Before we dive right into the review, there are a few things you should know. First of all, I was unable to test the game with the WiiSpeak peripheral. With Nintendo only sending us one bundle of the game, it was impossible for me to utilize the peripheral during my time with the game. With that in mind, also understand that our single press review copy meant that I was without individuals to enjoy the multiplayer side of the game. This is purely a review of my time with the single-player portion of the game Animal Crossing: City Folk.
So, head past the break and read about Nintendo's latest game in the Animal Crossing franchise.
By now, you should pretty much know where you stand regarding Animal Crossing: City Folk. If you were looking for some kind of innovation with the Animal Crossing formula, you won't find it. Sure, there's the city area now, but it's really just more of the same. Not to say this is a bad thing, however, as there is plenty to do in City Folk.
Fans of the GameCube and DS installments will find City Folk is an easy game to like. You'll go nuts buying items for your house, you'll go fishing, and you'll meet a lot of lovable and charming characters throughout your time in your town. It's the way the cookie crumbles in Animal Crossing and things are no different in City Folk. Personally, the game held an immediate fascination for me, but I could easily see myself becoming bored with it after a month, like previous Animal Crossing games. The type of player that can stick with it for the long haul likely knows what they are and won't feel the same as I do with this latest game, so their mind is made up before even playing a minute of it. The idea of a blank slate is just so appealing, the game has already won them over. Or, it's the idea of bringing their town from Wild World on the DS onto the Wii that's so appealing. Either way, you should already know if you're one of these people or not.
When you get started, you can either upload your game from the DS or simply start anew. I chose the latter, because, uh, my DS game has a lot of weeds and suffers from inattention over the last year or so. And getting started works the same way as in games past. You'll get a new house. You'll have the privilege of paying off Tom Nook again. And you'll spend plenty of time running around your town doing a variety of activities.
When it comes to controls, City Folk can kind of become a pain when utilizing one scheme. Either you can use the new cursor system to control basically all of the action, or you can use the more traditional setup. The problem with the new scheme is just as we said back during E3: it's an imperfect system that makes interacting with the environment a bit more difficult than it should be. It's a little annoyance that I found got in the way just a bit too much. Thankfully, though, there's the gift of option here.
What of this new city, though? The scale is rather small, and it serves as more of a hub for certain things that were confined to their own house in town in past games. As you all know, you can learn emotions from Dr. Shrunk's performances at the theater, or check out Gracie and Lyle's designs at their new digs. There's also the barber shop where you can make Iwata cry. There are things to do here, but it is surely not the subtitle-deserving affair it may have been built up to be. No, instead the real time sink remains what it always was: earning Bells and buying junk for your house.
Animal Crossing: City Folk, despite lacking large strides in the innovation department, still manages to be an impressive well of fun gaming activity. Fans of the series will see this game as exactly what they want: more of the same. For those of you that've dipped your toes in the Animal Crossing waters and found it not to be to your liking, the multiplayer aspects might be compelling enough to bring you back to the pool. But, until we can get some time with that, we're not sure if there's anything else in this package that will convince you to check out City Folk. Basically, it's just more Animal Crossing. Whether that's good or bad for you is something you'll have to decide on yourself.
Final score: 8/10
As I've said in the opening paragraph, this review lacks multiplayer and WiiSpeak testing. We'll be getting to those and presenting write-ups on each as we can, so look forward to those as we finish them.