Exclusive: iPhone gets its own Animal Crossing
Want an iPhone game to get excited about? Astro Ranch may well be it. It's being developed by UK firm TAG Games, and is due out early next year.

The company is pitching it as Animal Crossing meets Harvest Moon, except set in a 1950s sci-fi universe, with touch and motion controls, and connectivity to boot.

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.

Astro Ranch 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.

Oh, and compete in "galactic vegetable and livestock competitions" too.

The game will come out for iPhone first, with TAG working towards a March 2009 release date. However, it'll then head to N-Gage and Nintendo DS too, with the connected elements hopefully working cross-platform.

We think Astro Ranch could be a biggie, so will be tracking its progress in the months leading up to its release. Check out the first screenshots above though.

Meanwhile, TAG Games is also working on an iPhone version of its existing Rock'n'Roll mobile game, which will be out before Astro Ranch – likely in the next couple of months.

Remember, you can keep up-to-date with the latest iPhone news and reviews in our dedicated iPhone section.
Stuart Dredge 13/8/2008
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