Title: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: March 20, 2020
How I got the game: I pre-ordered a digital copy from the Nintendo Switch eShop
Guys. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is here. I mean, it’s been here for a month now, but… it’s here and we can actually play it.
I have to say, I think Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the best Animal Crossing game yet. It’s been a month and, while I have skipped a day or two here and there, this game is hard not to put down and I’m addicted to it. Given to what’s going on in the rest of the world right now, I think Animal Crossing: New Horizons is exactly what we all needed at this time.
For the most part, this isn’t too much different from the previous games in the series. Yet, there are a lot of brand new features.
The point of Animal Crossing is that you move to a new village – or, in this case, a deserted island – and you build up your home, paying off your debt to Tom Nook. In order to make money, you can fish and catch bugs to sell, sell furniture, sell fossils, and the like. There’s a shop where you can buy furniture and other items for your home along with wallpaper and flooring. There’s a clothing store, a flower shop, and so much else to make your village and house your own. No to mention, helping out the museum by donating bugs, fish, art, and fossils.
In New Horizons, you start off on a deserted island that you build from scratch. The island has nothing but fish, bugs to catch, fruit trees, and rocks. Your house first starts off as a tent and the “shop” is a tent as well. Plus, it’s just you, Tom Nook and his two kids, and two villagers. With that said, you’re building a brand new place for people to live. You’re not just concerned about your own home, but the island in its entirety.
You can collect materials such as tree branches, stones, various types of wood, and iron nuggets to craft an abundance of items. These items are tools such as a bug net, fishing pole, shovel, and more. Plus, you can create furniture and other items that you can use to decorate your house or your island. Which is another difference between New Horizons and previous Animal Crossing games – not only do you collect materials and craft things yourself, you can use those items to decorate the whole island.
Now you need to worry about which couch to place in your living room and where to put a picnic table outside.
I love gathering materials and crafting items. It really adds a lot more depth to the game and gives you more to do on a daily basis rather than constantly fishing and catching bugs just to sell to pay off your house or buy things from the store to decorate your home. I have to say though, my favorite new feature is being able to decorate outside of your home and the whole island. I have a plastic kiddie pool in New Leaf that’s in the middle of my living room and it makes absolutely no sense. Now, I have that same plastic kiddie pool in front of Astrid’s house – she’s a kangaroo and I’m sure the little tyke in her pouch would love to go for a swim.
Speaking of things to do, a new feature called Nook Miles has been added. These are achievements for the game. Nook Miles+ is something extra which are daily achievements. Once you reach one, a new one will appear. It makes it so that when you’re playing and you’ve already hit all your rocks and shaken all your trees but don’t necessarily feel like farming fish or bugs for money, you can take a look at some achievements to do in order to gain Nook Miles.
Nook Miles is sort of a reward point system from Tom Nook. You can use these miles to buy certain DIY recipes for crafting or other furniture for your house and island. You can also use these miles to go on Mystery Island Tours. Similar to the island in New Leaf, you can head to another deserted island at random. This is a way for you to gain extra materials. There are rocks to hit and trees to shake. Sometimes, the weather will be different on these random islands than what’s currently happening on your island and you’ll be able to catch different bugs or fish.
All the mystery islands are randomly generated and no two are alike – or so I’m told – however, there are different kinds of islands you can come across. For example, the bamboo island will have bamboo trees for collecting. You can take them back to your island with you and farm bamboo for DIY crafts. The most common island is one that looks normal with your native fruit. The next most common, but rarer than that, is a regular island that has fruit trees that are not your native fruit. There’s also tarantula island, money rock island, and a few more.
On these islands, if you have space and have a house for sale on your own island, you can run into one villager. You can either invite this villager to live on your island or leave them behind. I think this is a pretty cool feature because there are nearly 400 animal villagers to move into your island and you can only have ten. I’ve always loved how random the villagers were, never knowing who you’re going to get, and always hoping for that one special villager. With this, you can pick and choose. It’s still random so if you’re looking for a specific guy, you could be searching for a bit.
The villagers have always been my favorite part about Animal Crossing and now they’re better than ever. They have more dialogue (not much, but still more), they have more emotion behind their words (the reactions do help though), and they do more than just aimlessly wander around. They eat donuts, sit under the trees, run like Sonic, sing… it’s great. Plus, the higher your friendship with them, the more they’ll interact with you and say more things. It’s great.
Speaking of villagers and friends, it’s so easy to have friends over to your island. You can invite anyone locally or via online. If your Switch friends have the game, you can just invite them instead of opening your gates to the world. Also, when you invite someone, you can become best friends with them and there’s an option to only open gates for your best friends. On the flip side, you can use a code to only invite certain people in. Just in case you’re not feeling very social but someone wants to sell their turnips because you have a better price that day, you can use a code to let that person in only.
The best feature of all though? If you’re best friends with someone, you can mail them letters. And it gets to them immediately. I can’t thank Nintendo enough for that one.
Overall, I have little complaints about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I guess I would say I wish you can craft multiple things at once. I made a bunch of birdhouses one day because it the hot item at Nook’s Cranny and I had to build them one by one. If you have the materials in your pocket, it should ask how many you want to make. Although, I can live without that. It’s really just a nit-pick because I honestly can’t find anything else wrong with this game.
I mean, really… what can I say about the graphics and music? No matter what I say, it won’t do them justice. The music, as always, is great. It’s relaxing and calm but catchy. Animal Crossing was always known for its hourly music and also depending on the in-game weather and, for some reason, you need to unlock the hourly music. I don’t mind this and it doesn’t take long to unlock it at all. I just don’t understand why they made it something that needed to be unlocked.
The sound effects are a huge plus as well. It was always satisfying but now you can hear and see the wind blowing through the trees and your character’s hair. You can hear the ocean waves when you’re at the beach and listen to the waterfall. The positional audio is a nice touch as well.
As for the graphics, the villagers look so good. They look much more realistic than they ever did before. They have some texture to them – not a lot, but enough to make it noticeable and for it to look good.
I’m going to be playing this game for the rest of my life. I may get to the point where I don’t check the island every single day, but… I’ll play it for the rest of my life, yes.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons gets…
5 out of 5 lives.