When the original Animal Crossing was released in America on the Gamecube in 2002 it had mixed impressions, sure it was regarded as a good game, but what the hell was it all about? A Boy or Girl living in a town full of Animals, working for a Raccoon and doing mixed odd jobs for the villagers, what was the point of it all? The point, was good clean fun. And Animal Crossing: City Folk is no different.
Since the Gamecube excursion there has been a DS version, Animal Crossing: Wide World, which was pretty much a smash hit, being pretty much a handheld port of the original game people had gotten used to the idea of Animal Crossing by the game and people flocked to game stores to buy it, and when City Folk was released it generated the same sort of buzz.
You start off on a bus, this bus is driven by a turtle called Kapp’n, a crazy old sailor who now drives a bus. While you ride you will come across the games introductory character, Rover. Rover is a cat, despite what his name implies and he’s one of the friendliest characters in the game. He’ll ask you all sorts of personal questions that determine your characters appearance and gender, he’ll also confirm the date and time as Animal Crossing plays in real time, even when you aren’t playing, and he’ll ask your Birthday, Name and the name of the town you’ve set off to. After you answer all these you’ll pull up at the bus stop and take your first steps.
This is when the ball starts rolling, you walk around the town, seeing the sights till you find an empty house you want, then Tom Nook, the local store owner and resident raccoon, comes over and sells you the house. Unfortunately you don’t have even close to the amount needed to purchase the house so you go to work for him, this part is essentially the tutorial as it’ll teach you all about the game basics.
After you’ve sorted that whole work fiasco out you can pay off your mortgage at your own leisure. Money can be obtained in a number of ways, selling fruit, fish or items to Nook or doing jobs for the villagers. Either that or you can just wander around taking in all the scenery. The aim of the game is to pay off your house and keep expanding and growing it as the town grows with you, eventually having a shopping center and more villagers to talk to. You can also use your money to buy furniture for your house or tools such as the Shovel, Axe, Fishing Rod, Net and Watering can, these expand the things you can do while simply walking around.
Animal Crossing has a bit of a childish look, and that’s okay, but the graphics haven’t changed since the original game, sure they’ve sharpened up a bit, but essentially it looks almost identical, Nintendo could have spiced things up with a new graphical style while keeping the core Gameplay elements but instead they chose not to. Its not a bad thing but it just brings nothing new to the table.
There’s plenty of ways to keep yourself busy in your town apart from talking to and doing jobs for villagers, you can go drink coffee at the café, where K.K. Slider [A White Dog] plays his guitar on Saturday nights at 8pm, you can go to the museum where all the Bugs, Fossils, Paintings and Fish you donate are all on show, you can shake down trees for money or items and go to the clothes shop and design your own clothes. And that’s just in the town.
City Folk plays almost exactly the same as any other Animal Crossing game, move with the control stick and run with B, A is the action button, for shaking trees and using your fishing rod etc, really that’s all there is to the controls, or you can use the Wiimote as a pointer and it becomes point and click, which in fairness works fairly well. Nintendo could of added Gamecube Controller compatibility like they did with Super Smash Bro’s but they chose not to.
One you settle into the game you are going to want to hang around the village a lot, as the day operates in real time if an event passes there’s no going back, and there’s all sorts of events on national holidays, usually with special items to be obtained. And with national holidays comes the change of season, the foliage and nature will change during the four seasons of the year, with snow covered ground in the winter months, not to mention the change of night and day.
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