Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

This real time simulation game has you going to a Deserted Island, Courtesy of Nook Inc.  You are a customizable character, usually called the villager by fans of the series.  You move to the island after purchasing a package from Nook Inc. head, Tom Nook a characters that’s name is a play on tanuki and looks like the animal.  You can explore, gather and craft, catch insects and fish, and develop the island into a community.

My review of Animal Crossing: New Horizons Summarized

My first time ever playing an Animal Crossing game, I can finally see why people are passionate about this game and series. It’s relaxing, fun, and one of the easiest pickup and play games I’ve played with in awhile.  New Horizons has a simple design but has many great details that can go overlooked.  There isn’t a rush or a need to complete the game right away.  You can play at your own pace.  The slowed pace is great for beginners of the series and advanced players or seasoned veterans have tons or new and familiar characters and methods to build their ideal community and play their way.

Full Review and Reactions after playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I’ve never played an Animal Crossing game until Animal Crossing: New Horizons.  I’ve heard about the game and series, but never found a good starting point to get into the games.  I purchased this game with a Nintendo Voucher I saved last year that Nintendo offered their Nintendo Online Members.  I got this a few weeks after the games release as I wanted to see the overall response to the game.  

This is an accurate statement when you start the game at this point.

The game starts with you choosing an island-style from Tommy and Timmy, Tom Nook’s nephews. The game begins after a brief tutorial and celebration of you coming to the island. There isn’t much else to go into within the game.  As far as I’ve got now in my game, I feel that done with playing the game or continuing and having a long way to go to complete more of my island community.   The game has some goals that you can work towards, but there doesn’t seem to be any priority to achieving them as soon as possible. This gameplay style can take a lot of pressure off of a first-time player and easy them into the game.  You start with a tent and a handful of crafting items.   If that’s as far as you wish to go in the game, that’s ok. Of course, you would miss out on a lot of events and developing your island, but that is a choice you can make.

You start with a tent, which you have to pay off. Afterwards you can pay to get a home and a larger room.

Crafting has a range of easy to hard items to create. If you wish to do more of what the game has to offer, such as fishing, bug catching, and looking for fossils, you will need to craft tools. You start by making some flimsy tools, which seem to break at rather inconvenient times. You can make better tools in the game, which also seem to break on me at the most inopportune times. Thankfully, they are not hard to craft and recrafted in a few minutes. 

To be honest, One of my biggest problems, is getting my room to the way I like it.

The hardest part about crafting is getting materials that you need. But even then, the materials are not hard to come by, as long as you don’t squander them. You start with a good abundance to craft with; you may find yourself running out of materials quickly if you’re not careful. Crafting items doesn’t require that many materials even for some of the harder to come by items in the game. Although the game does have the, you need to craft an item to craft another item idea, which could be annoying if you have a task to complete for someone in the game.  

You have a cell phone that you can do things, like check the critterpedia, a database of the bugs, fish and sea creature you collected. Check and collect your Nook Miles. You can even custom designs on this menu.

This game isn’t story-driven. I’m not too familiar with the characters of Animal Crossing.  The cast of characters and side characters are abundant.  If you move on in the game, you can recruit people to live on your island. I heard the number of characters in the game can be anyone from up to 200. That’s crazy to think that there are that many characters in the game. I don’t find myself interacting much with the characters that you get at the start of the game. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to know all of them or even care to meet that many characters.

Tom Nook, is an awesome character. You take a loan out with 0% interest and pay him back whenever you can. Anyone know a real life version on him?

All of the gameplay mechanics are simple. There aren’t any complicated controls or techniques to do any of the activities. Although I find a lot of duplicate captures of bugs and fish whenever I do these activities. You can do several things with these captures. You can display them in your home, sell them for bells, or give to Blathers. Blathers is an owl that serves as the director of your island’s museum. If you bring him an item to donate, he will gladly tell you what it is and a fact about what you bring him if you wish to hear about it.

The game uses an internal clock after you finish the tutorial by setting the game to the current time on your Nintendo Switch. The day to night transitions are the right touch, and I wonder if the day and nighttime skies are the same as the day and night time where I like as it seems to get dark around the time it gets dark where I live. The game also adjusts seasons based on which area on the hemisphere that you live in, which I thought was a good idea. It’s summertime where I live, so I get to experience all of the summer seasons and events. It’s a pretty cool feature, but this does have drawbacks. Depending on when you purchase the game, you can miss out on timed events for the month or season. So you may have to wait for up to one year before you can participate in that specific event again. 

The one thing that I can never seem to do, is get the right item that I need out at the right time.

Bells are the currency in the game.  You can earn bells by crafting items and selling them.  You can also sell fossils, bugs or fish for the currency.  If you can get lucky, you can even dig bells out of the ground.   Bells can be used to purchase items or payback Tom Nook the loan to expand your home and storage.  Nook Miles were introduced in this game as an alternative method of payment or purchasing items.  These are tasks or achievements that you can complete in the game, and have the same effects as bells.  Earn enough points and you can redeem them for items.  Nook miles does have a feel of redundancy to them.  It would have been ok to just be an achievement system and get bells, rather than to act as an additional currency.  It does provide a third alternative to bells or crafting, but should probably be left out in the next game.

The graphics are cartoony but work well with the game. It makes it look more appealing and approachable. The anthropomorphic animal design always but a smile on my face.  I also enjoy the babble sound effect whenever anyone talks in the game.  The game has some great sound details that impressed me more than the graphics. The detail in the sound could get overlooked in your not listening carefully. I did have a few key sound moments that happened that impressed me. There were times I thought a cicada near me when it was actually in the game. Running around in the grass or sand did have a noticeable difference I felt. Even the environment of the game had detailed that caught my attention. In some instances, if it rains, you can hear the different sounds of rain hitting your tent or house. The pitches sounded different, depending on the home. You can even hear the different splashing sounds of puddling water as you move around in the rain.  

It really impressed me to see and hear the detail of rain from inside my home. It’s this little detail in a simple looking game that made this moment worth it for me.

After about two months with the game, this is probably one of the best escapist games I’ve played in a while. Not because of the current pandemic, but more from my job. While working long hours, it’s nice to get away, even if it was 15 minutes to my island. This game feels like it distresses me whenever I need to get away for a bit.  The music I could put on a loop for hours.  The acoustic guitar music relaxed me more while playing.  I need that soundtrack to play at of the time, as it does provide a sort of therapy for me.  I will look forward to seeing what else the game will offer me in the coming months.  

Side note, be careful when you take a celebration photo, unless you want your characters and photos to look like an awkward celebration photo.

Thank you for Reading. Check out more of my blog posts at: www.tommoscato.com. 

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