After the quite brilliant Animal Crossing: Wild World on Nintendo DS, Nintendo fans have been waiting excitedly for the inevitable Wii follow-up. It's been three years since that game hit Japanese stores, so just what has Nintendo managed to conjure up in that time? Well, it's managed to come up with a terrible subtitle in 'Let's go to the City', completely innovate by offering voice chat and offer a new area to visit that sounds quite large but is in fact quite small. Animal Crossing: Let's go to the City is the very definition of lazy game development, yet it's still a great deal of fun and a game that will appeal to a very large group of Wii owners who have likely never played an Animal Crossing game before.
Let's go the City begins in the same way as previous games in the series have, with you on a bus travelling to your new town of residence. You talk to a chatty fellow who asks you a series of questions which enable you to name your character and town and sort out a few other details, like your gender. It's a quite brilliant way to make rather dull text and data entry seem fun, and a nice intro to the kind of characters you're going to be interacting with over the course of your new life in Dogmun (well, that's what I called my town). You leave the bus with some tips on who to speak to and the world (town and small city) is your oyster.
After visiting the Town Hall, meeting the mayor and having a casual stroll through Dogmun, it's time to take a look at potential homes. Four are on offer to begin with, none of which are much bigger than a small shack (so small in fact that you can fill the entire floor with a pocket-full of apples). You don't have any money to begin with, but shop owner Tom Nook stumps up the cash, with him agreeing that you can pay it back over the course of your time in town. Once you've bought your desired property it's time to work for Nook in order to get a bit of cash, which essentially introduces you to a few basic ideas (like writing letters and notes, and delivering things to your fellow townspeople), and then you're free to do as you wish.
We initially headed straight to the nearby trees and robbed them of their apples, selling enough to Nook so we could afford the shovel, fishing rod and insect catcher he had on display. These tools are key to your money making in Let's go to the City, with caught insects and fish, and dug up items, able to be sold for cold hard bells (the game's currency). Your first house has a mortgage of nearly 20,000 bells, and one early escapade, catching a variety of fish, insects and apples, will earn you around 2000 bells, so it's not hard to get back into black with Mr Nook, at least temporarily. House renovations and extensions cost more money, and you're definitely going to want to upgrade in order to fit more items in your home, meaning you'll more or less permanently be in debt.
Your enjoyment of the game will more or less rest on how you find the core activities, which aren't anything more than quite basic chores. To catch fish you look for shadows in the water, then fling your hook out and wait for the fish to bite, before snapping the rod up with your Wii Remote. Catching insects is a case of following any you see and trying to slam your net over them before they hop off, and digging is, well, just you digging a hole. Thankfully Nintendo has wisely added tool selection to the Wii Remote's d-pad, so there's no need to enter a menu each time you want to change from one to another, which, if you've played previous games, comes as a great relief.
By far the biggest disappointment is just how samey the game is. This won't be a problem if you're coming to this Wii game having never played any of the previous Animal Crossing titles, but if you've sunk any decent amount of time into the DS, GameCube or even original N64 game, you're going to be doing more or less what you've done many times before. You can transfer over your profile from your DS game, getting your catalogue of items you've unlocked from your time in Wild World, but you don't get the money or items you owned. There's also no way to keep both games synchronised, which in our opinion makes the feature quite pointless unless you want to run two completely separate towns.