Nintendo Australia Animal Crossing: City Folk

If you look close enough, you can trace the casual roots of today's Nintendo back to the GameCube's quirky runaway phenomenon, Animal Crossing.

Nintendo Australia Animal Crossing: City Folk
  • Nintendo Australia Animal Crossing: City Folk
  • Nintendo Australia Animal Crossing: City Folk
  • Nintendo Australia Animal Crossing: City Folk
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Great laid-back gaming made famous in the first two AC games — with some decent additions in the form of the city and Wi-Fi gameplay

Cons

  • Not all that different from the first two — nor is it enjoyable for long stretches, the game needs a down-time hook like the NES games were in the first

Bottom Line

Animal Crossing: City Folk is cut from the same cloth as the first two titles in the series, meaning it's fun, laid-back, and easy to play in short spurts. However, the lack of change and truly innovative gameplay features means it won't attract folks who hated the series or have been burnt out on co-mingling with talking fauna.

Would you buy this?

If you look close enough, you can trace the casual roots of today's Nintendo back to the GameCube's quirky runaway phenomenon, Animal Crossing. The game's latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: City Folk feels and plays extremely natural on Nintendo's flagship family-friendly console and feels right at home with wii-mote and nunchuck in hand. For gamers taking their first trip to Animal Crossing, City Folk will be paradise. For fans of both the original as well as the DS incarnation, it might be a bit too familiar of a journey.

Like Going Home

I played a lot of Animal Crossing on the GameCube, but I played it the wrong way. Let me put it this way; if my time spent with the game was a pie chart, the amount of time passed holed up in the basement of my home playing NES games instead of talking with neighbours and exploring would be Pac-Man. By the time I had decided to move out (or stop playing — whatever), my town was overcome with weeds, my neighbors barely knew me, and my home was a pack-rat's dream. By all accounts, I should have taken better to the Nintendo DS' Animal Crossing: Wild World. But after a few days of play, I realized I can't vibe with uber-casual portable games. If I'm playing something on the DS or PSP for a few minutes on the bus, it better be filled with action and explosions.

So now Animal Crossing is back on consoles with its latest iteration, City Folk. The laid-back style of the game works wonders with the Wii — it's a great accompaniment to casual fare like Wii Sports and Wii Fit, but it's not a bad choice to follow up a particularly intense session of Smash Bros. Brawl or No More Heroes. It's a lot easier to make new friends now, what with the addition of a city to combat the doldrums of the same eight animals in your town. Additionally, the Wi-Fi voice chat-enabled multiplayer (finally!) makes playing with friends much more conducive than it was on the GameCube. Still, the real lack of newness makes me wish I could still play old games in the basement.

Human About Town

Gamers familiar with the first two Animal Crossing games will immediately feel at home in City Folk. You start off on a bus to your new burgh, answering questions from an inquisitive cat that will determine your name, your new hometown, and even your look. Once you arrive, you pick a home, meet your animal neighbours, and start working off your debt. You can run errands for neighbours, sell fish, insects, and even dinosaur bones to town proprietor Tom Nook (instead of donating them to the museum), or sell radishes in a stock-market microcosm. My familiarity with the first game recalled some even weirder ways to make a buck. I remembered that one rock per day would spawn bags of cash when smacked with a shovel. You could then take the bags and plant them — no lie — and if the sprout is properly taken care of, a money tree would be yours to shake down.

My time in the town of Davville so far hasn't exactly been full of surprises, but it has been enjoyable. For example, immediately after I finished my first day's work for Tom Nook, a carp-fishing tournament was announced. I then spent the next two hours racing about town trying to keep tabs on my competing neighbours, frantically fishing for the biggest catch, and selling off the fish that didn't qualify for the contest. By the time the contest had ended, I'd almost paid off my first round of home debt, talked to all of my neighbors at least twice, donated a handful of the cheaper fish to the local museum, and earned some neat prizes thanks to my 37.1-inch contest-winning carp. In the words of Ice Cube, "I didn't even have to use my A.K. I gotta say it was a good day."

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