Animal Crossing: City Folk

The game that never changes returns with a few new features, but the same old content
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Mild Violence: Animal residents can be struck with a net.

Spiritual Content: One character is a fortune-teller that you can receive readings from.

Language: Players can use bad language if they choose to.

Nothing beats that small-town life. Everybody knows each other. There’s no traffic to be heard; no problems people have with city life. Your neighbors are all friendly, for the most part. But this is no average small town. It’s a town made up of animals. You read that right, animals.

Animal Crossing first showed up on the GameCube way back when. People must have liked the game’s easygoing nature because the game got re-released as Wild World for the DS back in 2005. Now, three years later, the series continues with its first and probably only title on the Wii: Animal Crossing: City Folk.

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Plot

There’s no real “plot” to speak of. There are no monsters to fight, no plot for world domination to foil, and to set it apart from other life simulators, there’s no crops to raise, no job to go to, no crushes to forge with the local ladies.

The whole “plot” if it could be called one is as simple as the game. You create a character, the only human in town basically, unless you have your friends play, who’s decided to strike out on his/her own. You’ve moved out of the childhood roost and decided to take on the world. After naming your character, town, and answering a few questions which determine your character’s gender and appearance, you step off the bus and into your new home.

First order of business is to find a place to lay your head and it turns out your town has four empty houses for you to choose from. After you get settled in, you take a very short part time job at the local, and only, store in town, run by the, by now, iconic raccoon, Tom Nook. After you get done working for him, you spend the rest of your never-ending virtual life paying off your house, making friends with the locals, catching bugs, fishing, digging, sprucing up your town and making your house a little more lived in. If all of that gets boring, you can check out the museum, which is about as empty as a bottle of air, or take the bus into the city where you can get a whole new look at the salon, take in an auction, and a few other activities that just might make things a little more interesting.

Just another day in the life, right?

Gameplay

Like most Wii games, City Folk is controlled by the trusty Wii Remote. You’ll also need your Nunchuck to play. You use these to walk around, talk to your animal buddies, open your pockets, or use whatever tools you have in your hands.

Not much to it really, although even for a simple game, the controls do take some getting used to.

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Offensive Content

Violence

Hardly any. The most there is involves hitting your animal friends with your net. This doesn’t hurt them, makes them mad though.

Spiritual Content

A little disappointing to have to write this in a kid’s game. In the city, you can meet an odd cat by the name of Katrina. Katrina, for those of you who’ve never played the other Animal Crossing games, is the resident fortune-teller. Her building (looks like she got enough money from the previous games to move out of the tent) is dimly-lit and complete with a crystal ball and a rug with the twelve astrological signs. You can pay for a reading and certain things might happen as a result.

Sometimes when you donate to the museum, the wise, old owl that runs it, Blathers, makes references to evolution.

Other Areas of Concern

City Folk is a WiFi game. What that means is you can have people, other people, come to your town via Nintendo WiFi, they’re version of the internet. Some of these other players may not be all that great. They may use foul language, steal things, or even ruin your town by planting hacked items. I would avoid the feature myself unless you happen to be WiFi’ing only with trusted friends. Even so, there is a risk involved. You can also use bad language yourself if you use the typing feature in your pocket menu.

Your character can also sample the local brew at the town’s coffee house, The Roost. I know some consider coffee to be the same as worse things, like alcohol, so it’s worth mentioning.

Your character can also play the Stalk Market. Every Sunday, the wandering turnip trader, Sow Joan, comes to town selling her turnips. This might come across to some as gambling because there’s no promise that you’ll be able to sell them for a high price. If anything, you’ll probably take a loss. So, a little talk about careful use of money is probably justified.

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Conclusion

I’ll admit Animal Crossing isn’t a bad game. I know some times I don’t want to risk losing against hordes of angry monsters or throw down my controller after losing a level for the hundredth time. It’s nice to have a game you can just come home and relax with.

Unfortunately, Animal Crossing isn’t the best game to do that, and it’s not even because of the few questionable elements there are. There’s just not enough to keep you interested once you’ve played it so long. It starts out fun, but it gets old after a while.

Still, it’s not a bad game, but it does have some elements that are less than squeaky clean. The fortune-teller and some allusions to evolution don’t lend much to a game that Christian parents shouldn’t have to worry about. Plus, there’s the risk of some pretty foul-mouthed players coming through your town gate if you choose to WiFi.

All in all, while it may be fun, and, for the most part, clean, it still doesn’t make it any more interesting once you’ve played it long enough.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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