although i’d played and quite enjoyed the original animal crossing on the ‘cube, i wasn’t quite prepared for how much i would get sucked into its DS sequel, animal crossing: wild world. most reviews seemed to emphasize all the things that were the same, but i found that all the additions really added to the experience and made the town feel more alive, and thus kept me much more interested. the new townspeople and visitors were all memorable, with the taciturn barista brewster and dr. shrunk with his combination stand up and psychotherapy being among my favorites. the old visitors and the townspeople with their seemingly never-ending supply of dialogue were still entertaining, and the addition of extra dialogue for the town staff was a nice touch. letter writing is much improved as the responses are now nicely varied instead of the constant “i didn’t understand you, you big dolt!” responses from the gamecube version, and helping the villagers with their hobbies was another nice addition. i was also amused to find out that there’s a series of trading sequences in the game, which seems like a nod to the zelda series that the game was inspired by.
all the additions, some of which were only small details, helped ease the disappointment in not getting any emulated NES games in this version, and i kept playing for a longer span of time than i expected. so much so that i actually got the golden watering can (i.e. kept my town perfect for 16 days), which i didn’t even get close to getting with the gamecube version. even aside from all the additions to the gameplay, the single factor that contributed to keeping me playing was the fact that the game was on the DS. i found myself playing the game for at least 20 minutes each day, and it was so easy to pick it up and play for a short burst that i could fit it into my day in a way that i couldn’t really get myself to do before. (uh oh, i sound like one of those DS “lifestyle” commercials, which is particularly embarassing b/c i’m a fairly “hardcore” gamer. but it’s true.) and when i was having a stressful day it was a great way to relax and be brainless for a while (uh oh, there’s more of that advertisement talk). my only real complaint, other than seriously dreading the day i go back to the game since my town will be completely covered in weeds and all my flowers will have died, is that there isn’t nearly as much variety in the town holidays as in the gamecube version. as it is the game still manages to achieve greatness in my mind, although it will definitely be interesting to see how the series progresses. in particular i wonder how many more activities they’ll add to the game, since the simplicity is a lot of what keeps it so addictive (and fun). we’ll just have to wait and see.
some wild animal links!
– animalcrossingcommunity.com has a lot of good info, including an HRA guide.
– images of all the possible villagers at animalxing.com
– official site
– gamefaqs has some great info, including a guide to gulliver and villagers (including how to make them permanent residents), a guide to the special visitors, a guide to getting a perfect town, and a flower breeding guide.
– pretty good list of unlockables at gamespot
– basic guide at IGN along with a pretty good general guide, a slew of FAQs, and craig harris’s review