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Animal Crossing: New Horizons provides creative, unique island life game


Animal Crossing New Horizons offers a somewhat different approach as opposed to other popular video games. In this game, the player experiences a very minimal amount of danger, preventing a way to actually lose the game. Then, what is the point in playing? While not composed of many “on the edge of your seat” moments, Animal Crossing creates a peaceful atmosphere, which contributes to why the game sold better than every other 2020 game so far except Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

[/media-credit] The vaulting pole is a new addition to the games, allowing the player to cross rivers.

New Horizons shares the Animal Crossing title along with 5 other games by Nintendo, Animal Crossing (2001), Wild World (2005), City Folk (2008), New Leaf (2012), and the most recent addition, New Horizons. New Horizons released March 20, 2020 alongside a first person shooter game, Doom: Eternal. New Horizons released during the early stages of quarantine, inspiring people to pick up the game to play throughout the stay-in-place.

The main objective of New Horizons consists of turning a deserted island into a well-inhabited paradise. The player customizes their character (the only humans in the games), name, and what part of the world they live in. This will determine the native fruit of the island and when certain bugs and fish appear. The player arrives at the island along with Tom Nook the raccoon, organizer of your island getaway, his nephews, Timmy and Tommy, and two villagers that live on the island with you. Once on the island, Tom Nook instructs the player in the game basics.

Animal Crossing tweeted a video briefly explaining the ins and outs of New Horizons. The video explains and gives examples of the goals and opportunities of the game.

Throughout the game, the player progressively unlocks more things to do as well as buildings and more villagers. After presenting caught bugs and fish to Tom Nook, the player unlocks the museum, allowing them to donate and display the creatures they catch. The player also unlocks Nook’s Cranny, a store run by Timmy and Tommy selling tools, furniture and other miscellaneous items for bells (the in-game currency). Two hedgehogs called the Able sisters run a clothing store on the island once the player buys from them a certain amount of times.

[/media-credit] Players interact with and even give give gifts to the villagers on their island.

Villagers add a great deal of character to New Horizons. There are 333 different villagers, each with their own catchphrase and one of eight personalities. All of the villagers are a type of animal. Most are Mammals, birds, or reptiles, but there are a few that break this rule (ex. an octopus). The players island houses 10 villagers max, plus another that lives in a campsite and only moves in once the player decides to let them in by kicking another villiger out to create space.

Daily objectives appear to reward the player with Nook Miles, points used to buy decorations and Nook Miles Tickets. These tickets allow the player to travel to different islands to collect resources not native to the player’s home island. These tickets also give the player a chance to find rare fish, fruit, and bugs.

Animal Crossing presents every possible opportunity to allow the player to personalize their experience. Furniture, wallpaper, flooring, and even caught animals players use to decorate their house. The house starts out as one room after upgrading from a tent. Once a player decides they want their house to be bigger, they talk to Tom Nook, who tells them how much debt they have to pay off in the future (yes, there is debt in Animal Crossing). The coast to expand the house grows with every addition, with the last expansion costing 2.5 million bells. In addition to the original room, the player unlocks 3 other side rooms, an attic, and a basement.

[/media-credit] Events such as meteor showers only happen at night, forcing the player to also stay up to see them.

I appreciate Animal Crossing’s attention to detail regarding the seasons. New Horizons features 80 different bugs and fish swapped out each month. Some creatures, such as the rare oarfish, only appear at certain times of the year corresponding to the season in which they appear in real life.

One of the negative aspects of this game however, is the amount of time the player must put into it. Quite a few objectives and events within the game take place on certain days at certain times. Different bugs and fish also appear at different times of the day. If a player wants to complete everything within the game, they might find it beneficial to play the game every day to see what new things are available.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a very enjoyable and peaceful experience. While there are some frustrating mechanics, it makes the good aspects much more rewarding. New Horizons costs $59.99 and is only available for the Nintendo Switch. The game can be downloaded via switch, or bought physically at retail stores selling video games.

For more reviews, read The Battle of Polytopia shows creativity, strategy through simplicity, and Book Review: Ghost Soldiers

Brayden Iest can be reached via Twitter and email.

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