Animal Crossing

Hurrah! At long last Nintendo are releasing the brilliant Animal Crossing in the UK.

It's been a long time coming. The game was originally released in Japan for the N64 years ago, then it got rejigged for GameCube and hit the US last September. And finally, PAL gamers are going to get the chance to see what all the fuss is about.

Animal Crossing is about moving to a new town and living your life: interacting with the inhabitants, making a living, paying off your mortgage, and so on. And while all that might sound about as much as fun as running a cheese grater over your nose, it's really, honestly, wonderful.

Animal Crossing's fundamentally mundane activities are sprinkled liberally with that ol' Nintendo magic and it's a charming treat. Imagine The Sims crossed with Harvest Moon and you're a little way there.

You can do anything you want from fishing and catching insects, to decorating your house and going on errands. The bottom line is that it's all about enjoying being part of a community.

But the real genius here is the way the game allows you to interact with other players.

Real-life friends can visit your town and interact with it, and if they're playing the game you can do the same thing, leaving them notes, posting them presents, and so on. It's ace. As is the password system that allows you to trade items with anyone, anywhere.

Animal Crossing is simply jam-packed with things to do and see, and it also contains some top GBA connectivity and a host of classic NES games to unlock. It's unusual, and difficult to describe, but believe us when we say it's one of Ninty's best games to date. Honest!