Animal Crossing New Horizons Review

Title: Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH)
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Social
Released: 2020
Rating: 8/10

Design an island, help villagers, and explore in Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH)! In ACNH, Timmy and Tommy, a couple racoons, invite you to select an island and work with Tom Nook to design and develop your island with shops, villagers, and acquired items! Daily activities, island visitors, and expansion opportunities help guide your game play as you work towards a 5-star island. 

A collector’s dream
From villagers to gyroids, DIY recipes to fossils, bugs to fish… there are PLENTY of things to collect in this game. Some of them help your museum while others help you design your island. Most importantly… all of them help you earn Nook Miles points! Nook Miles are needed for particular items, tickets, and DIY recipes. 

The player community
Animal Crossing has become so popular that player community websites and apps are available to help improve your game play! My favorites are Nookazon and NookFriends. Nookazon (website and app) lets you sell unwanted items to other players or buy items that you are looking for that other players want to sell. NookFriends is a website that lets players invite others to their island for all sorts of reasons including yard sales, giveaways, meet and greets, and so much more. 

Feeling of accomplishment
When you finish decorating your house, achieve a nook mile goal, pay off your home loan, get a villager’s photo, or finish your museum’s collection, you can’t help but feel a tremendous level of accomplishment. There are plenty of things to achieve in ACNH that keep you coming back every day. 

Can’t do anything in bulk… 
The game restricts you from doing anything in bulk. Crafting DIY items has to be done one by one. There’s no cart option at Able Sisters so you can buy everything you want at one time. Want to change the layout of your island by moving shops or villager homes? You can only move one building a day. Thinking about building stairs or bridges? One a day. This is a mild frustration considering all of the great aspects of the game but you’ve got to wonder why some of these issues haven’t been resolved with game upgrades. 

Difficulty of designing your island 
In your ACNH home, you can enter into a bird’s eye view to easily drag and drop items to design each room. That option does not exist when you’re outside designing your island landscape. This limitation can make it difficult to easily and quickly design a part of your island. 

Visiting other players’ islands… 
For a game that values the player community, the hassle of traveling to other players’ islands is surprising. The feeling is similar to the bulk restriction issue. Only one player at a time can get to an island so if multiple players are trying to travel to the same island, you run into a plethora of issues. It’s not a smooth process. Once you get there, the issues continue whenever another player joins or leaves the island because a travel screen pops up and you’re stuck until the travel screen disappears. (*This issue is mostly a problem when using NookFriends.)

Things to consider:
You develop a routine… which can feel monotonous. 
In ACNH, you’ll do the same daily routine and it can feel repetitive. You have to find joy in routine activities in order to enjoy this game. On a daily basis, you’ll shake trees, hit rocks, fish, catch bugs, check in with villagers… the list goes on and on. If that sounds boring to you, this may not be the game for you. 

There’s not a point where you “beat” the game…
In ACNH, there’s not really an end to the game or a point where you “beat” the game. For example, in order to collect all of the bugs and fish for your museum, it’ll take a year because certain animals are only available during certain times of the year. There are certainly major accomplishments… achieving a 5-star island is a great example. But if you’re a completionist, settle in for a full year of game play in order to get all of the DIY recipes, fish, bugs, etc… 

I highly recommend ACNH. It was a major change moving from Legend of Zelda to ACNH and it took me a few days to adjust to the calmer, relaxing routine that is ACNH. If you are looking for a game that has a calm, daily routine where you do relaxing activities, I think ACNH is the one for you. 

Published by Caroline

Avid reader, board gamer, yogi, and photographer.

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