Monday, January 09, 2006

VG REVIEW: Animal Crossing: Wild World

Nintendo, for Nintendo DS
rated E for Everyone, $34.99

It’s "Animal Crossing!" For the DS! What are you waiting for?

OK, that might have been a bit too succinct a review. Let me elucidate a little.

"Animal Crossing: Wild World" is essentially a handheld version of the popular 2002 GameCube title.

Hard-core AC fans hoping for more features and additions will no doubt be somewhat disappointed, but the core game is strong enough to make a second round worthwhile, especially on the DS.

As in the first AC game, "Wild World" plops you down in a tiny village populated by anthropomorphic animals that speak in cutesy gibberish.

There’s no real plot or ultimate goal to speak of. Instead, your job is to make friends with the locals, beautify your home and engage in the variety of activities offered.

You can, for example, go fishing, plant flowers, dig for fossils and other treasures, design your own clothing and hunt for bugs.

It sounds rather dull fare compared with more adrenaline-pumping games like "Doom 3," but "Wild World" manages to be consistently engaging because of its cute sense of humor, colorful design and high degree of interactivity.

Events in the game happen in real time, meaning that you’ll have to check in on Sunday, say, if you want to take part in the fishing tournament. You’ll also be able to buy Christmas trees and make snowmen in December and light off fireworks in the summer.

As you might have guessed, "Animal Crossing" is a game best played in short bursts at various points of the day. This reason makes it ideal for translation onto a smaller, portable console. Adding to the good news is that the DS’ touch screen controls are much more intuitive and fluid than in the GameCube version.

The one notable addition in this version is the ability to take the game online. Using a wireless connection, you can link up with your friends and visit their towns or have them come and visit yours.

This feature offers more than simple sightseeing, however, as visiting other villages gives you the chance to pick up other items and decorations that you won’t be able to find in your own town.

For those familiar with the AC universe, "Wild World" doesn’t have the same freshness or spark of originality that the first game did. All the same, it’s a game that seems tailor-made for the DS, and the inclusion of Internet play adds a new level of fun.

"Animal Crossing: Wild World" is that rarest of rarities: a family-friendly game that adults won’t feel foolish playing. Or to put it another way:

It’s "Animal Crossing!" For the DS! What are you waiting for?

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2005


At 6:01 PM, Blogger MegoSteve said...

It must be a pretty big hit, because I couldn't find it anywhere leading up to Christmas. My girlfriend loved the GameCube title, so I know she'll be all over this one.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Glad to hear it's selling well, at least around here. It's such an odd game that I can easily seeing it achieving little more than a cult status.

It's basically identical to the GC version, but the touch screen and portability add enough to justify the purchase.

At 12:02 AM, Blogger MegoSteve said...

I just hope it doesn't become like Phoenix Wright before I can get her one. It's selling as high as $55 on eBay now.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Steve, I have an extra copy of the game lying around in my basement. If you want it, it's yours. Just email me and I can put it in the mail to you or something.


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