For those of you that missed it back in March, Animal Crossing has returned for the Nintendo Switch and has taken the world by storm! After the success of the Nintendo Wii outing New Leaf plus the mobile app Pocket Camp, the return of the wholesome and cute animal life simulator is all too welcome!
The release has received mass critical and fan acclaim for its fun new features and refined gameplay. Not to mention the memes that have spawned from its release being coupled with popular game title – Doom: Eternal, with fan favorite character Isabelle navigating the demon invested plains of Doom.
So if you find yourself falling behind and need to brush up on your Animal Crossing knowledge, we are here to help! We have a guide that will help come to grips with a brand new adventure. Heck, you might even pay that mortgage off and give old Tom Nook a heart attack!
What’s New in New Horizons?
There are a plethora of new and interesting additions to the previous titles that truly allow for creative emergent gameplay. This means a higher level of detail and depth that you can throw into your lovely island! Here’s the differences you can expect:
First thing is the set of tools you can use to dig, fish, catch bugs and water plants. These don’t change too much. However there is a few new additions for players to enjoy. Green-fingered players can use a path-making spade to make dirt paths. These can really help to create a front garden effect for your home that was previously missing in AC titles.
You’ll also have access to new tools that will allow for easy traversal across your island, such as the ladder to climb to higher levels of the island, and the pole vault to get across rivers without the aid of a bridge. You’ll find yourself waiting a little while for these navigation tools until the game has taught you all you need before you are set free. Thankfully, this isn’t a massive wait!
Lastly, you have the magic wand which is easily the most innovative tool addition. This feature allows you to hotkey eight clothing items from your wardrobe from which you’ll be able to switch quickly as you go about your daily errands. This can offer great benefits, for e.g. perhaps you have a pal come to your island and you aren’t spruced up. Well, one wave of the wand and that problem is history!
Note, though, there is a challenging addition to the tool system: New Horizons features a degradation system! Tools now come with adjectives describing their durability, such as a ‘flimsy fishing rod’ for example.
Resetti is Gone!
Remember when you first switched off without saving and the angry mole named Mr Resetti came to your home? Then he drilled into you a long and boring speech about the importance of saving. Well, Mr Resetti is no more! The game features a conventional auto-save system which will come as a relief to most casual players. Although… this might will perhaps be a sad omission for fans of the novel mole.
For fans of your beloved mole (in the game, not on your face), fear not! Resetti has got a new job on the island! He acts as a fast travel service on the island, allowing players to move around at 100 miles each time. If you need further clarification, listen to the music when you use the service. If those aren’t the classic Resetti melodies, we don’t know what are!
The game also boasts a range of new aesthetic features that have jazzed up the title. Character customization is more fleshed out, allowing players to pick more gender neutral hairstyles and androgynous facial structures, while wearing backpacks and satchels. This truly adds a personal touch for everyone!
Players also have the option of changing hemisphere settings to match their own lifestyles, like how an American Winter doesn’t quite match a Singaporean one. This feature allows you to emulate your own realities in the game. Even if that means more rainy days in your virtual world as well, at least it’s realistic!
The aesthetic changes don’t just focus on the player’s character though. The developers have clearly put more focus on models for NPCs, with islanders able to accessorize more and display varied styles other than their default attires. A small but welcome touch.
Of course, nobody can forget our favorite character, Bob, who returns to every AC game!
In terms of the tailor that we know and love, not an awful lot has changed, however there has been a brand new addition to the clothing retail front. Players will be able to purchase new shoes or ‘kicks’ from a dedicated shoe store for the first time. Meaning players who can never have enough shoes in real life can live their best in the game!
If you’re interested in even more clothes for your character, we’ve got a Clothing Guide for Animal Crossing: New Leaf! Two different games means double the fashion zeal!
Decor and Designing
New Horizons has reinvigorated the already adored formula of AC, tweaking ever slightly to great effect. One change has been a simple but effective one — the ability to move items and furniture a half tile. No longer are players forced into blocky and unnatural furniture arrangements! It now looks much more natural, plus offers more room and scope for interesting interior designs.
Players will also have the ability to change up their whole island’s design with the new island designer. This will allow players to up and move key resources like the museum, shops or residents’ houses. Plus they will also be able to adapt rivers directions, or just remove them entirely. If you ever wanted to feel in complete control of your island, this AC title nails it!
Collectible cards are some things that are just perfectly family-friendly and wholesome for every child and their friends. AC isn’t a stranger to them – the virtual versions, that is! Check our breakdown of Amiibo Cards to be collected!
Our Top Five Tips
So with all these new and interesting additions to get your head around, we understand that it can easily get a bit too much. A big island to run all by yourself can get pretty overwhelming. We don’t want to ruin the surprises this game has in store for you, so we’ll give you just a little nudge in the right direction.
Here are our top five tips to help you start your journey:
1. Tighten the Purse Strings
Throughout the initial hours of the game, you’ll be showered in miles (read that in the context as dollars), a currency used for various things within Animal Cross: New Horizons that works separately from the usual currency, bells. You might be tempted to spend these quickly and frivolously, though these miles will aid you better if used for near essential item upgrades early on.
You’ll be able to get ten extra inventory slots, or, alternatively, a tool ring that allows easy hotkeyed access to your tools. Both of these purchases will make your early game as smooth as butter. So take our advice: spend wisely!
Remember to Remember Celeste
Celeste is a character that will appear quite early on in the game. She’s a sister of the old blathering owl aptly named Blathers who runs the museum. She will reappear on the island approximately twenty days into your adventure. You’ll want to talk to her as soon as you can, the reason being, she’s your ticket to the magic wand tool!
Plant Money Trees
Remember that age old saying your parents would recite every time you asked them for a new toy or game? “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” Well forget that, because in Animal Crossing, it does! Once you have upgraded your shovel to the golden standard, it means you have acquired a pretty masterful gardening skill.
To make money trees, all you need to do is take a sum of money and put it in your general inventory. From there, plant that puppy, and with daily care and attention, that sapling will grow into a money tree! When shaken, it will drop a guaranteed amount of bells everyday, giving you back your initial investment and then some. Just be careful though – occasionally you might upset a swarm of bees. In that case you better run!
Pay Your Debts
That’s right, you remember that crushing debt that Tom Nook treated you to, pretty much as soon as you arrived! Well, as you hone your skills and begin to make money faster and faster, don’t forget to save some bells to pay your bills. Not because it’s the right thing to do, no way! The reason being that if you do, you can get house expansions, which means more room for more stuffs! Just be aware that it means even more debt… Regardless, the morale of the story is to always save a little! Just like in real life!
This might sound patronizing, and we honestly don’t mean it that way, we swear! With games from this genre, such as Stardew Valley, Slime Rancher or Harvest Moon, it can be easy to lose yourself. What was once fun is now an endless, monotonous grind. Playing whimsically can became a meticulously planned chore list, complete with spreadsheets and timetables. It sounds ludicrous, but believe us, it can happen. So remember to take regular breaks and try to find the fun in every moment!
That’s our comprehensive beginners guide to Animal Crossing: New Horizons! What’s the best new feature for this title? Does it outshine the previous entries in the series? What were your first impressions and experiences? Let us know in the comments and thank you for reading!