Depending on where you live, Animal Crossing for the GameCube first made paying off mortgages fun sometime between December 2001 and September 2004. Actually, it was the fishing, the fruit picking, the shopping, the customization, the item collection, and the socializing that was fun, but paying off the local money lender in order to upgrade your home was one of very few clearly defined goals in the game. Later, Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS added a number of new features to its predecessor's winning formula, and the handheld proved to be a great platform for the game, given that it's best played for only an hour or so each day. In City Folk for the Wii, you have an opportunity to start a new life in Animal Crossing all over again, but the new features on offer aren't significant or exciting enough that you should head back down to the bottom of the property ladder if you've already climbed it.
The Mii makeover is a nice touch, but it prevents you from wearing accessories.
Before getting on the bus to Animal Crossing, you have the option to import save data from Wild World, though it's only your character's appearance and the contents of the local store's catalog that get to make the road trip with you. This makes sense, given that importing a completed museum collection or a large house full of tastefully coordinated furniture would leave you with little to do in your new town. Nevertheless, there's no escaping the fact that achieving these goals a second (or even a third) time on the Wii really doesn't feel any different than it did on the GameCube or the DS. So, regardless of whether or not you're a Wild World veteran, you'll be starting out with a tiny home and owing money to Tom Nook, who, every time you pay him off, insists on remodeling your house to make it bigger and to keep you in his debt.
Fortunately, Nook is also the owner of the local store, and he'll buy anything that you wander in there with for a decent sum. Without first needing to purchase any equipment, you can gather fruit, seashells, and one of City Folk's new features: mushrooms. You'll have to make frequent trips back to the store because, as in previous games, your pockets can hold only 15 items. That's a pathetically small number considering that you spend the majority of your time picking things up, and it gets only worse as you purchase a fishing rod, a shovel, a butterfly net, and other pieces of equipment that take up valuable space. Of course, you don't have to carry all of these around with you, but there's nothing worse than seeing a rare insect that you need for one of your museum's exhibits and then realizing that you left your net at home.
When you're not busy accumulating money to pay off and purchase furniture for your home, one of the more satisfying activities that you can engage in is finding items for the town museum's insect, fish, fossil, and art exhibits. It's also one that, unless you cheat by messing with your console's internal calendar, is likely to take you the best part of a year to complete. That's because many of the insects and fish are seasonal creatures that will show up only when the weather and the time of day suits them. To catch them, you equip the net or the rod and then use the A button to swing or to cast and reel in, respectively. Insects will try to escape if they spot you, and fish will often play with your bait a few times before actually taking it, but the challenge generally comes from finding them rather than from catching them. Predictably, there's an option to move the Wii Remote in a way that imitates the use of a net or fishing rod if you prefer that to using the A button, but the latter is far more reliable. Similarly, it's possible to play the game using only the Wii Remote, but movement is a lot easier with the Nunchuk's analog stick than it is when using the remote as a pointer.
Nook could make a fortune if he stocked pants with bigger pockets.