In all the doom and gloom that we’re facing right now, at least we have Animal Crossing: New Horizons to enjoy and it seems like perfect timing to play a endless simulation game whilst having to be kept indoors.
New Horizons is the fifth main release from Animal Crossing and is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. The non-linear simulation games are played in real-time and sees your custom character purchasing a vacation pack from Tom Nook (the racoon tycoon) and moves to a desert island. You will set up your house and meet lots of anthropomorphic animal friends old and new. The game will be full of collecting, customising and activities. You start off by choosing the island design you prefer and whether you want to live in the Northern or Southern hemisphere.
The slogan for the game is ‘Paradise is what you make it’ which highlights the endless possibilities and customisation the game has to offer. You step off the plane with just your Nook phone and tent. With a bit of do-it-yourself, you will soon evolve the island from a rustic landscape to your ideal home. The more you progress with island, the more visitors and residents you’ll see. The Nook Phone, which is created by Nook Inc. is full of inspiration for crafting, customising outfits and recipes and enables you to keep track of your catches with its ‘Critterpedia’.
Incorporated from the previous title Happy Home Designer you will be able to craft items after collecting wood, rocks and other things you will find around the island. You will be able to make useful tools that will aid you around finding resources and developing the land. The crafting is straightforward: read the recipe, gather the materials and then construct at a workbench like in games such as Minecraft and Terraria. Some materials might require a purchase, but luckily at the resident’s tent you can buy and sell plenty of items.
New Horizons is a lot more creative than previous titles as you are now able to build paths and bridges, changing the way you play and maneuver around the game. Here the islanders will be able to move around with ease. You can also purchase new items by collecting ‘Nook Miles’ which is an in-game currency for completing tasks. Collect enough Nook Miles and you can even reshape the landscape of the island. What makes New Horizons so exciting in comparison to previous games, is that you don’t have to settle with one design and if you fancy a change well then you do that.
The Animal Crossing games have in recent years tried to support connectivity between players with codes for islands in New Leaf and visiting villages on the mobile game Pocket Camp. New Horizons will support local and co-op gameplay with an island having up to eight players (registered on a Nintendo Switch) at one time who can interact with each other and take delightful pictures. The amiibo and Animal Crossing cards will work with the game as well as seen in previous spin-offs, so you can guarantee your favourite villagers coming to visit and hopefully stay.
You will be the island representative and will be the one to greet new visitors. It is essential to build up friendships with them to guarantee their stay on the island. In doing so will result in gifts for you from the islanders and there are usually lots of tasks to help out. As the island will be deserted at first, you will have to watch out for dangerous scorpions and bugs; especially bees. A bee stung can be cured with items collected.
As the game is played in real-time, the island will change with the seasons and that will continue even if you don’t play it for a couple of months… so I guess it’s best not to abandon your village. There will be time-sensitive events and holiday events which will be announced daily by Tom Nook with new rewards. In previous games there have been tournaments for bug catching and fishing. You will also discover a variety of wildlife as the seasons change!
There will be an airport located at the edge of the island where islanders can arrive (they can also wash up on the beach again), but you yourself can use the airport to visit far-off lands. One of the places you can visit includes ‘Photopia’ where you can take exciting photos and the new lands will also include new materials, flora and fauna. The Nintendo Switch mobile app is scheduled to connect with the game and you will be able to text or voice chat with any of the players you are co-cooperatively playing with.
One thing that is important to point out is that Animal Crossing: New Horizons doesn’t support the Nintendo Switch ‘cloud save’ feature, so you will need space on your Switch for this game, but save files if lost or stolen can be retrieved for Nintendo Online members.
I hope you will have as much fun as I playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons and I’m sure Nintendo will have plenty of updates for the game throughout the year. I have to ask the all important question, what are you going to name your island?