So, unless you live under an actual rock, you probably know that a new game called Animal Crossing: New Horizons came last week. It is the latest in a series of games, all based around living in a peaceful environment surrounded by anthropomorphic animal friends, spending your days fishing and catching bugs. Usually, there is some kind of community development too, as you help build new buildings or monuments. This installment has all that and more! It takes place on a deserted island that you are visiting as a part of a getaway vacation package. After arriving, it’s up to you to develop the land from a bunch of tents into a real place for permanent living.
Basically, it comes down to being the most adorable and relaxing game I’ve played in a while. Nothing is urgent or pressing. You can just take your time playing however you like, decorating your home, planting flowers, or travelling to other mystery islands. I’ve become hopelessly addicted.
This post is going to be part review, part me showing off my island and house. As far as the review goes, I’ll start by saying that if you have ever played an Animal Crossing game before, this is the exact same formula as those other games. The fishing and bug catching is identical, the community development is similar, and Tom Nook is just as money-hungry as always. There are some new things too, like your new smartphone, visiting mystery islands, and an entirely new crafting system. It’s the perfect mix of familiar and fresh.
A big part of the game is choosing how to decorate your brand new island. In the beginning, it only has a few trees, some flowers, and a lovely beach. It’s up to you to give the island it’s own character and style. You also get to name your island, which is a huge decision since you cannot change it later on. I went with the simple Pearl Bay.
As mentioned previously, this game is absolutely adorable. Everything in it is just so cute, from the decorations to the clothes to the villagers and right down to the bugs that you can catch and sell for bells (the local currency). I’ve chosen to welcome visitors to my island with this sign that I custom made by hand. I also handmade the path my character is standing on, which I use all throughout my island, connecting houses and shops.
Since the main gameplay here is catching bugs and fish to sell for money, there is also a little museum that you can help fill out by donating one type of bug or fish you catch to Blathers, the cute little owl that runs it. They then get displayed in the aquarium, insectarium, or museum, which is where any fossils you dig up go to be displayed. It’s a wonderful area, much bigger and grander than in past games. It almost feels like you’re really visiting a museum and are really looking at these creatures.
To me, the best part of all of this is getting to design and decorate your house anyway that you want! There is seemingly endless flooring, wallpaper, and furniture at your disposal for creating anything you can imagine. You start off the house with one big room, which you can expand upon and add more rooms to by paying off the real estate magnate, Tom Nook. This man (tanuki to be more specific) will allow you to take out a loan in order to pay for your renovations. You can pay this loan back at any time or speed that you want to, with no interest or minimum payments. You basically only have to pay it off if you want another renovation.
Now onto the house tour! I am very proud of everything I’ve managed to do so far in such a small amount of time. I have grand plans for my house, but for now, this is how it is. Outside we have a cute little picnic scene next to a lovely campfire. I also built a little yard for my birdhouse and flowers. Notice my sweet gnome as well.
So far, I have three rooms in total in my house, and I’m almost done paying off to get my fourth. The main room is a bedroom and general living space. It has a dark wood theme and I find it to be very warm and comforting to be in. I also threw in a koi to keep me company and board game in case someone comes to visit.
As for my second room, I decided to turn it into a bathroom and general-purpose closet. To be clear, you by no means have to have any sort of “normal” rooms in your house. They could all just be filled with random fish, stuffed animals, or anything else you want. I am choosing to try and replicate a real house because I think it’s super cute to have a mini version of a real house but more cutesy than real life could ever be.
The last room is definitely still a work in progress. It’s going to be a kitchen with a dining area, but so far the only real furniture I have to put in it is this stone fire stove. I’m hoping to add a kitchenette, counters, tables, chairs, and some appliances. I already have a mixer, a diner chair, dinnerware, a toaster, and even a diner uniform to wear when I’m in there! I’m such a dork.
As for my development outside my own decorating and designing, things are coming along swimmingly! I opened up a permanent shop and currently, my Resident Services are getting renovated from a little tent into a real building! This game is real-time, meaning that it matches whatever time, date, and season it is in real life. Waiting an entire day for something to be built or to arrive is agonizing, but makes it even more satisfying when it does finally happen.
All in all, I cannot recommend this game enough. With so much in real life uncertain and very scary, escaping into the world of Animal Crossing has been truly a saviour to my mental health. The only time that I’m not worrying about Covid-19 excessively is when I have my Switch on and my fishing bobber in the water. It’s a world where everything is peaceful and serene. The most intense thing that could happen is you get stung by a wasp or bitten by a tarantula, in which case all that happens is your character gets a swollen eye or faints and wake up back at their house, respectively. It has quickly become my new happy place.
Have you been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons? If so, sound off in the comments with how you’re decorating your island, house, etc!
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