Its been over a month of Animal Crossing New Horizons and I had planned to bring this review to you much sooner, however, it turns out this social simulator game disguised cleverly in cuteness and sweet nostalgia is also an economist’s and “completionist’s” dream come true (or nightmare!) As each week unfolds, you stumble upon something that completely alters your attention to (Animal Crossing) detail shifting your game direction completely.
Keep reading to find out what I mean in our Animal Crossing New Horizons review.
As previously mentioned I began playing almost a week after launch. The first three weeks were spent isolated from 99.8% in-game interaction and perhaps even less on social media other than my own posts. What this means is: I had zero visitors, flew to only two friends islands to emote their gorgeous faces (the .2%) and get fruit – rendering me completely oblivious to the hum and hashtags flying across the worldwide web.
I enjoyed farming my island for everything, meeting quest objectives to gain tools and shops. Getting to know the Nook app, resident services, and meeting villagers via my campsite or using a Nook Miles Ticket to a mysterious island where you will find a villager if you have the space on your island for a new one. It was enough flurry because Nintendo rolled out three events all occurring at once – cherry blossom, bunny day, and bamboo festivals.
These activities alone were keeping me on my Nintendo Switch toes, seeing me use this console more than I ever have before but what is the icing on the cake is the fossil and critter collections, flower growing, fruit harvesting and knocking out the constant challenges for more Nook Miles. All of these activities were reeling me in like a majestic Oar Fish. I was hooked.
“Crazytail Island,” (named after my shihpoo pup whose tail goes a million miles an hour when he’s happy) took over every spare minute of my pandemic days!
Having only played the mobile version of this game (Animal Crossing Pocket Camp) I started warily because Pocket Camp was fun on a multi-player level. Helping friends sell stuff, watering their flowers, seeing folks custom vans and wardrobe choices or out in the same world fishing (etc) made the game feel full. Prior to the launch day of Animal Crossing New Horizons the information shared on how multiplayer was going to occur made very little sense, it felt like the game was being gutted on the “social” aspect of the game.
However, since launch and taking into consideration all the games activities thus far – the way we interact with each other and each other’s islands makes a lot more sense.
At week three I was the proud owner of a home I had upgraded to the fourth upgrade, I think my heart started palpitating with the 548,000 bell cost to keep moving forward. This same week I visited a friend and felt my heart triple-palpitate as I learned so much from hanging out with her – to the point that I asked her if we were playing the same game! It felt like I hadn’t even scratched the surface. I was so generously given a few bags of flower seeds, shopped from her Able Sisters tailoring store and Nooks Cranny but most of all she introduced me to the cutest owl ever named Celeste who gave me a recipe.
I went there for ten minutes and stayed for two hours, pinging shooting stars and exploring everything I didn’t know.
This is when I officially joined in on the Animal Crossing New Horizons hustle because I want to have a highly ranked home and five-star island. 24 hours later after joining two dedicated discord servers, numerous websites centered around tip and guides PLUS surfing Twitter hashtags I understood more clearly what my goals for this game would be.
- Collect all the bugs, fossils, and fish for each month.
- Create a flower farm for hybrids.
- Keep an eye on visiting NPCs.
- Be prepared every Sunday for Daisy Mae turnips.
My little “zen grinder” is turning into a humming strategy game contradicting the general belief that Animal Crossing New Horizons is a cute social experiment glued together with collections, fashion, and smug thug villagers. This isn’t wrong, it just isn’t correct either because this game is so much more. However, so much of what you need is only gleaned via information outside of the game thanks to dedicated super-fans or fansites.
It Takes A Village…
How you play Animal Crossing New Horizons is what makes this game either as chill or as chaotic as you want it.
It’s now week 5 and I can comfortably say I have a fair grasp of what Animal Crossing New Horizons has to offer including time travel. Unapologetic for taking advantage of this mainly to speed up infrastructure requirements, I’m also very glad my first 3 weeks of the game was done without this kind of influence. It’s possible to play the game exactly as intended if you are not in a hurry. It’s also totally acceptable to be a time travel fanatic – both require effort regardless to get where you want to go in game.
Tom Nooks added Terraforming to my app which has me obsessing over paths and cliffs. However, the activity I am finding myself immersed in the most is villager trading after I attained the most sought after villager (Raymond,) from a mystery island. Didn’t realize he was so popular until a friend told me I could get 100 Nook Mile Tickets for him but I have no intention of selling Raymond – he makes me laugh so much! Villager interactions (especially with each other,) are so entertaining and adorable plus each has a back story. So I am building the best collection I can via all of them living together, chose a green elephant named Opal because we share the same birthday though she calls me snoot so we will see how long that lasts! Seeing each villagers’ home and when they craft inside of them to give you a new recipe also such a highlight that influences whether they get to stay on Crazytail Island.
This weekend I built patio’s for villager homes and their “gated community,” has a playground and outdoor gym. Slowly but surely “Crazytail Island” is becoming a flower farming and midnight market destination. To top it all off I am also still on the hunt for rattan furniture, have two villagers I may yet replace and more building to arrange as the month of Mays fossils and critters tease my need to dig and hunt for everything. On May 1st a mini-event occurred as Nintendo’s way of thanking everyone for playing the game. It was a maze and Nook Bell ticket puzzle that was a lot of fun.
Nintendo really knows how to make its players feel welcome and that is perhaps the adorable thing about this got-to-have-everything cute overload!