Who knew that Animal Crossing New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch would be the ticket to us surviving the Quarantine without losing our minds?
Nintendo provided us with a download code for Animal Crossing New Horizons for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.
When this soothing game came out, I thought it might keep my tween occupied for a few days. Then the Animal Crossing mania swept through the whole household. My daughter’s boyfriend got her a (Animal Crossing themed) Nintendo Switch for her birthday so the two of them could play Animal Crossing online together. My sons constantly fight over our Nintendo Switch.
Long lost friends and family members have started to share their friend codes with us. The cutest was when my husband’s high school friends wanted their kids to get together with ours, via this game.
We can’t visit in real life at the moment, but virtual hanging out is still ok. And everyone seems to want to host friends and show off their island.
I was jealous of my sons. I want a Switch now too. But before I get too into this review. I will step aside and let my 12 year old son Leo take over. Leo is the pro here and he’s here to tell you why (from his point of view) this game is so amazing, and why your kids need it to.He’s much better at explaining than I am. I’ll pop back in at the end…
Getting into Animal Crossing New Horizons gameplay
The newest installment in the famous Nintendo series, Animal Crossing New Horizons is a great game for all ages and personality types.Whether you want to fish at sunset, breed rare hybrid flowers or chill out while absorbing your personal island’s soothing atmosphere, this game has got you covered.
This review will be for people new to the series, so don’t feel like the Animal Crossing world is too complicated to jump into!
Starting out, you have taken up a deal to live on a deserted island being hosted by “Tom Nook”, a thriving raccoon entrepreneur. Every island is unique, with different wildlife based on which hemisphere you set your island to, and time will sync up with your real life timezone. (This means you will experience day/night in Animal Crossing at the same time as real life! As well as seasons and holidays). There are many more unique traits for each island, such as unique “villagers”, which are human-like animals that reside in your island. You can make friends with them, trade items to decorate your island, or just sit down and have a chat about anything between the local weather or the virtual “events” coming up soon, which can include meteor showers, villager birthdays, and concerts by the Animal Crossing franchise’s own K.K. Slider. My personal favorite villager is Bob, a lazy purple cat who says the silliest things, and reminds me of my cat in real life.
To start out, you and your randomized villagers will have large tents to live in, and begin your new life on a deserted island. After a short tutorial, you’re free to explore and collect! The game’s tutorial is very friendly to new players, so don’t be shy to try this out. Catch bugs and fish, give them to Tom Nook, and you can start your island adventure! The gameplay is designed to be relaxing and calming, where you can take it at a slow pace or change your switch’s time if you want the game to progress faster.
Nothing is ever rushed in this game, allowing you to enjoy everything in however you want it. In my personal opinion as a newer frequent player of Animal Crossing and a connoisseur in Nintendo games, I have never played a game that I found so fun that didn’t utilize a high stress environment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of “high risk, high reward” games such as The Legend of Zelda, Breath of The Wild or Minecraft, but for me, one of the best feelings is taking a break from the ever-dangerous aspect of these games to switch on my game system (pun intended) and check up on my villagers, ask them about their day, water my flowers, and take a tour around my island’s lavish museum.
Is Animal Crossing New Horizons truly child friendly?
If you are worried about introducing your child to Animal Crossing, don’t fear! While some aspects of the game may seem confusing for some players, almost everything in the game is completely optional.
There are a thousand ways to enjoy it without needing to understand seasonal cycles, complicated flower breeding techniques, etc. And for those curious, multiplayer is allowed in this game; giving your children the ability to visit their friends and have their friends visit them via a special “code” each island is printed.
Note: it’s important to mention that in order to access this feature and any other online feature of the Nintendo Switch, you must make a monthly subscription to “Nintendo Online,” which costs $3.99 a month or $19.99 a year.
Content-wise, the only thing you and your children have to fear are the creepy crawly tarantulas which roam the lands at night (which, granted, give me the creeps!)
Does Animal Crossing New Horizons stay fun over the long term?
Put in a simple way, it does. Every month, there’s new things to collect and events for holidays, along with a story progression to keep you entertained. You are encouraged to get more villagers, make big buildings, and decorate until your island is no longer deserted. The game stretches much further than just catching wildlife and paying loans, though!
There are so many ways to enjoy the game, where you can explore wild islands, make your island picture perfect, Make your own paintings and designs, collect all the fossils, the list goes on! The game is mellow and calm, but far from boring!
Daily progression and in depth gameplay
The way of progressing is simply to do a task, such as choose a location for a building to be placed and gather the materials for it, and then wait until tomorrow morning for it to be done.
Everyday things change which makes me always excited to wake up and check on my island, to see whether my new neighbor has moved in yet, or to check out what’s new in Timmy and Tommy Nook’s shop.
However, not everything is day-based, and (pro-tip) if you’re really itching to go as fast as you can, you can always set your switch’s time settings a day forward.
I think it’s safe to say that this game is great for any playstyle or age, along with adding so much beyond the last main series game in the franchise. This game is so easy to enjoy, even for those who don’t play video games regularly. For example, my mom, who now wants her own Nintendo Switch.
Animal Crossing New Horizons is a must play, and you or your children will surely find hours of fun playing this game on your Nintendo Switch.
Tips and tricks
The most important advice I can think of to give, is to remember it’s just a game, and it’s okay if you fall behind your in-game goals/schedule.
A lot of people get too wrapped up in trying to do all the daily tasks, and in doing this, they forget what it’s all about. If the game starts to feel like a chore, you can take a break for a bit, or rewind in-game to give yourself more time to complete all your tasks.
This game does a very good job at explaining its systems, and all of said systems are very intuitive. Decorate how, when, where and what the way you want, and customize your island to your heart’s content!
A final word from my Mom….
My kids don’t often volunteer to write reviews, but they all wanted a piece of this one. And I am indeed jealous of their Switch right now. With all the uncertainty in the world right now, I cannot think of a better time to allow them some relaxing screen time – or a better game to spend it on. This game manages to be both relaxing and social at the same time, at just the time we (and the rest of the world) needed it. Our memories of our time sheltering in place will forever be intertwined with our happy feelings about this pastime. I’m grateful for a lot of things lately, and Nintendo is one of them!
It’s awful to imagine what our quarantine would be like without it…