Animal Crossing: Wild World Nintendo DS Review
Animal Crossing: Wild World is perhaps not only the highest selling game for the Nintendo DS handheld system, but it has a huge fan base. Several extensive websites can be found online where fans of the game can provide clothing pattern ideas, custom town musical themes, and strategy and information for the game. In fact, the game feels more like a living breathing world experience than a simple game.
Wild World is more of an open-ended simulation than a traditional game. Even when the game is allegedly completed by paying off one’s mansion, one can keep visiting the colorful animal inhabitants and interacting with them in various ways. The world lives in real time, changing from Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. There is even snow on the ground in Winter. Even if one were to rush through the basic mansion building aspect of the game, he or she would still want to visit the world to experience the changing seasons and the surprises that accompany each cycle of nature.
The game starts by naming one’s world and choosing one’s gender and basic disposition and name. A taxi ride takes the player to the new town. Given the answers the player provides to the cab driver, the gender and look and feel of the character are determined. A total of four characters can live in one’s new home as roommates, although only one character can be played at any time. When I named my town “Nintendo,” the cabbie responded that I had a sense of humor.
Once dropped off in town, the character is urged to meet the Mayor and to find his or her home on the town map. Tom Nook, a friendly raccoon, not only owns the general store, but he conveniently owns your home, which is nothing more than a simple shack with no furnishings but a cardboard box and a candle. Tom offers to help you pay off your mortgage by working for him, to learn the ropes, including deliveries to various animal inhabitants. Although numerous animals move in and out of town, only about eight residents reside in the town at one time. Depending how you treat them and the amount of time you interact with them, they could stay in your town for months or get sick and tired of your town and you and move out fairly quickly.
Animals will invite you to their birthday parties, urge you to write to them, and even send them gifts. Of course all this effort is not forgotten, and even rewarded with photos of them for you to place in your home or gifts for you to keep or sell. Animals will even hint at gifts or furniture or clothing they would like to have. Each animal character has a different personality – from grumpy, to friendly, to jock, to bizarre – and it is your job to win them all over as best you can. Animals even offer you challenges as to who can catch certain fish or butterflies first. You can even eavesdrop on various animals conversations. If you offend any animal, it will walk away mad, but answer the right questions and your animal will walk away singing or even give you a little gift or some much needed pocket change.
Eventually, Tom sets you out on your own to earn your living. In addition to receiving gifts from other animals, you can do deliveries for them, catch fish, spiders, insects, and butterflies to sell, sell off their gifts, dig up fossils, or grow your own orchards and sell off the fruit of your labors literally and figuratively. You can even plant flowers to sell and cross-pollinate. Seashells will also float onto your shores to collect and sell. Each town starts out with a random native fruit. From there, you will receive imported fruit or even find coconuts that will wash onto your shores to plant. Fruit includes peaches, pears, cherries, and oranges. Some trees can be shook to disclose money or valuable items for your home. Trees can be chopped down and planted as desired.
Fossils dug up can not only be sold for huge profit, but they can be donated to the local museum towards its dinosaur exhibit. In addition, the museum gladly accepts insects and butterflies and fish to supplement its collection. There is even an art gallery. There is also a planetarium where you can create your own constellation. In addition to building your museum and beautifying your surroundings with trees and flowers, you can create your own town tune and custom flag.
In addition to these yearly events, there are specific seasonal events. One day in winter, you will be surprised by snow on the ground and the ability to make talking snowmen who will quickly rate your snow-building skills. In August, every Saturday the Mayor will give you fireworks to set off and you are treated to a fireworks display at night. There are also periodic “bugoffs” in which you collect bugs and compete for a trophy for the biggest one. There are also fishing tournaments that also offer trophies you can display in your home.
Wild World also offers specific events during certain times of the week. One day a week, specified by the player, a fox will put up a tent and offer questionably acquired items for sale. He will sniff around for the police while requiring you to provide a password for admittance. But beware, some of his paintings are forgeries. On Sunday mornings, the radish vendor will make her appearance to offer both red and white radishes. Head her warnings to religiously water your radishes.
