarket time. Not only can you watch a show at the theatre here in the City but you can also visit an auction house, get a makeover at a beauty parlour and even buy strange pieces of art and furniture from a stolen goods racket. Yes it’s cool to visit the City a few times and meet a whole load of new people just walking around the street but after a while it does just get as boring as your own town.
To give you at least something to do in the game you will find yourself part of a giant and probably never ending collection em up. A batty old Owl has decided to open a museum in your town but forgot all about actually coming up with exhibits. Unless you want to walk around an empty museum all day you’re going to have to do his dirty work. And so the fun begins. You and your trusty set of tools (a spade, fishing rod and butterfly net) will be kept very busy looking for fossils, fish and insects to stock the museum with. I wouldn’t mind if you got some reward for helping the Owl out but everything you take in is just a donation. Maybe if you do find every single collectable you’ll get a silly item for your house but stuff that, it could take me years to find everything.
Fundamentally Animal Crossing for Wii is a nice game; it’s pretty to look at and is simple to play. This is all well and good but because Nintendo have seemingly set out to make the most casual and relaxed life simulation game of all time, there is just no incentive or challenge to play it at all. Yes you can go online with the WiiSpeak microphone and chat to your friends, even visit each other’s towns, but I can’t see that holding your entertainment for that long (I have neither the microphone or friends to test this with). Animal Crossing for Wii is a well presented but rather boring game which boasts 99 percent more potential than actual fun delivered. Even though it’s aimed towards younger gamers and housewives I just can’t see either audience being that enthralled in it.
Unusually for a first party Nintendo Game I can’t see any choice but awarding this a very low, 4 out of 10. I really hope Nintendo go back to the drawing board for the next Animal Crossing game.
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