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Animal Crossing : Wild World was the long awaited follow up to Animal Crossing Gamecube. It was released for Nintendo DS in December 2006 and was an immediate hit both with existing Animal Crossing fans and new players alike.
The game is essentially very similar to the Gamecube version in look and feel; the graphics don't even seem very different, and in fact the premise of the game is exactly the same, but there are a number of crucial gameplay changes that make this version of the game even more appealing.
In Wild World, you are driven to your town, naming your character and town along the way. When you arrive you are given the same sort of errands to run for Tom Nook, giving you an introduction to all the gameplay basics. You can have 4 players living in one town, and instead of having a house each, in the DS version they share a house, so they can work together to develop their living space.
Life in your town progresses in real time according to your DS's internal clock.
As with the Gamecube version of the game, life in your town progresses in real time according to your DS's internal clock. Again, this can be over ruled if you need to catch that elusive bug or fish which is only available during an awkward time of day, but watch out for negative side-effects of time travel - too many weeds in town will not please your neighbours!
You will, once again, find yourself collecting fish, bugs, fossils, and paintings, in various ways. Blathers, the owl in charge of the museum, has been on a fossil identification course since the Gamecube version of the game and is now able to identify fossils himself without sending them away, so that is quite exciting!
Furniture, decorations and clothes are available in the same ways, with the catalogue working in the same way as the Gamecube version too, and the Happy Room Academy will again give you prizes for decorating your house beautifully. An addition to the features here are the extra points available for good Feng Shui in your rooms, as each item is assigned two feng shui colours, so that if you place them well in the house you will find it easier to score HRA bonuses. Sometimes your neighbours will ask you to give them items of a particular colour, and rather than the actual colour they are referring to the feng shui colour, so it is worth knowing these things in order to keep your animals happy!
You can chat and write to your neighbours but as an extra, in the DS game, they will eventually reward you by giving you their picture. These are special items not orderable in the catalogue so worth hanging on to! Each picture has a little quotation on the back which typifies that particular character, and having the animals' pictures in your rooms will earn you lots of HRA points.
Again, the currency in town is Bells, and you can earn them in many of the same ways as in the GC game. The Stalk Market is a little harder to track, with decent turnip prices coming around less frequently in your own town, but if you can play the game socially, as Nintendo intended, you can work your way around and find some good prices somewhere in the world.
The most important change to gameplay, which affects all areas of the game, is the addition of communication on the DS - either over the internet or just DS to DS. Once you have exchanged the game's 'friend code' with another player, you can enter one another's towns. Once you are online, your character can choose either to open the gates of your town, or to try and visit someone else's town. Then you can have up to three visitors in your town (or be one of three people visiting another town), making four players in total. You can chat to the animals in this town, and write them letters - although be careful, the animals aren't too good at keeping secrets and will inevitably show your letters to the town's owner! You can also 'chat' to the other players, as well as exchanging items - you only have to pick up an item for it to be added to your catalogue, although some special items won't be re-orderable. Of course if you have taken your turnips with you you can also sell them in someone else's town, if their prices are good, so it's worth keeping in touch with other players.
If you just want to escape to another world and live elsewhere for a while this may well be the game for you.
When communication has occurred between two towns, resident animals can move between them. Again, you must be careful which phrases you have taught your neighbours, as they will frequently repeat them in their new town! If you then connect with that town and visit the animal again, he or she will remember you and usually greet you like a long lost friend.
Nintendo also created some special downloads for Animal Crossing:Wild World; if you visit one of their special download stations with your DS open to communication you can receive not only special items but also one of six unusual animals (monkeys) who were only available in this way.
As you can see, yet again, the game can take a huge amount of time to play if you really want to explore it properly, finish all the collections and earn all the rewards and special items that the game has to offer. However it can also be enjoyed on many different levels, if you just want to escape to another world and live elsewhere for a while this may well be the game for you.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: