I finally got around to trying out Animal Crossing: City Folk today. Peter gave it to me for Yule and promised that it was right up my alley. Somehow I’ve managed to put it off until now, and I have to say that I’m sorry I did.
As far as the art style goes, the game is incredibly cute. Everything is made of geometric shapes of various sizes, but it doesn’t act as simple as it looks. If you run into a tree, it shakes; if you slam your insect-catching net down in the water, it splashes. Fish are swimming teardrop-shaped shadows in the river and ocean, but have distinctly different appearances if you happen to hook one and reel it in. The NPCs have unique personalities, speech patterns, and home-decorating styles. Their “speech” is a kind of sped-up, garbled mash of what sounds like both Japanese and English, and while it was a little annoying at first, it did grow on me.
I visited the museum’s coffee shop for the first time, and lo and behold, there was a musician warming up for his gig, apparently just waiting for me to arrive! When I took my seat to listen to his song, I was very pleasantly surprised and overcome with a Cute Overload moment when he started “singing” and playing a ragtime tune while the game’s credits scrolled up the other side of the screen. I almost exploded with the adorableness of it all. The best part was that he gave me a recording of that song to play in my (in-game) house — although I’d love to get an MP3 of it somewhere and crank it out in my actual house.
One neat thing about this game is that it operates in real time; if it’s 12:12am on Sunday, February 14, 2009, in the real world, that’s what time it is in-game. Unfortunately, that’s also one of the bad things about this game. The shops close at 10:00pm and 11:00pm, so all I was doing from 11:00pm to midnight was wandering around the town uprooting and replanting flowers. The NPC townsfolk didn’t have anything for me to do at that late hour, and even the insects had all gone to bed. I had to save and exit because there was literally nothing for me to do!
That being said, I can see myself logging in daily to see what’s going on in my little village of Isiston (yes, I named it after one of the guinea pigs), although I can’t imagine spending the long hours — at all hours — playing it that I do with EQ2.