Enter the world of Animal Crossing. Make friends with the animals, fish to your heart’s content, find every fossil to be displayed at the museum, decorate your house over and over again… You can totally ignore all responsibilities (like paying back loans) and do other things in the game if you just don’t feel like dealing with the stresses of the “main” story line. — A Geeky Gal, VGC Day 2: What game can you ignore the story and just “live” in the world? (2018)
It’s feeling like deja vu around here… I bought yet another console just for a single game. Over five years ago, I purchased a 3DS for the sole purpose of playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Here we are again in 2020 where I have purchased a Switch just in time to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons. And honestly, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Brief intro: Welcome to the world of Animal Crossing (again)! You have joined Tom Nook and two villagers in occupying and building up a tropical island. You can create you character unlike in previous games where answering a few questions determines your appearance for you. You also get to choose an island layout similar to New Leaf where you can pick your town’s layout.
Now that you’ve made it to the island… what’s next? Gathering resources, discovering mystery islands, finding DIY recipes, building and crafting, inviting animal residents to your island, and more! Life happens in real time with holidays, events, seasons, and even wildlife that corresponds to dates and times. Make the most of your time on the island by doing exactly what you want.
Review: Everyone can agree that world is basically in shambles at the moment of me writing this. Twitter begged Nintendo to release Animal Crossing early. We needed the comfort from such a wholesome game. I didn’t pre-order New Horizons even though I had fully expected to get it and the Switch on the day it released. Life had other plans though, and Switches sold out across the Unite States. Alec and I were lucky enough to snag the last one at Kohl’s of all places thanks to a tip from a friend a day or two after the official release of New Horizons.
I had the Switch, and I had the game. All that was left was to jump in with both feet.
I wasn’t surprised that character creation was limited. In fact, I expected it as past games were never heavy on it to begin with. I got a cute starter outfit, then I was on my way to my deserted island. Upon arrival I learned that of course I purchased my deserted island package from Tom Crook, I mean Tom Nook. Tom brough along Timmy and Tommy so I was happy to see their little faces again.
Rocket and Rory were also on the island with me, and all of us were in tents. I did the option to upgrade to a house using Nook Miles. Nook Miles is a new in-game currency you can earn by completing various tasks through your new Nook Phone. The Nook Phone does all kinds of neat things like holding your crafting recipes (a feature from Pocket Camp), access to a camera where you can get the perfect shot, a map of the island, your passport, an app to create custom designs, the Critterpedia where you can track all the bugs and fish you’ve caught, and more. It’s pretty handy.
By far one of my favorite new features is crafting from DIY recipes. You can buy recipes, find them in bottles, or your island residents may be so kind to give you one of theirs! You can use these recipes to make all kinds of furniture, tools, and accessories. It opens up so many possibilities to make your island more personal, especially now that you can put furniture where ever your heart desires. The trouble comes in when you need recipes for recipes! But it just adds to the fun of getting the recipes, honestly.
I know a lot of gamers enjoy time traveling in New Horizons (resetting clocks and dates to go into the future then back to the present to speed gameplay up), but I am relaxing and taking my time with my little island. I have eight residents so far, Blather’s museum, a campsite, Nook’s Cranny, a townhall (island-hall?), and the Able Sisters’ Shop. I’ve finished building two bridges and am currently working on a ramp to what I hope will be a beautiful cliff side park. I have been able to upgrade my cute little home to two rooms and have been collecting DIY recipes as much as I can.
One feature I have recently been able to take advantage of is going to friends’ islands. You need a subscription to Nintendo which I had been putting off since I brought New Horizons home, but talked myself into it when I realized I have some real-life friends who I wouldn’t mind seeing in the game. It’s been fun to visit each other every other day and take advantage of Flick (who buys bugs for top dollar) and CJ (who buys fish for top dollar) when they visit a friend’s island.
I will say that I initally hesitant to spend the $35 on the subscription for the year because of the “griefing” I’ve seen taking place. What I mean is, people will share their friend codes in a public space like a facebook group. Strangers will come to their island and ransack the place by taking flowers or destroying them, stealing items, stealing fruit, breaking rocks, chopping down trees, etc. Is this the exception and not the “norm?” Sure, but it hurts my heart to see such a wholesome game being taken advantage of by trolls…
Regardless, New Horizons has taken me away from the troubles of the world currently. I am able to lose myself in mundane activities, feel accomplished over little things, and look forward to logging in every day when all I actually have to look forward to is rolling out of bed and into my office chair to work from home. It’s saving me right now.
Bottom Line: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the only thing holding the world together right now, and for good reason.
Official Rating: E
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