Animal Crossing: Wild World, a life simulation game, was one of the Nintendo DS' most significant early titles.  It alone moved many DS units.  It looks like the iPhone has it's own take on this theme set to land in the App Store early next year.

As Pocket Gamer reports, Astro Ranch from TAG Games is basically Animal Crossing meets Harvest Moon set in a 1950's sci-fi universe.

You play Sindy Starlight, an intrepid space explorer who crash lands on an alien planet, and has to start her own ranch, while exploring the planet and making nice with its inhabitants.

It'll be part strategy game, with you building up your ranch, and part action title, with sections where you pan for gold by shaking the iPhone, and also build fences and lasso runaway animals by tapping the screen.

The game will feature a user-controlled camera, and an original music score. But here's another exciting element: connected features will let you trade items, and send presents and messages to friends who're also playing the game.

Astro Ranch is slated for a March release on the iPhone with versions for the Nintendo DS and N-Gage handset to follow.

As Pocket Gamer reports, TAG Games is also working on an iPhone port of Rock'n'Roll, which will debut sometime in the next few months.

  • Easy Writer

    "Astro Ranch from TAG Games is basically Animal Crossing meets Harvest Moon set in a 1950’s sci-fi universe."

    To which I say: hell yeah! A touch interface is absolutely ideal for this type of game and will add new gameplay elements. Imagine digging in Harvest Moon by rubbing the ground, or shaking fruit from trees in Animal Crossing by actually shaking the tree... very fun.

  • Ross Kimes

    I love how it is comming for the iPhone first, and the DS version to follow.

  • mavis

    @ Ross Kimes: yeah, that's a very interesting observation. If Apple plays their cards right, they've got a real winner here, above and beyond the killer phone. A gaming unit in direct competition with the big dogs! 😉

    I'm anxious to see how this one turns out!

  • sebimeyer

    fun fact: if you add the two DS screens together it has the same screen dimensions as the iPhone in vertical view.

    I'd say "Nintendo better watch it's back" but apple may have already snuck past them.

  • blakespot

    @sebimeyer: The two screens added together vertically are 256x384. iPhone's is 320x480 - many more pixels. Do you mean physical size (vs. pixels)?

  • Michael

    This game looks amazing, I'm really excited for it, I was a huge fan of Animal Crossing on the GameCube but wasn't too fond of the DS version, building a similar game with a different spin may bring me back to the genre.

  • SteveJ

    This is a great idea, but I hope they manage to incorporate internet play, and without using dreaded "friend codes". Also, it should allow iPhone/Touch players to visit towns of DS and N-Gage players as well. If they do all that, I'm sold.

  • MobileGameFan

    This already looks like it could be the iPhone killer game! If the developer pulls this off the combination of game styles, touch, motion and connected features are going to be sweet. Maybe Nintendo aren't shaking in their boots yet but it looks like iPhone is going to take on the DS as well as mobile!
    Plus this isnt going to cost more than 10 bucks I'd guess - a fraction of a full price DS game. Bargain!

  • Christian Grubbs

    I am very excited for this game to be coming to the iPhone Animal crossing is by far my all time favorite game and harvest moon is up there with it a title that adds both of these for the iphone has great potential

  • pintos-n-cheese

    I was already planning on buying an iPod Touch especially as a gaming device now. But with this game, I think I've just bought one for my wife too. She really enjoyed Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing on the Gamecube. This is too cool.