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Developer:
Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: December 05, 2005

by Felipe Faria Lemos




Animal Crossing: Wild World is quite a different experience than most games we are accustomed to. There are no real goals, there are no challenges, bosses, levels, nor a real ending. Still, it offers so much in terms of things to do that the player will be sucked into the experience and have a truly hard time putting the Nintendo DS down. Because of this seemingly endless variety of activities and options, it is difficult to define its gameplay and genre. Very much like the GameCube version, it is more like a second life for the players, and now with Animal Crossing: Wild World, they can take it anywhere they want.


Animal Crossing is a very laid-back game. With that said, it is not for everyone. As said before, there are no real challenges or clear objectives. It allows the player to do pretty much whatever he or she wants to. One can start a bug collection, go fishing for different species, and exchange letters and items with the neighbors. Another player might prefer to participate in all events that occur throughout the year in the village, design patterns, and buy different furniture. The level of customization in this game is impressive. Everything, from your clothes and accessories, to your house and even the entire village can be unique to each player, limited only by that player’s creativity. Animal Crossing: Wild World does manage to keep the player coming for more for weeks on end. This game manages to simulate a living, breathing world better than any other. With its calendar system (that runs based on the internal clock), it keeps track of the season, date, and time. Playing at 10pm in December is very different than playing in July at noon. Time passes in the game whether or not you play it, so you can miss events or certain things that occur between set hours. For example, the only shop in town is open from 8am till 11pm, so if you want to buy or sell something, you would have to play between those hours. Some characters show up in your town at random times and days, adding a lot of dynamism to the gameplay experience. There are also special events during holidays, such as Christmas and New Year's, and season specials, such as snowman-building during winter, fishing tournaments in the spring, and so on.


Graphically speaking, even though it is not as sharp and smooth as the GameCube version, Animal Crossing: Wild World looks amazing on the Nintendo DS. The 3D graphics are varied, colorful, and very well animated. There also are many 2D elements to the game, and they all are interesting and never look ugly or out of place. The game runs in about 30 frames per second, and in most instances, it will use 1 of the screens to display the game, and the other will display the inventory, or the sky, or be just blank. The graphics, while not as sharp as other systems, certainly do their job, and most importantly, only contribute in a positive way to a great game.


The sound in the game is really good. The soundtrack changes depending on the time and season, and the player’s preference, since the town tune also can be customized. In general it sounds very crisp either through a headphone or the system speakers. The animals' babble adds a lot of character to the animals and they sound different if they are feeling happy, sad, sick, or angry, and sound different for each individual as well.


Animal Crossing: Wild World is truly a very charming game. It appeals to all ages, either boys or girls, and it is gifted with a great sense of humor, populated with very interesting and unforgettable characters, each with their catch phrases and particular behavior.


Up to four players can share a house and be roommates in one single game card, but only one person can access the town at a time. Through either the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection or local friends using their own Nintendo DS system and game card, a player can open their gates to admit friends to come into their town or get out and visit their friends' towns. Using this method, up to four people can be in the same town (including the game host) at the same time. To access the Nintendo Wi-Fi, the player will have to exchange friend codes with the other person he or she wants to contact, mostly for security concerns from Nintendo. In a different town, players can find different kinds of fruit that their own city doesn’t have, or compete to see who can catch the most fish or bugs in a limited amount of time, chat using the touch-screen keyboard, exchange items that can be tough to find in their village, and meet new characters.


The controls in Animal Crossing: Wild World are very simple and easy to pick up. The touch screen can be used to control everything, from walking around to shaking trees, and fishing to drawing the pixels to create a new texture or drag items around in the inventory. All the player has to do is slide the stylus on the screen to move the character, and poke the item to use it, poke the tree to shake it, poke a character to talk to it, poke an object to pick it up, and so on. The d-pad and buttons can also be used, making for a more traditional control scheme, but a little slower for some things, such as drawing or managing the inventory. A combination of methods can be used, with a little icon popping up in the far upper left corner of the screen when you switch between stylus or buttons.


Animal Crossing: Wild World is definitely a different style of game than most in the market. With no big battles, mesmerizing graphics, or frustrating challenges, Animal Crossing plummets the player into a new, relaxed world, where your only concerns are to meet the animals, find all species of fish and bugs, excavate ancient fossils, and of course, pay your seemingly endless mortgage to Tom Nook. Again, Animal Crossing: Wild World is not for everyone, but is an experience everyone should try at least once.


Final Grade: 92%




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