Pretty sure that by this point, you’ve probably realised that Nintendo recently released Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Switch console and I’ve seen a few tweets asking the same question: Is Animal Crossing: New Horizons worth the hype?
Animal Crossing has been a favourite of mine for easily 10 years. I first started playing Wild World on my pink DS Lite and eventually stole my sister’s copy of New Leaf for my 3DS. So you can imagine my joy when Nintendo announced they would be releasing a sequel. Finally, after years of waiting, the Animal Crossing series was getting a new instalment.
For those who have never played Animal Crossing, the general gist of the game is that you have a character based on yourself (or not, it’s up to you) and as the game progresses, you improve your town, meet new villagers (all animals with unique personalities) and basically just have a good old time progressing through the game at your own pace. If you really want to be harsh, you could say there’s no real point to the game but for me, that’s the beauty of it. You don’t simply play it and then can’t go any further.
I saved hard and bought myself the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch that came with the tote bag and case for the Switch. I was £340 poorer but definitely a lot happier – March 20th couldn’t come sooner.
It’s now April 10th and I have amassed 45 hours of gameplay on New Horizons which is a lot for me. I’ve played at different times of day and have not time travelled so am not as far as everyone else. But as a long time player of Animal Crossing, I wanted to pitch in with my opinion of the game.
The Nook Inc Getaway Package
Tom Nook is back again with another business venture but this time, he is sending you and 2 animals to a deserted island to start a thriving community.
Along with his Tanuki nephews, you will start the first hour of the game collecting items for Tom Nook and this is the only time in the game where time does not follow real world time. Tom Nook sets some tasks and eventually, you get to the island naming ceremony. I believe that makes New Horizons the first game where you don’t name your town/island straight away.
The premise of the Nook Inc Getaway Package is a nice idea – I have preferred building my island up from nothing rather than suddenly having everything available to me. It’s given the game more of an objective than before and made the first few hours of the game a lot more enjoyable and purposeful because if I wanted to unlock DIY recipes, I had to progress and achieve certain tasks.
You start with a loan which can either be paid with the in-game currency of Bells or Nook Miles, a new scheme which rewards you for doing certain tasks on the island.
Wait, is this Minecraft?
I was intrigued to hear that Animal Crossing: New Horizons would feature crafting, something that we’ve only ever seen a bit of in Pocket Camp. Having played Minecraft, I couldn’t imagine how a crafting system would work without looking like a direct knock off of Minecraft. I was also worried that the game would rely too heavily on crafting and my gameplay would be consumed with collecting materials in order to actually achieve anything.
Thankfully, Nintendo managed to make crafting a fun and not too tedious experience. Before you unlock Nooks Cranny, you do have to rely heavily on crafting if you want any furniture (unless you visit other people’s islands, pop balloons or shake trees) but you can play the game without crafting too much and from my experience, you could probably omit it all together the further into the game you are.
It is, however, very handy to have a crafting bench for when the shop closes. If, like me, you’re partial to the odd late night fishing venture then the ability to craft tools once they break instead of having to bulk buy or wait until morning is invaluable. It also allows you to craft tools for free rather than pay a couple hundred bells for a new fishing rod.
So Long Pelly and Phyllis…
Long time players of Animal Crossing will notice that there are a few notable characters missing from this instalment of the Animal Crossing series.
Since being able to send letters from the airport, the need for a Post Office has been removed so Pelly and her blunt and somewhat bitchy sister Phyllis are sadly no longer in the game. However, the addition of Wilbur and Orville has made up slightly for the lack of this two pelicans. Frankly, I would die for these 2 blue dodos who run the airport.
Other absent characters include Joan the turnip lady, Tortimer, Harriet (Shampoodles) and Lyle.
Me and other Animal Crossing fans were definitely happy to see Isabelle make a return and despite the somewhat traumatic memories Resetti caused in the days of Wild World, I was happy to see him make a reappearance in the Rescue Service app.
We’ve come a long way since Wild World…
As I mentioned before, I’ve been playing Animal Crossing since Wild World and a lot has changed. I saw the changes briefly in City Folk and then more so in New Leaf as I racked up my hours on the game.
The most noticeable change is the visual quality. Even from New Leaf to New Horizons, there is such a vast improvement in quality. We have quite a big TV at home and the graphics are still smooth and beautiful. Every leaf moves individually with the wind, raindrops ripple on the rivers and little visual touches bring the game to life. It’s a big change from the basic design we’ve been used to for so long.
The ability to customise your characters easily and for free has been probably my favourite improvement. Instead of gambling for a decent haircut in Shampoodles and hoping that your characters facial features were actually OK when you arrived in your town, now you have free reign over your looks with a mirror. Hair, eyes, mouths and more are easily changed in a few clicks at any point in the game. Which is an absolute blessing when you change your hair as much as I do.
There are some issues…
Not every game is perfect and New Horizons is definitely no exception. There has been a few things that have caused me to raise an eyebrow or cause an irritation to me.
First off is having to pay for a Switch Online pass in order to visit friends. Yes, it’s not a lot of money but it was an extra £20ish on top of an already expensive game because I don’t really play online with friends so the sole use of my Switch Online pass is Animal Crossing.
Then there have been some issues which have been patched by Nintendo (kudos to them for listening to fans) but they’re little things that make gameplay sometimes more stressful than I would like. We’re currently in the middle of the Bunny Day event (already a gripe for me – why is it not just a 1 day event?!) and the spawn rate of eggs is awful. There are eggs EVERYWHERE and even after updating the game, I still catch far too many eggs when fishing.
On the topic of fishing, I now f*cking hate Sea Bass. Every. Bloody. Fish. Is. A. God. Damn. Sea. Bass. The spawn rate of Sea Bass seems ridiculously high and yes, they’re a common fish and not every fish is going to be a rare one but come on! Have some more variety!
So, is Animal Crossing: New Horizons worth the hype?
In short, yes.
There is so much more I could say about Animal Crossing: New Horizons but we’d be here for days. I’m nowhere near as advanced as some people are but since going back to work, finding time to dedicate my attention solely to Animal Crossing has been difficult.
I am probably fairly biased on my opinion. The game would have had to have been awful for me to have not loved it. I was so excited for the game, I actually cried while opening my Switch.
Check out my Switch unboxing HERE
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has rekindled my love for the game. Having so much more freedom over my game has opened up endless possibilities and given me more of a drive to etch my personality into every inch of my island.
I look forward to playing many more hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons but I want to know – do you have New Horizons? Will you be purchasing it? Let me know!