Written by Mary Fenner
Nintendo released the highly anticipated game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” (ACNH) last month. I’ve been playing “Animal Crossing” since Nintendo released “Animal Crossing: Wild World” in 2005, so as soon as the new game was available for preorder, I claimed my copy. “Animal Crossing” is a slice of life game series, and ACNH is the fifth game in this beloved saga. There aren’t levels or challenges, which makes for fun, chill game play — perfect for quarantine. Here’s what’s new in “New Horizons:”
- An island setting: While the other “Animal Crossing” games place you in a town that’s already somewhat established, this game brings you to a deserted island where it is your character’s responsibility to build infrastructure and a reputation for your island.
- Smart phones: In this game, every player is given what’s called a Nook Phone. On your Nook Phone, you can keep track of progress (such as the bugs and fish you’ve gathered), view recipes you’ve collected, and find daily tasks you can complete for Nook Miles. They can be redeemed for special items and tickets to go explore Mystery Islands.
- Crafts: In this game, one of the ways to acquire furniture is to build it yourself. Players can find building plans by popping balloons, searching along their beach or talking to villagers on their island.
- Choose your villagers: You have more freedom than ever in ACNH to choose which villagers (or non-playable characters) will live on your island. As mentioned above, players can redeem their Nook Miles for a ticket to a Mystery Island. On that island, you will find potential villagers who express how much they’d love to live on an island full-time. If you like the character you encounter, you can invite them to build a house on your island.
- Multiplayer mode: This is the first “Animal Crossing” game in which multiple people can play on the same console. In multiplayer mode, up to four players from the same island can play at the same time.
- Terraforming: The most exciting addition to this game is the ability to fully customize your island. After completing a few tasks, your character will get a new app on their Nook Phone that allows you to build paths, cliffs and waterways. Many people have gotten creative and posted their island designs online, some of which feature private waterfalls, intricate mazes, parks and stepping stones through rivers.
All of these new features are great, but what’s even more exciting is that Nintendo is constantly putting out new “Animal Crossing” content that can be downloaded to your console. The first notable content was “Bunny Day,” an Easter event that took place on every island. The next event to anticipate is “Nature Day.” In late April, each island will receive a visit from Leif, a character introduced in “Animal Crossing: New Leaf.”
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has brought a lot of fun, new content to fans — old and new — already, and the new adventures are just beginning.