My first experience with the Animal Crossing series was on the GameCube. Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and witnessing the feverish hype surrounding the game, it is evident that Animal Crossing has become one of Nintendo’s most popular and acclaimed series since its humble debut on Nintendo’s purple box that could.
Tracing the history of the Animal Crossing franchise is an important part of understanding why New Horizons has had gamers clearing shelves across the country, not unlike the pandemic panic buying of toilet paper that has concurrently been taking place.
The Animal Crossing series began rather humbly. The GameCube version didn’t allow for travelling to other players villages via online play because, quite simply, that wasn’t a possibility at the time. The game simply charged you with paying off your home loan, building up your own house, and welcoming other villagers to your town.
I have many fond memories bonding over this game with my siblings—my sister of which has rather eagerly aided me in making this a joint Humble Opinions piece, which I think is fitting because of how the Animal Crossing series had evolved over time.
With each iteration, the Animal Crossing series ventured more into the idea of connecting with other players; Wild World on the DS would be the first to explore this, in conjunction with City Folk, and New Leaf on the 3DS would go on to polish it. New Horizons is the first game to perfect it. While adding countless other features, it is the seamless ability to travel to other players islands and interact with one another that has made New Horizons truly the best entry in the series thus far.
There is countless hours to be sunk into this game which never seems to run out of things for you to do. That said, on some things you are bound to the axis of real time. It is simply the deepest and most complete Animal Crossing experience to date. I have been absolutely loving connecting with my friends and siblings, and sharing the secrets of the game as well—as we all embark on this island journey in a global and local community.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons truly succeeds as Nintendo’s premier interactive gaming experience by focusing not on the animals you cross, but instead on the people you cross. It is truly a game that is best shared with others. The bonds, the moments, and memories made are important, maybe more so than ever in this pandemic stricken world—we need Animal Crossing and the way it connects us in this currently, profoundly disconnected world.
Animal Crossing has always been one of my favourite games from my childhood. When I heard that Nintendo was releasing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Switch, I couldn’t wait to try it out. The last time I played Animal Crossing was back on the GameCube many years ago, and the thought of being able to play it again brought back many great memories from my childhood.
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you start out by choosing what you want your character to look like, as well as the name and layout of the island which you will be inhabiting. Once you arrive at your island, you choose where you would like to have your home (which starts off as a tent). If you have played Animal Crossing before, you would be familiar with Tom Nook—he is the one you go to for advice on matters relating to the island, like how to upgrade your home (which you are soon able to do). You can also create your own furniture with DIY recipes which you can receive off other island residents (even Tom Nook himself); some recipes even fall from the sky, or wash up on the beach.
One thing I absolutely love that they brought into this game is the Nook Miles program. These are points you can earn by doing fun things around the island—such as chopping wood from trees, collecting fruit, catching fish, catching bugs, or even talking to the other residents. Nook Miles can also be used to purchase items such as furniture, clothing items to change up your look, or tickets to travel to other islands from the airport (where you can gather more supplies or items as you go on). Using the Nook Miles Ticket to travel to other islands gives you the opportunity to meet other characters, who can end up moving to your island. Any supplies that you forage, you can then sell at your own island to earn Bells (the main currency)—which can be used to pay off the upgrades to your home, or to buy furniture and other items. Nook Miles can also be used to upgrade your pockets so that you can carry more items, as well your tool belt so you can quickly grab a tool when needed.
Another thing that I enjoy about this game is the fact that you can actually set up the whole island how you want it. You have the capability to put furniture outside, not just inside your home, so you can set up outdoor areas to give your island more appeal to prospective residents. You can also plant trees and flowers wherever you like as well.
You also will find, after a few days of completing tasks and goals, Tom Nook will ask you to start bringing him some fish and bugs—so that he can invite his friend Blathers to the island. Once Blathers comes along, he will open an awesome museum where you can see all the creatures you have donated over time. It’s a great way to see how much you have accomplished, and is also very fun and entertaining. Whatever has already been donated can also be sold for lots of Bells.
Out of all the amazing new things that come with this game, there is one thing that I did find a little cumbersome: once you update the shop to Nook’s Cranny, it is only open between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm. There is a drop-off box that you can use to sell items outside these hours, which is great, receiving the Bells the next day—which isn’t too bad. I understand that they were trying to create a concept of realism in doing this; however, I may not always play between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm, and then I would miss out on buying any of the items available on that day (as the items change daily). I do love the fact that the game is in real time—and that the weather even correlates to the weather that you are currently experiencing in real life—I just wish the shop was open 24/7; we know we are playing a game, so it doesn’t break the realism to me. Also on that note, some of the residents sleep in to, say, 10:00 am—and you need to speak with them to complete goals to earn Nook Miles. This can be a bit inconvenient, and makes you want to stop playing the game and revisit it later.
Another great thing is that you can connect online with your friends and visit their islands, or they can come visit yours. You just go to the island airport and open the gates for your friends to check out your island. You can also visit them by clicking the local or online option and following the prompts.
Overall, I would say I absolutely love this game, and it certainly lived up to the hype. I really have enjoyed playing; it has brought back many fond memories from my childhood. Playing Animal Crossing on the GameCube with my brothers where we shared a town, now we are bonding by playing New Horizons and visiting each other’s islands. It has created another thing for us to bond over, and is such a fun and different way to connect with friends and family. Sometimes something so simple can be so fun, and also help us reconnect with loved ones. I honestly love this game so much that it has become a part of my daily routine—some would say that I am somewhat addicted to this game. I can’t wait to see what I can achieve next!