Saturday nights are my favorite time to play the game as a dog named KK Slider will grace his presence at the local coffee shop where you can request a song or let him pick one for you at his discretion. Of course he will reward you with a CD of your song so that you can kick back at your pad at home and listen to it with your favorite mode of music device including a jukebox, boom box, stereo system, etc. His music collection is both extensive and eclectic, so there is something to please everyone.
There is a clothing store where you can not only buy clothes and accessories such as hats and glasses, but you can submit your own custom clothing designs for display and sale. It is fun to see an animal resident appear wearing one of your designs! If you befriend the two porcupine sisters who run the shop, they will provide you with personal information about their lives.
But the heart of the game is to turn your one room shanty into a mansion that will be the envy of all the animals in your town. They will periodically comment on your home and even drop in for a visit to critique your choice of furnishings. On certain times, you can even sell off some of your possessions or drop into their homes to do a little bargain shopping. What is one person’s trash is another one’s treasure.
However, be forewarned that if you do not play the game for any length of time, weeds will grow in your town which must be plucked and cockroaches will infest your home that must be exterminated. Also, you animal residents will become irritated at your lengthy absence and comment accordingly. They even know precisely how long you have avoided them!
In order to make your dream home a reality, you must work hard in both paying off your ever-increasing mortgages with Tom Nook as well as buying items with which to furnish your home. There are themes you can create to give your home a certain feel or you can completely create your own look and feel. Not only will your neighbors let you know what they think, but the Happy Room Academy will send you letters rating your home.
As you continue to grease Tom Nook’s pockets, he will invest in larger and larger stores to accommodate your lavish lifestyle. During Christmas, he will offer holiday candles and even Christmas trees. You can buy some interesting items to supplement your usual furniture such as a dog house, surfboard, snowboard, boxing arena, fireplace, jack-in-the box, Lunar Lander, etc. Various televisions purchased will play TV shows for you to watch if you tire of listening to your music. Of course no house is complete without wallpaper and carpeting. You can even keep your prized fish or tarantula you caught and display it in a glass enclosure. The sky is literally the limit.
To add to all this single player bliss, you can interact with your real life friends as well. So long as they have created a Wild World town on their own Nintendo DS, they can come visit your town and vice versa. If they buy something from Tom Nook, his greed will kick in and he’ll give you an impressive Macy’s type store expansion complete with a hair salon where you can pick a variety of hairdos to wear to match your clothing and accessories. And you will want to change your outfits periodically as the local residents will comment about how long you’ve worn the same old thing. To keep your extensive wardrobe, a closet can be purchased from Tom Nook. You can even store extra furniture and other items that you are not currently using.
If you are a real packrat, then you can even stash your junk in your storage space at the town Post Office. The Post Office also serves as your stop to make donations to a good cause, change your town tune, learn your town rating, mail your letters, pay your mortgage, or save for a rainy day in your bank account. Depending on what time of day you pop in, you will be greeted by the cheerful clerk or her belligerent sister.
If all this isn’t enough for you to enjoy, special characters will make their appearance offering select items and other entertainment. A slingshot can even be purchased to shoot prizes down from the sky. Don’t forget to look up at the ever-changing sky as you may be surprised to find a rainbow, a glorious sunset, or even rain or mist or snow. You can purchase designer umbrellas for those rainy days or sport a tan during the summer.
This game is simply amazing. Parents who enjoy an educational and non-violent gaming experience for their child while keeping him or her occupied for a year (without them whining that they need a new game) should leap at the opportunity to purchase this game. Given the portability of the Nintendo DS system, the player will never miss out on those special events when on the go. You can take your living, breathing world with you wherever you are and there is something new every day as Tom Nook rotates his inventory and you never know what you will find.
However, the only downside is that the game gets a little tedious and repetitious after awhile. It took me about a year before I found myself not visiting ever single day. Due to this, I give the game a 9 out of 10.
– Des Manttari, Editor-in-Chief, Phoenix Genesis
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