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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Posted by GG Goblin On March - 30 - 2020

It is time to start lining Tom Nook’s pockets again.

At the launch of the Nintendo Switch console, avid Nintendo fans mostly looked forward to four things – Zelda, Mario, Pokémon and Animal Crossing. Zelda came first and proved to be a revelation. Then came the new Mario game, which also proved to be great. Then there was a bit of a wait until the new Pokémon games arrived, and that turned out to be worth the wait. Now, just over three years after the launch of the Switch, Nintendo’s fans are able to surrender all of their finances to Tom Nook in the newest Animal Crossing game and it just so happens to be awesome.


The Nintendo Switch has brought many new-to-Nintendo gamers into the Nintendo fold, and they may be the players who don’t know what to expect from Animal Crossing: New Horizons. For more general gamers, they may know of The Sims, which is perhaps a close comparison to Animal Crossing. It is primarily a life simulator in which the player will go about their days controlling a character as they build up their dwelling, make friends and generally enjoy a quiet life. The game world works in real time, and will encourage players to come back weeks and months later as special events happen in the world, just as they do in the real world. As an example, the Animal Crossing version of Easter is due to kick off soon, and is sure to provide plenty of new stuff to discover.

For the returning fans, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is pretty much exactly what you would expect, a newer, shinier version of the much loved game. Sure, the changes from the previous entry may not be ground breaking, but more of a good thing is never something to complain about.

As ever, the player starts off by creating their character, which is not as final as it used to be, with almost every aspect available to customise further down the line for indecisive players. Once done, this character moves to Tom Nook’s latest venture, a randomly generated deserted island. Unlike previous titles in the series, this time around the player will be starting from scratch, with only a tent available for sleeping in. A couple of travelling friends will also come to the island, with their own tents, and the player will have the chance to choose where to place these tents.


The island doesn’t even have the usual shops and buildings, but these will come in time. To start with, the player will just have to busy themselves with tidying the place up. Through making everything look nicer, the player will be able to gain some Bells, the Animal Crossing currency. Tom Nook is the ultimate capitalist, and it isn’t long before he offers the player a house to call home, which will lead to a not insubstantial debt that the player will have to pay off through their hard work. It doesn’t end there, either, as expansions for the house will become available as each previous loan is paid, off, leading to an early game in which the player will be swimming in debt, not that there is any real concern with when this is paid back.

Making money, or Bells, couldn’t be easier in the game. From gathering fruit to catching fish, there are plenty of different activities that will reward the player with money. Of course, there are also plenty of things that the player can spend their money on, as slowly but surely new buildings will be constructed, giving access to various services, along with the travelling merchants that show up occasionally with cool new furnishings, hairstyles or clothes for the player to buy.

The player doesn’t have to buy everything in the game, as some items can actually be crafted. The new crafting mechanics in New Horizons are great, allowing the player craft all manner of things, from tools that degrade over time and will need replacing, to furniture. Crafting anything will first need the player to obtain a blueprint, and then gather all of the required resources. Between the crafting and the requirements of Tom Nook as he demands items for new residents, the player will be going through a lot of resources, but at least it will keep them busy.


Bells are not the only form of currency in New Horizons though. Tom Nook, ever looking for a way to make more cash, has introduced a “loyalty card” of sorts. Nook Miles are rewarded to the player for doing various things on the island, which is nice in itself as it will give the player some direction in what to aim for. These Nook Miles can be used for various different things that cannot be purchased otherwise, including air trips to other islands. These tours will take the player to a random island, where they can meet other characters and gather whatever resources they need, some of which may not be available on their own island. While finding more resources or new types of fish is great, sometimes it is just the change in scenery that is most welcome.

Not that there will ever be a shortage of things to see and do on the players’ own island. Animal Crossing has always been, and still is, a game about being in it for the long haul. The game plays in real time, which not only means that to go out at night in the game will mean waiting until night in the real world, but also that New Horizons will presumably not see any snow until next winter. Buildings take time to build, and new characters will turn up on the island with alarming regularity, meaning that the player will need to check in on a daily basis to see all that the game has to offer. Throw in seasonal events and special occasions, and this will be a game that players will come back to for years to come. For minute to minute though, pulling up weeds, catching insects, fishing, gathering resources, and even shooting balloons that float through the sky to receive presents, are all things that will allow the time to pass in the most relaxing way.

Should the player need some company, there are options for online play and visiting the islands of friends. These are, as is Nintendo’s way, slightly more complex than they need to be, but they are there nonetheless and the additional levels of security will at least prevent evil players from messing with your well manicured island. Local play is easy enough though, as each player only needs a single Joy-Con, so it can be enjoyed by a pair without the need to buy additional equipment. When playing local, one player will be in charge and the others will be limited to what they do, but changing the leader is easy.


There is a laid back charm to Animal Crossing: New Horizons that, given the current state of the world, feels sorely needed. Sure, much of the game may feel like busy work, but as it is always leading towards something new, it’s all good. For newcomers, there is no danger or risk in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but there is plenty of excitement in discovering new things to see and do. For the returning players, it will come as no surprise to hear that this is the best Animal Crossing game ever, and it has certainly been worth the wait.




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