First Impressions: Animal Crossing New Horizons

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

I’m a month late to the party, but I did recently buy and download Animal Crossing New Horizons for myself to see if all the hype around the game lived up to my expectations. So far, it’s not that bad at all.

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The Animal Crossing franchise has always been associated with Rachel more than me. When it comes to laid-back, slice-of-life simulation games, I leaned more towards the Harvest Moon series and, now, Stardew Valley. Ever since the first GameCube Animal Crossing game, it wasn’t something that was for me.

I never minded the games. I’ve tried my hand at a few of them, like the original and New Leaf for the 3DS. The original had been cute, a novelty, with the villagers roaming around and being able to share a town with other people in the family was interesting. Rachel and I used to send each other the occasional letter and it was always amusing to hear the animal villagers ask us about each other. Yet, the idea of collecting bugs and fish in order to dwindle your debt just to expand your house for a collection of random items wasn’t my cup of tea.

Rachel has always been the collector. It’s one reason why she enjoyed Super Mario Odyssey more than I did, despite the game’s praise. It didn’t impress me as much as all the critics claimed it would. While collecting would always be a staple in the Animal Crossing series, having something other to focus on was one reason why I thought maybe I wouldn’t mind New Leaf that much.

For a while, New Leaf was fun. Being the mayor of the town and having a few ways to improve the place gave me a few more goals, but I didn’t continue playing it much after the challenge Rachel and I had given each other that enticed me to play it in the first place. Still, I made an effort, but even in my conclusion post for that challenge, I mention how I will leave the Switch version of Animal Crossing to Rachel.

Within this past week, I caved and bought New Horizons for my Switch Lite. I’m not even a week into the game and I’m already enjoying it more than the previous installments that I’ve tried. I’m quite conscious that this could be due to “shiny new game,” but there are plenty of mechanics that I don’t mind.

The crafting is fun, although I would love some sort of durability indicator to let me know when my fishing rod and the like are going to poof out of existence. It allows me to strategize, figure out which of my supplies I’m going to use to craft tools or if I should save them for something else and just buy the flimsy versions of the tools from Nook’s Cranny as a temporary fix. DIY recipes is also a type of collection I can get behind, especially since I also just unlocked the customization feature. Here’s hoping there’s more to the customization rather than just changing the crafted items’ colors.

The Nook Miles is an interesting mechanic as well, and I’m rather amused at Tom Nook having his own brand in the shopping network. Earning Nook Miles allows me to have goals while working towards them at my own pace, something that I enjoy in games like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley. There’s always something to strive for on the horizon, but there’s no rush to get there.

The other main aspect about this game that I like is the co-op modes, both locally and online. Considering I’m not far into the game at all, I haven’t yet had the chance to visit anyone’s islands or have anyone come to my own little place — no, not even Rachel — but seeing how excited everyone else is about it, I’m looking forward to it. I would just like to make my island a little more presentable before opening it to others, haha!

Honestly, what really changed my mind about getting the game was watching and listening to Rachel as she spontaneously joined Jett from In Third Person on his island to try to tag-team the fishing tourney together for more points.

I’m still a new kid to this franchise and, even though I’ve only been playing for a handful of days — and even some of those days were just for an hour or so at night — I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to enjoy New Horizons for a little while longer.

How are you enjoying New Horizons? Any game that made you change your mind about a franchise? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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2 thoughts on “First Impressions: Animal Crossing New Horizons

  1. I got New Horizons on release day and I’ve put over 100 hours into the game so far. (It might also help that two days after I got it, I got the notice that we’d be working from home indefinitely so I’ve had a lot more spare time to put into the game…) I’ve gotten to the end of the small “story” they have set in place and I now have complete free reign over the island. I can easily see how people can get tired/bored of it, but I haven’t yet hit that burnout phase yet. I’ll probably have to scale back in a few weeks, but for now I’m comfortable still trying to breed flowers and decorate the way that I want to decorate. I also love Stardew Valley (I have a collectively 300+ hours across all my farms/copies of the game).

    I actually bought my sister a Switch (the AC version!) just for this game because she begged for it. My fiancé got her the game. However, hers was delayed so I told her she should download Stardew Valley in the meantime. She now has over 150 hours on Stardew and barely 10 into Animal Crossing, which is the whole reason she wanted the Switch! She was the bigger Animal Crossing fan than I was when we went into this.

    • There’s a “story?” I didn’t know that! I usually prefer games with stories, even small ones like Stardew Valley, for example. It’s great to know that, despite you finishing the “story,” you’re not yet burned out.

      Rachel would be jealous to know that your sister has the AC Switch, lol. I’m glad to hear that she’s been having a great time with Stardew Valley! You two sound like Rachel and me — Rachel is more into AC while I have so many hours in Stardew Valley. Perhaps I can convince Rachel to download Stardew Valley on her Switch Lite soon, lol. 🙂

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