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5 Reviews

Animal Crossing: Wild World

Not so much a game as a worryingly addictive way of life - Animal Crossing is finally here!

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So far so good - trouble is, by the game's very freeform nature, you're going to hit a point where you've pretty much seen and done everything of worth as a single player experience. This is where Wild World's most brilliant feature comes in to play - the ability to visit your friends' towns via wi-fi or the Nintendo Connection service. Once you've exchanged friend codes, you can come and go between towns whenever your buddy has their gates open - and the incentive to do so is pretty great. You see, certain furniture, clothing and stuff for the museum might be rare in your town but plentiful in someone else's. This means that you're going to have to do some hunting to complete your Western décor collection, catch all those insects or even get your hands on that pirate hat your friend's been bragging about of late.

Messages in a bottle sometimes wash up on shore after you've connected to someone else's DS

Of course, it doesn't end there. You can leave messages for one another on the town notice board, hold fishing competitions, smack each other round the face with axes, swap fruit for muchos Bells, strike up a friendship with one of your mate's neighbours and lure them to your turf, recklessly destroy the environment and a ton more. The really clever stuff though happens when your DS is off: you'll find constellations appearing from your friend's town in your night sky (the mysterious appearance of a penis constellation from who-knows-where still raises eyebrows from fellow visitors over here), your animal neighbours will regale you with tales of your real-life friends' antics, bottled messages will appear on your shore - and, of course, you'll want to tell everyone about it as soon as it's happened. This is where Wild World truly shines and vindicates Miyamoto's original vision of the series as a social tool. The more you hear about something cool happening in someone else's town, the more you'll want to keep on playing; the more something cool happens in your town, the more people will want to visit to have a look - and on it goes.

More impressively, even when you think you've finally taken all the Animal Crossing you possibly can, all it takes is for another mate to pick up the game and you'll be sucked in all over again as more items squeak tantalisingly from the recesses of their cart. Sure, it's not all perfect - there's still only a finite number of things to do in a day and the upper screen doesn't serve much purpose beyond a dedicated place to put sky - but you'll be so powerless to abandon Wild World's idyllic charms, you really won't care. Great stuff.

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The verdict

One of the most beautiful, innovative and addictive games ever conceived

  • Compulsive, cute, compelling and oh sooooo addictive
  • Wi-fi multiplayer extends the experience into true social gaming
  • Not so much to see and do as the Cube version
  • But that's not so much of downer on the DS
Nintendo DS
RPG, Sim / Strategy