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Gamecube Reviews: Animal Crossing


Animal Crossing Screenshots

The Final Say!

Animal Crossing
 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Score: 9.8/10 
Not based on an average
Distributor: Nintendo

This game has to be played to be believed as it is quite frankly one of the most addictive yet innovative titles I have seen in some time. Animal Crossing by rights shouldn't be as interesting as you will find it due to the sometimes mundane activities that it asks you to do, however you will find yourself doing them quite happily as you seek to see just what happens in this title.

Nintendo has succeeded with this title to create a real time sim quite unlike any I have played before. Syncing itself with the GameCube clock and calendar, Animal Crossing allows you to control your avatar during the time of the day that you are actually playing in. For example if you are playing during the evening as most of you most likely will be, the game will only show night scenes and you'll find that not all the shops are open. Play during the day and there is a fair bit more activity going on. The only problem is that you get so engrossed in the game that you will find yourself turning it on at times that you normally wouldn't just so your character can experience those hours of the day! I even (to my disgust) phoned my wife and asked her to give my character a run whilst I was out of the house as I hadn't switched the game on at that time before. The funny thing was that the things that she did in my absence were remembered and referred to when I turned it back on that evening.

You get to choose the character's name and town and the game goes from there. Townsfolk approach and talk to you along with odd jobs that they might want to get done. Currency is Bells and you have to get a lot of them to pay off your house and other items. As you proceeed through the game you will find that you can buy things for your shack of a house and even upgrade the size of the dwelling.

Players who stay with the game will find that calendar events will occur in the game as well which should keep you busy for at least a year as you discover what is being celebrated in the game and what might have been overlooked. For example this review is being written in December and there is snow and the trees are decorated with Christmas lights. I just wish that it was aware that it doesn't snow in Australia at this time of year, as it takes a bit away from the gameplay. Possibly they should have reversed the clock for the Australasian edition.

The game has a cel shaded look that is appealing although not over the top. Animations are simple but good and the characters all get about the screen nimbly enough and don't get stuck on things. You can make them walk or if you need to go faster, by holding down the B button you can speed that up to a jog.

Connectivity to the GBA makes this even more fantastic when you take into account that you can transfer things from one title to the next such as clothing and machinery. You can design things on the GBA and then import them to your regular game making it a must that you get the title on GBA just so you can exploit it to it's fullest. Add that to the fact that you can get Animal Crossing cards that can be used in the card at a later time. It's amazing and a testament to the creators who have put a lot of love and attention into this game.

The title encourages you to play with your friends and when you do finally get a mate to come over, try to get them playing the game at their own home first and bring their memory card. Why? Every home and town is randomly generated and you can visit each others towns. More to the point, if you go to a town on a friend's memory card and pick some fruit you can take it back to your town and plant it. Or even more amazing, say one of the characters in your town is unhappy with what you are doing, they might just pack up and go to your friends town! And send you letters from there as well. This feature alone gives this game so much scope and longevity in addtion to all it's other features.

It's safe to say that this game would fall into being one of the games of the year on this console. I love most first party Nintendo games, however the sheer amount of customisation, combined with brilliantly executed calendar integration means that this is a game that you are going to be playing for one hell of a long time, The fact that it is so inoffensive also means that both kids and their parents can and will enjoy the title together.

Get the game and then let it get you!

- Tory Favro


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