Why is this so successful? Did it tap into the same audience that made Animal Crossing successful?
Probably. Those kind of games seem to do extremely well in Japan. However, to me Fantasy Life looks far better than Animal Crossing.
Have you ever played Professor Layton and the Last Specter? If so, have you ever messed with that "bonus mode" called London Life? Supposedly that was also developed by Brownie Brown (the ones who made Fantasy Life) and was added to Last Specter to give folks a small "taste" of the type of gameplay was to come with Fantasy Life. Except in the case of Fantasy Life, obviously the setting is not London, and I'm sure the bulk of activites and such in FL is more substantial that what was offered in LL.
"If a beautiful woman with a big chest is in trouble, save them even if it means your life." - Shing Meteoryte, Tales of Hearts
No, I passed on that sim game or whatever because, supposedly, it's a total timesink that some folks where saying is better than the game it came with...might have to dust that off now before I give the game away.
Go to Gamestop, buy a Steam card, and use it to purchase Ys Origin. You won't be disappointed. For more info: http://www.worldofys.com/yso/