Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the fifth main title in the Animal Crossing series. The game underwent a worldwide release on March 20, 2020, for the Nintendo Switch console. Since then, it has amassed immense popularity and received worldwide acclaim.
It is currently the newest entry in the series after Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2012). Following its release, New Horizons became one of the few games in the series to get additional post-launch content periodically.
New Horizons’ launch was initially planned for 2019 after the game was first announced during a Nintendo Direct in September 2018. Fans were treated with the first gameplay footage during the Nintendo Direct for E3 2019. The event showcased the new narrative and game mechanics. However, this event also confirmed that the game’s launch would be delayed until March 2020.
More gameplay followed during the Nintendo Direct in September 2019, accompanied by a new trailer with additional information. After that, the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct greeted fans with a detailed look into the game in February 2020. Ultimately, in March 2020, the game saw the light of the day.
It is a real-time life simulation video game developed and published by Nintendo. The story starts with the player assuming control of a customizable character who relocates to a deserted island after purchasing a Nook Inc. Getaway Package from Tom Nook, one of the most popular Animal Crossing characters having appeared in every title in the series.
The game takes place in real-time, and a player can explore the island in a non-linear manner. They can collect and craft items and evolve the island into a beautiful community of anthropomorphic Animal Crossing villagers.
Players can progress with their island life at their own pace. They can indulge in gardening, fishing, trapping bugs, collecting fossils, and more. Getting acquainted with the animal residents, decorating and designing the island to perfection are perhaps some of the most attractive features. The time of the day and the seasons match with real life.
Fishing and catching insects are among the favorite pastimes for island dwellers. Since the game follows real-time mechanics, there is a wide variety of critters to catch, depending on the season and time of the day.
The best part about collecting all the items is that one can donate them to Blathers for the museum. Blathers is an Animal Crossing character who is exceedingly interested in the island ecosystem. He will gladly accept new species of bugs and fish and analyze the fossils dug up.
Besides that, players can fill their pockets with items they find while exploring. They can also carry necessities like a fishing pole, net, shovel, and pole.
Planting flowers aids in the beautification of the island. Players can water their garden plots to make their plants bloom. Then they can harvest or cross-pollinate. One may even end up growing a flower with rare colors.
Another specialty of the island is the fruit growing on trees. Players can also plant new varieties of fruit from other islands. One can either plant a piece of fruit or dig up a sapling and carry it in their pocket until they locate the perfect spot to plant it.
There are more reasons for the game’s popularity apart from the enticing features mentioned above. New Horizons is praised for its straightforward yet immersive gameplay. On top of that, a wide range of customization options means players can modify almost anything to their liking. Besides, there is no competitive rush, meaning players can progress at their own pace.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons quickly broke several records after releasing. It became the highest-selling game in the Animal Crossing series and the second-highest selling game on Nintendo Switch.
The game provided a much-needed escape from the harsh reality for millions around the world when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak. Moreover, amid the strict stay-at-home and social distancing orders, players took to the world of New Horizons to indulge in real-life activities in the game.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ massive popularity also stems from the variety of new features introduced. Using their NookPhone, players can keep track of critters collected, DIY recipes learned, call islanders, take pictures, collect Nook Miles, and much more.
One can also customize their NookPhone’s appearance, use the Island Designer app for terraforming their islands, and even create intricate custom designs through Pro Designs.
Players can earn Nook Miles by completing tasks or going about their daily island routine. They can then use the Miles to access new DIY recipes, bigger pockets, buy special items like a Nook Inc. uniform, alongside several other in-game services and products.
One can give their island a personal touch. They can customize their community at their own pace with greenery, furniture, and decorative items. Then they have the freedom to place those items indoor or outdoor to their pleasing.
Players can select starting locations for their homes, the residents’ homes, and several other buildings. They can place bridges and ramps, alter river paths and cliffs. Furthermore, fences are available along with a path creator.
Players can use Tom Nook’s workbench to craft furniture, tools, and a lot more to decorate their island paradise. Eventually, a player will learn to create DIY benches of their own. Islanders can also teach the player new DIY recipes if the player speaks to them while they are crafting.
New buildings such as Resident Services and Dodo Airlines and locations such as Harv’s Island have only added to the popularity of the game. Alongside town customization, there are also options for furniture customizations.
During the beginning of the game story, the player is prompted to customize their character’s eyes, skin, hair, nose, and mouth. Besides that, a player can obtain hairstyles and colors by redeeming Nook Miles at a Nook Stop. Overall, Animal Crossing: New Horizons gives the player more freedom for customization than previous titles in the series.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is not available for free. One can purchase a digital version directly from the official Nintendo website for $59.99.
However, after purchasing, one can enjoy the free updates that keep coming out from time to time, bringing seasonal in-game events and activities.
|First Release||Animal Crossing released on April 14, 2001|
|Latest Release||New Horizons released on March 20, 2020|
|Spin-offs||Main Series: Animal Crossing, Wild World, City Folk, New Leaf, New Horizons. Spin-offs: Happy Home Designer, Amiibo Festival, Pocket Camp|
|Developer||Nintendo EPD (Published by Nintendo)|