Eight long years we have had to wait, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons is finally here, but was it worth the wait? Anyone who has played will most likely join me in saying … Yes. Without a doubt, absolutely yes.
New Horizons is Animal Crossing as we have never known it before. Previously we have been a new villager in an existing town, New Leaf had us become the mayor of the town which brought some innovative new possibilities to the gameplay, so how does New Horizons build from this? It does so taking you right to the very beginning of it all!
You have opted in to Tom Nook’s brand new deserted island package, where you and two animal villagers have decided to settle down on a deserted island, giving you the opportunity to build a new town completely from scratch. I don’t think I can remember any other game that provided such a chilled out experience right from the beginning of the game! The first several days will serve as your sort of tutorial while new features are brought to your attention one at a time, alongside all the regular features that Animal Crossing fans have come to love and expect.
You will need to play each day for several days to get through this tutorial before the game can really start in earnest. This will include learning about the new crafting mechanic, collecting materials around the island in order to make your own tools, handing in bugs and fish that you catch which will bring Blathers to the island, and there is plenty more to do after that.
It is so satisfying to see the Animal Crossing world on the Switch, with stunning visuals – the animals all look spectacular with their fur textures, the water looks beautifully serene, and even has waves crashing against your cliffs! And it’s not just visual improvements that we’ve been treated to, there’s lots of practical improvements too! Previously you would need to get your hands on some sort of storage furniture to be able to be organised and store things away … but now every house has closet space for you to fill up as you see fit! Do you own a mirror? Well if you do, you can change your appearance whenever you want! How about a wardrobe? No need to put on items of clothing one at a time, trying to figure out a good outfit – you can now look in your wardrobe and take part in some sort of point and click fashion show, with poses that really make it as adorable and charming as you would expect from Animal Crossing.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that so far I am pretty much in love with this game already, and we’ve only just got started! A new layer of life has been given to the villagers, as they interact with the world around them much more. Previously you would either find them at home, or wandering about the island aimlessly, perhaps holding a tool to insinuate that they were doing something. But they’re going to be a lot busier from now on! Head into their homes and they might just be busy crafting something, or if you find them outside they could be exercising in the plaza, sitting on the beach and relaxing, or even sat down reading a book! One of the excellent new features is that you can freely place furniture and items around your island, as opposed to just in your home. It’s never been easier to make the town your own! We even have the luxury of being able to build fencing around our island – once you collect some recipes for them, you can craft them and start plonking them down to make yards, walkways, whatever you want with them!
One of the best new features is the online accessibility: it is by no means a new development to be able to visit your friends’ towns, but it has never been easier, and furthermore you can now have up to 8 people on an island at once! I have had a great time with my friends so far, visiting their islands, seeing what villagers they have, sharing resources, catching bugs and fruit together.
Speaking of fruit, there is finally a reason for you to actually eat fruit instead of just selling anything you get your hands on. Remember when you were told as a child to eat your fruit so you could become big and strong? Well New Horizons takes that message to a whole new level! Eat your fruit so that you can be instantly strong enough to dig up an entire fully grown tree with your shovel, and plant it somewhere else entirely! No longer must we wastefully chop down trees if we find it to be “in the way” or “unsightly” … wait, is that just me? I like my town to look nice okay!
Tom Nook has outdone himself with the Nook Miles program – there are many achievements that you can get, and in return you will receive Nook Miles! These can be exchanged for a wide variety of things – extra inventory space, DIY recipes, special items and clothing, and plenty more. It’s the perfect way to encourage players to take part in everything the game has to offer!
There is a lot more to say about this amazing game, but I suppose that will come in time! Animal Crossing is a game to be played a day at a time, and so I haven’t yet come across all the amazing features that New Horizons has to offer.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
- Release Date: 20/03/2020
- Genre: Casual Life Simulator