Animal Crossing: New Horizons

animal crossing new horizons box art nintendo switch
8.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Controls: 9/10

A great time killer that relaxes while being fun

Needs more expansive options for gameplay

Game Info

Game Name: Animal Crossing:  New Horizons

Developer(s): Nintendo EPD

Publisher(s): Nintendo

Platform(s): Switch

Genre(s): Simulation/Strategy

Release Date(s): March 20, 2020

ESRB Rating: E

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Get ready for the Nooks to own you…

Welcome to the island!  Tom Nook is setting up a new island getaway but needs some intrepid adventurers to make it their permanent home.  The island is vast and sometimes even dangerous.  With you helping Tom Nook guide the island’s development, you’ll help name it and build it!  As your island grows, you’ll gain new residence, experience prosperity, and maybe even lure singer KK Slider to the island for a private concert.  Get fishing, digging, and growing to help your island prosper!

Animal Crossing:  New Horizons is a Nintendo Switch real-time simulation game.  Following the last proper Animal Crossing game Animal Crossing:  New Leaf in 2012 (the mobile game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was released in 2017), the game was released to strong reviews and quickly gained a following.

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Tame your wild island!

Like many, Animal Crossing:  New Horizons is my COVID-19 game.  I got it on release day and about a week or two later, lockdown began.  Getting up, fishing, harvesting fruit, finding fossils, and catching bug added some regularity to my day and provided a nice routine.  This might be the best iteration of Animal Crossing, but it also still has some aspects that I wish Nintendo would tweak (like bringing back New Leaf’s swimming).

The game is built on the mundane.  It is relaxing (except if a scorpion, wasp, or tarantula is chasing you).  The simplicity of the game is the joy of the game, but it can also be the frustration.  Each day you await to see if Redd will come with new paintings to fill your museum only to find Kicks selling shoes (again), or you cast your line with the hope of catching a new fish only to reel in another horse mackerel.  After weeks of playing it and getting “caught up” on the events of the game, you might tire of it quickly…and then only the new month will bring excitement of new fish.

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I wish Wisp was more of zombie-corpse that wandered the night

To add some fun to game, the game essentially built achievements much like Xbox or PlayStation’s trophies.  You can use this to go to other islands, buy things, and have some more set goals…but the items to purchase run out quickly and the list of achievements is kind of lacking.  If the game hadn’t been released during a time when people were being quarantined, it might have extended the life of the game more.  I also wish some of the islands you travel to might be in the opposite hemisphere that you are staying in just to add some variety (even if it costs more Nook Miles).

The graphics and controls are intuitive.  Fishing, running, and catching bugs is easy and quick to pick up though I do wish they did a better job being able to cycle your tools easier (especially since they break all the time).  Visually, You can really customize your island if you are into that and there are plenty of different styles and looks you can go for and the other residents often give you ideas with their homes (which unfortunately never seem to expand like yours).

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More celebrations to come?

The other inhabitants of your island can either please you or drive you crazy.  It is exciting to get a new resident, but the residents cap out rather quickly (even if you manage your island’s space).  The game has built an online network which lends itself to people connecting, trading, and selling items to customize their islands…and don’t even start with the “Stalk Market” which has people scrambling to rake in the most bells from Daisy Mae’s radish selling business.

Animal Crossing:  New Horizons is a brilliant waste of time.  That isn’t an insult to the game, but it is a “chill” game that can give you joy simply by catching a golden trout or visiting your museum.  I wish there was some more strategy to the game like luring more insects and fish by certain environments (in the vein of Viva Pinata), and I wish you could simply build fifteen fish baits at once instead of individually.  Fortunately with the update nature of the game, Nintendo can tweak and modify the game as it goes on…and maybe complaints and praises of Animal Crossing will shape your island.  The possibilities can be limitless!

Related Links:

Animal Crossing:  New Leaf

Animal Crossing:  City Folk

Animal Crossing:  Amiibo Festival

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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