You have no doubt heard about the newest game in the Animal Crossing series. New Horizons could not have come at a better time. Everyone that I’ve seen play it have had positive responses to it. Not a big surprise since the series is about the zen of living, debt, and expanding. I’m not here to convince you that Animal Crossing is the best or that you should buy the game yourself. Everyone has different taste when it comes to Animal Crossing, and I happen to have a strong fondness of the series.
After becoming mayor of your own village in New Leaf, it is fitting that you would want to escape. It was only a matter of time before the piles of paperwork, lost of public funding due to zero taxes, and that one scandal (you know the one) to make you want to leave. A deserted island with no inhabitants sounds like the perfect place to hid and leave Isabelle with hiding the bodies. But how to get there and cover up your planned “death?”
“Hey,” Tom Nook says leering over at you with his pile of money.
“How would you like to go on a little plan that I have been working one? It would include reviving a extinct bird species and giving you the ability jump over rivers!”
You give a hard stare because you know this money hungry tanooki is staring at the bells dangling by your waste. You don’t care though. This new island has FREAKING TREES MOVING IN THE WIND! You quickly toss your Nintendo 3DS to the curbside and hop on the Switch train! RIP 3DS. You will be missed.
New Horizons takes the series to Minecraftville and introduces crafting as a core mechanic. Honestly it can be fun since you can make things that you need rather than wait for it to be available in the store. Gathering materials to craft is as simple as shaking a tree and praying to RNGesus that you get normal wood or iron nuggets. The drop rate for certain materials does feel off, especially with iron nuggets. You are never guaranteed them when you are harvesting rocks, and there are a lot of items that require iron nuggets. What is harder than that however is getting normal ass wood! You will have a surplus of soft and hard wood before having normal healthy wood. Enough with the quality of your wood, what other fun things await you in this mystic land?
What do you do with those precious resources that took time to find? Time to chop down a tree and create a workbench! Along with crafting materials, You must also collect cards known as DIY recipes. DIY recipes need to be obtained and memorized because how else are you supposed to know that two sticks equals aero dynamic trajectory codes? There are recipes to create almost anything in the game. You could choose to decorate your house and environment just by using the things you create by hand. Later on, you get the ability to customize the things you make by changing the color or pattern. Finally you can fulfill your dream bringing back the kiddy furniture from the old games! There are drawbacks to this design however as the developers choose to give you the option to make your own tools. This is great except for the part where the tools break and you have to remake them. I saw no issue with this with the flimsy tools since of course this is a stick with a string, I expect it a goldfish to be able to break this. However (to my knowledge), all tools will eventually break no matter the upgrade from passable to “you know gold is not a durable metal.” Unless you carry around a portable workbench like this fool, be prepared to remake rods and nets over and over again.
Ring a ding ding this is a call from your new Nook Phone. The game’s ultimate achievement is making people believe that phone reception works in the middle of nowhere. The Nook Phone is an excellent addition to the Animal Crossing formula as it neatly presents all of the information that you need in the game. While I feel that the whole phone interface has become a common trend in games, it does make sense since people are adapted to using smartphones to access information. Things like looking up DIY recipes to seeing what friends are online make absolute since to use a phone for. I question the ability to create clothes with just a smartphone app, but give and take two years and the technology will be there for us. The criterpedia is my favorite as not only does it tell which fish and bugs I have encountered, but finally it keeps track of what you donated to the museum. It only took us five games but we finally got the feature I have listed on my “Most Wanted Features” list!
The other big addition to the game is the introduction of Nook Miles. Nook Miles are little incentives to get the players to do things they don’t want to do like talk to neighbors. This greatly motivates the player to do things in order to accumulate Nook Miles. Also included are little achievements that grant you more Nook Miles once you complete them. Some of these achievements are brutal like the 100 perfect fishing achievement and some are simple like plant a flower. Some achievements require you do something specific a lot, but that is perfect for a game like Animal Crossing since they are meant to be done over time. As fun as Nook Miles are, I feel like Nintendo missed on a big market here. Include an app for your phone that is linked to your Nintendo account to earn Nook Miles for doing IRL stuff. Got out of bed this morning? Here’s 100 point for you! Did you wash all of your dishes that have been piling up since you’ve been stuck home? Have 200 Nook Miles to celebrate the occasion! Called your mom today? Surprise her by letting her know that you earned 500 Nook Miles just by saying hi.
Progression in this game goes from museum construction speed to tarantula hunting speed once the game really opens up (like five/six days depending on play time). The game is design to make you feel like you turned this wasteland into a bustling community full of memes. No other game in the series makes you feel like you created this community since it was already established in the earlier titles. From choosing all of the locations for houses and buildings, to changing the land and water, this is your town and you have the freedom to do whatever you want. Just don’t ask about building a coffee shop, hairdresser, nightclub, founder’s tree, train station (seriously where would that go?) designer clothes store, or theater. We are on a deserted island for crying out loud. We have to keep the aesthetic.
I have been enjoying my time with New Horizons and can’t wait to see how the rest of the year goes. As of writing this, the eggstravegant event of Bunny Day has come to a close and now we can go about our lives eggless. There were things in this not mentioned like the random islands, Harvey’s non-pornogaphic home studio, the multiplayer aspect, or the sheer amount of hidden things in the game. Some of these things are best experienced on your own and form a personal opinion about. I don’t foresee myself getting bored with this game anytime soon, but as the months go by I will slowly come and visit the island when I have free time. The island of Seaside is still in development and will see constant changes over the years.
Okay Nook I did your promo now give me my Miles!!
Thanks for reading,
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