Hands-on experience with the charming casual simulation game
If you've seen an influx in colorful characters popping up on your social media account badgering on about some animals giving them chores to do, they're probably talking about Nintendo's new casual sim Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The game launched on March 20th, 2020 - the same day as brutal FPS DOOM Eternal - in which you must take on the task of turning your very own deserted island into a thriving community-friendly location. With natural resources to collect and plenty of opportunities to craft your own items, furniture and even the island itself, it's no wonder the game has scooped 'Universal acclaim' on Metacritic.
If you're new to the Animal Crossing series, or just fancy learning a bit more about the latest title, we've gathered some information and hands-on experience on what Animal Crossing: New Horizons is, and what to expect.
What is Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a beautifully rendered world of discovery, building, customization and chores. Day to day, we spend our time collecting sticks, fishing, paying off absurdly high debts to the Nook family and avoiding wasp nests. A pro-tip, please remember to save the wasp nest and not sell it like we did.
We hope every one of you has been enjoying your Deserted Island Vacation package by Nook Inc. For us, it has been an excellent distraction and time consumer in these uncertain days of social distancing.
Filling a Museum and shopping
Blathers, the wonderful talkative museum curator owl, uses you expertise to build a vast museum. We were slightly annoyed with this rather cheeky request at first, but once the museum was finished, we were quite happy with the arrangement!
It's lovely to spend the day filling your budding self-built museum with fish and critters. The poor hermit crabs want to be left alone but, alas, we decided to put them in a museum.
There is such a large critterpedia to fill out, and the perfectionist in us wants to catch ’em all. It seems that all you do is help the Nook family and your neighbors build shops unless, of course, you are working on the best island design you can imagine.
Thankfully, you can buy some very cool items from the Nookling’s and Mabel’s shop; we wish we could go in real life!
Furnishing your island paradise
The feature that we've enjoyed the most has been the DIY feature - no longer must you buy all of your tools!
You can get recipes through the Miles Shop, the Nookling’s shop, from other villages on the island, messages in a bottle, or by shooting things down with a slingshot. The DIY recipes can be found all around the game; sadly, you can only collect so many in a day it seems.
You can also get gifts from Gulliver to fill out your house with decorative items, some of the things he sends you are very cool indeed. You can get Gulliver’s presents by digging up spots on the beach where a black shadow appears, and giving him all four communicator parts - the gift will show up the next day, so don’t worry.
Speaking of DIY, you can also customize all of your clothing and make custom patterns for your clothes and flag. So far, we've have made an iconic Pokémon Trainer outfit, the Hero’s Clothes from The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, as well as Mario’s outfit and Toad’s, because why not?
The design of the landscape is a beautiful addition that previous games did not have. Using the ladder to unlock different areas of the island ups the exploration factor nicely, and we found it exciting to gather various materials on the different levels of the island!
We love the island setting that we get instead of the city in New Leaf, as well as the fact that we even get to fully customize the landscape itself. We were also able to make our avatar look exactly as we wanted her to right away, instead of unlocking most of the features through the game to make them the way you want.
Of course, you can buy new hairstyles and clothes, but with the basic options and the customization, you can make an adorable character for yourself right away.
Differences from New Leaf
We weren't able to use the new terraforming customization tools which we saw in the announcement videos yet, and we're sure that this will unlock in time, just as building the museum takes time we're excited to edit the land itself!
The lack of touch controls makes things like inventory management and designing creation a bit more tricky, but the improvement on the design creator is worth the trade-off. We'd like to see the addition of a chest that we could build to make more storage or more pocket expansion.
Even without additional storage, though, you can make the stuff that you've collected goes the distance by either creatively hoarding or using the storage features in the design mode while inside your home.
We hope all of you have a great time foraging, collecting, designing and building - collecting fruit from other islands and finding bugs and fish for our great museums. With no story in sight and lots of things to collect and explore, we hope you all enjoy the Deserted Island Vacation package to its fullest!
Pick up your official Animal Crossing: New Horizons digital Nintendo Switch code right now from Fanatical!
Article by Cara Murchie