Like millions of people all over the world that have spent the past 3 weeks on their Switches building up their own deserted island community, I’ve been waiting for this game to release for years and as of writing this review I have played New Horizons for over 135 hours.
The only previous experience I have playing an Animal Crossing game is New Leaf that I bought when it released on the 3DS back in 2013 and spent many hours over the years loving and playing (and worshipping Molly).
The hype was real for a mainline AC game to release on the Switch and it is finally here and quite frankly saving a lot of lives right now. If you’re unsure what an Animal Crossing entails, you basically live in and help build up a community for yourself and your animal villagers. It is a very beloved franchise for it’s anxiety and depression soothing capabilities, it’s not a game that everyone will find fun or entertaining but there are a heck of alot of players that rely on this franchise day to day and I am one of them.
With that said, let’s move on to things I like and dislike from my time and experience playing New Horizons so far, bare in mind this is in comparison to New Leaf.
Being able to gather materials to build your own stuff is a huge and amazing improvement to the franchise in my opinion and I’m loving collecting different DIY recipes. I like that the recipes are random aswell so you and your frinds can find different things to craft.
- Nook miles.
Another awesome addition, nook miles are basically achievment points you get for doing tasks that you can then use to buy a variety of different things. It also helps with engagment and always having something to do and work towards.
Changing clothes in New Leaf was honestly abit of a pain in the ass, so the feature of the wardrobe is amazing, being able to see all of your clothing items and picking out your outfit without actually having to lug items over from your storage and manually equipping them is great. Likewise with the Able Sisters dressing room, being able to see items and outfits before buying them is such an improvement.
- Paths and fences.
In New Leaf the only real way of setting down paths was via the unlockable QR code machine and scanning in path designs (or making your own) and then placing them down, these can also be accidently kicked away by you too which was really annoying. In New Horizons being able to lay down a variety of actual paths that you can’t accidently kick up and are still able to place items on is a great addition. Also the ability to craft multiple different fence designs to place around your island looks great and has been really fun and satisfying.
- Mystery islands.
You can redeem Nook miles to buy mystery island tickets that take you to a randomly generated island where you can basically loot everything, all craft materials and flowers and if you have a spare housing lot on your own island, you will be able to meet random villagers on the mystery islands too and have the option to ask them to move to live on your island! This is a great option for if you’re running low on crafting materials from your own island.
- Pro designer.
Admittedly I don’t think I really used the designer in New Leaf, but the new designer is so fun and creative to use I have had loads of fun making clothes already. Even though while you’re designing it is completely pixelated, the final designs get smoothed out and look awesome.
The museum has had a massive glow-up from New Leaf, the layout is so creative and I love touring around seeing all of the new bugs/fish/fossils I’ve donated.
- Item placement.
Being able to place items outside! This has made such a huge difference with designing my island layout and making it feel more complete, also being able to move items 1/2 blocks has made such a big difference. The options you have while decorating and placing items within your own house has also been made much more convenient.
Yearly events like Easter and Christmas are only accessible via updates right before the event so you can’t time travel to them anymore. They have also already done several maintenance updates to improve the game and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us for future updates (please give us Brewster and Kapp’n).
- Tools breaking.
You can’t deny that this is annoying as heck, atleast give us the eventual opportunity of unlocking tools that don’t break, but as far as I can tell, they will all eventually break, even the gold ones. This might not bother alot of people but my lazy ass is fed up of endlessly having to run back to my house to grab more tools.
- Lack of multiplayer activities.
This is one I really hope will improve in time. If they eventually have an update that unlocks Kapp’n and his boat that can take you off for some kind of mini games like in New Leaf then I will be very happy, but as it stands now there really isn’t much for you and your buddies to do together aside from fishing and bug catching. Please bring back mini games!
- Clunky terraforming.
While modifying the layout of my island, which is a really neat feature in general, I have found it very frustrating to use and am constantly placing paths/water/land in the wrong spots! Again this might not be an issue for everyone but it’s definitely something I wanted to mention.
- Missing buildings/characters.
Again, hopefully something that will improve over time and be added gradually but there are a lot of features/buildings/characters missing that were in New Leaf. Please bring back Brewster and the Cafe, Kapp’n and his boat trips, Shrunk and his disco!
Overall I’m very happy with this game and the possiblities it holds for future updates and expansions. It has already become a part of my day to day life and I imagine it being that way for years to come, thank you again Animal Crossing ❤
Be sure to follow me on Twitter as I post regular screenshots on there and would love to visit more player islands!
My rating: 9/10