City Folk is largely an Updated Re-release of Animal Crossing: Wild World, designed to take advantage of technical improvements in the Wii compared to the Nintendo DS. Among other things, most features cut from Wild World are reintroduced, including real-world holidays, while still keeping in almost all of the features that were added in the DS installment. Players can now visit a city full of different shops including ones from previous games, as well as some new ones.
The game is the first Wii game to support voice chat and the first online game in the series that supports interoperability between Japanese and Western versions of the game; due to considerable technical differences, the international and Japanese versions of Wild World were incompatible with one another. Local multiplayer is supported by downloading travel data to a DS, referred to in-game as the DS Suitcase, and this feature can also be used to import players from Wild World into one's City Folk town.
The game received mixed reception when it released, largely due to it being a console version of Wild World. While many praised it for acting as a considerable improvement upon the formula of the DS game, mainly by reintroducing quality-of-life features that the 2005 game lacked, others felt that City Folk overall did little in the way of stepping up from its predecessor. Tellingly, the next two installments in the mainline series would each introduce considerable alterations to the basic formula.
This game provides examples of:
- Black Market: Crazy Redd owns a black market in the city. The only way you can get access to it is by receiving an invitation from another villager, including other players.
- Gateless Ghetto: The city consists solely of a shopping center.
- Luck-Based Mission: Trying to get a silver or golden axe. It seems to make absolutely no difference what you say; you lose your axe, get your original axe, get a silver axe or a golden axe pretty much at random. So you just have to stock up on axes and keep trying every day.
- Market-Based Title: The Wii installment has the subtitle City Folk in North America and Let's Go to the City in PAL countries.
- Mission-Pack Sequel: City Folk to Wild World; there aren't as many changes as there were going from the original to the DS, or from the Wii to the 3DS, or from the 3DS to the Switch. You can even import your character from Wild World when creating a save file. The only major differences are the addition of the city, which is where most of the previous games' travelling characters were moved, and the return of real-world holidays.
- Retraux: The furniture pieces in the Mario Set are all 3D renditions of sprites from Super Mario Bros, with mock-voxels in place of pixels. In the N64/GameCube games, they were translations of the sprite art to the games' own art style, and in New Leaf, they were modeled after their New Super Mario Bros. counterparts instead.
- Take a Third Option: One possible conversation that you can listen in on between a peppy female neighbor and a lazy male neighbor is them arguing about which one of them is cuter. Eventually, they'll ask you who you think is cuter. Your options are both of the neighbors involved in the conversation... or yourself.