I can’t remember when I first got hooked on Animal Crossing… it must have been not long after the DS version came out (“Animal Crossing: Wild World“) because I’d never heard of it back when I spent weekends hard-wired in to the GameCube. I know that I’d read online that it was similar to Harvest Moon, and as a fan of Harvest Moon: AWL (<- review) I must have bought in to the series then.
In reality, Animal Crossing is not that much like Harvest Moon at all. Sure, you have a little person that you control, and you can talk to people, but that’s where the similarity ends. Where Harvest Moon is about growing crops and making money, Animal Crossing is about planting flowers and making friends. The DS version of Animal Crossing is almost dependant on you logging in every day, because failure to do so causes flowers to die and cockroaches to take over your house.
When you’re not prettifying your town, entertainment can be found in shopping; fishing; hunting bugs; and digging up fossils. Relationships with townies are quite important and get you all-important ‘pictures’ which both decorate your house and increase your Happy Room Academy score, a means of testing how well you lay out your furniture (amongst other things).
Animal Crossing: Lets Go to the City is not really that different from Wild World (DS). Everything is bigger — obviously, you’re viewing on a much bigger screen — and the town layout allows for more landscape features… multiple levels, a second smaller waterfall, more space for houses; but the games are nonetheless identical in game play. The graphics are bold and colourful, and surprisingly ‘crisp’ (I’m not sure what I expected though).
When you first start the game, you’re on a bus with Rover, and you’re asked if you want to move a Wild World town over to the Wii. I’d be interested in trying this out eventually (I like my “Faraway”) but picked ‘new town’ to get a basic grasp on things. After giving Rover your name, the time/date, and choosing your gender, Kapp’n informs you that your bus has arrived. Cue an introductory period of about an hour, which you’ll spend working away for Tom Nook, meeting your new neighbours, buying your first tools, etc. All probably sounds very familiar to DS players, but there’s one key difference: you get to choose your own house. From a choice of four houses in different locations, with slightly different décor, you are able to begin the process of making a mark on your town.
Given that the game is so similar to the DS version, I can see me liking it just as much. There are some old annoyances around still (like having to talk to go through the same conversation every time you visit Nook’s, or every time you donate a fossil) but others are removed (after you identified all of your fossils at the museum, Blathers doesn’t ask you if you have any more to identify, the conversation takes you back to the main menu).
I need to play it more to give a more detailed review, but first impressions are good, and I’d suggest Wild World owners buy it despite the similarities just for the sake of owning another piece of cute Animal Crossing merchandise.