It’s hard to be bored in Animal Crossing. This game relies on its many gameplay options to keep gamers interested, and it works pretty well. From the moment you move into the town, you’re presented with a myriad of tasks that you can accomplish. There are very few things that you are required to do—mostly the game is about picking and choosing the tasks and activities that appeal to you.
There are certainly many activities to choose from. You could spend your days and nights fishing for the elusive Coelacanth, or you can chase insects with your net and try to catch them all (there are a lot). You can dig around town looking for fossils, from ammonites to T-rex bones. And what to do with all this stuff? You can keep it in your house, which will soon be very full, or you can sell it for cold, hard cash, which you can then use to upgrade your house even further. [Editor’s Note: Or donate it to the local museum. IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!]
Look for new clothes. Design umbrellas and wallpaper. Chat with your neighbors. Plant and chop down trees to achieve the perfect balance. Run errands for your neighbors. Really, this game presents you with so many things to do, you will invariably feel somewhat overwhelmed. Of course, some of it will feel old after a while. I definitely got sick of running around town looking for someone’s glasses or game or whatever. But there’s so much cool stuff to collect, including a virtual NES and a collection of old games to play, that you’ll likely find yourself spending a lot of time running errands in the hopes that something cool comes up.
One of the most interesting features of this game is the random events that take place. Some nights you might find a sailor washed up on shore. There’s a bunch of festivals to attend, and they are linked to the internal calendar and clock of the GameCube. The game takes place in real time, with day and night cycles to mix things up, and seasons that bring different insects and fish. Many holidays that we observe in the real world are translated into the game. All in all, the seasonal cycle is a nice feature to mix up the activities and scenery.
If you happen to have other people in your family who play the game, you can avail yourself of another important feature of the game. Up to four people can share a town on one memory card, and while they can’t play at the same time, you can leave messages and items for people while you play. In addition, you can “travel” to towns on other memory cards, which is handy for acquiring fruit that doesn’t grow in your town, or just to look for items that haven’t appeared on your memory card. In addition, if you visit, the animals in that town will start talking about you and referring to you in conversations with whoever plays. It’s a neat feature, and makes the town feel that much more alive. There’s also a password system that allows you to trade with anyone, anywhere. Very cool.
The graphics are very basic. Animal Crossing was originally intended for the N64, and the graphics were not updated much for the transition to GameCube. Textures are simple and the characters are very geometric. Still, the style works, and the colors are vibrant, which helps the overall appeal. The sound fares better. The chirps of insects and other ambient noises are quite well done, and the music is reasonably varied. Some of the instruments sound kind of off, though—they could definitely have put a bit more effort into some of them.
Overall, the game’s main draw is its addictiveness and varied activities. This is a game that you will likely spend a lot of time with. Animal Crossing is a sure bet for anyone who enjoys simulation games or just wasting a lot of time.