Animal Crossing Wild World
One of Nintendo's most talked about DS games is fun, cute, and...cute!
Wild World indeed! At first I thought the title to Nintendo's upcoming Animal Crossing fiesta was a bit strange, but after uncovering some of the meaty details I've come to realize that it's definitely apropos. Because of some Wi-Fi yumminess we'll be able to travel around the world visiting other peoples' towns, providing they invite us into their humble abodes.
The strange thing about Wild World is how little Nintendo's talked about it, but then again, I'm not exactly sure there's a reason to. Let's face it; the game is Animal Crossing, plain and simple. You'll live in a single town, perform a bunch of mundane tasks, attend lots of cool events, fish, receive and send mail, collect seashells, dig up a bunch of cool stuff, shake/chop down trees, decorate Martha Stewart style, and do lots and lots of back tracking. Heck, aside from learning the DS control scheme, all of us Animal Crossing veterans will literally feel right at home.
The biggest difference between this and the GameCube title is the ability to leave your peaceful community and travel to someone else's, as in Tokyo. Because the game will be online enabled, you can check out other towns around the world, meet new people, and trade items. Up to four people can be in a town at the same time, and Nintendo is creating special security features (a friend's list, for example) so not just anyone can invade your dwelling, nab all your stuff, and cut down all of your trees. It'll be a nice way to get decorating tips, see how the other half lives, and make friends.
Thankfully, there's more to Wild World than just online town hopping. Nintendo's done a few nifty things with the DS' dual screens that separate it from its predecessor beginning with showcasing the sky. In the previous game everything's seen from one perspective, so balloons that float up to the sky disappear and firework go off in front of your face. But in this version, you'll walk around on the bottom screen and be able to see things on the top one. It's not a wild and crazy feature, but expanding the play field is certainly a nice touch.
Then there are the touch screen elements. Whenever you need to design clothing, compose mail, or access the inventory screen the bottom portion of the playfield is bumped up to the top screen, allowing you to write, draw, and move things around with the stylus. I'm sure Nintendo's packing in more functionality that I don't know about yet, but thus far, what's here is great stuff.
Just as being to see the sky is a nice change of pace, so is how the land unfolds. Rather than keep things the same as in the GameCube title, Nintendo's elected to design the world so it scrolls as you walk up and down, giving the player the feeling that they're walking on a globe of sorts. As for how the game looks, it's not nearly as sharp as the GameCube game, but the visuals are almost on par, and at the very least, the game hasn't lost any of its charm. Jaggy character models aside, Wild World looks and feels like Animal Crossing.
I'm all ready to pick up this game when it's released the first week of December, but I'm not entirely sure that I'm going to thoroughly enjoy it. There's no doubt in my mind that it's going to be excellent, but I sort of played the previous Animal Crossing to death and exhausted it, so I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to dig this all too familiar follow up. However, there's no denying its quality and addictive nature, and I'm sure I'll want to poke my head into a few villages just to see how other people are livin' it up. Another hit for the DS? All signs point to YES.