After years of waiting Animal Crossing New Horizons has finally arrived on Nintendo Switch. Animal Crossing New Leaf (the previous main series title) was released for the Nintendo 3DS way back in 2012, meaning fans have been waiting for a long time for this latest release. The game sees Animal Crossing’s “beloved” racoon tycoon Tom Nook offering you with a brand new Desert Island getaway package. Dumping you and a few other villagers on a deserted island and letting you create your ideal home from there.
In a true Animal Crossing tradition, the game allows you to control your own villager and lets you just almost anything you want. You can spend all day digging for new fossils or fish near some lakes. Maybe you could go shopping for new clothes and furniture or spend your time chatting with the colourful cast of characters living in your village. Still, New Horizons offers up some new features that veterans of the series will love, and newbies will find appealing. Join us as we talk you through 6 of these brand new features:
1. Character Customisation
Before even arriving on your island, you must first create your own villager, and New Horizons has made that as easy as possible. Previous entries had a strange way of handling its character customiser, instead opting for a series of questions asked by series veteran Rover. Your answers to these questions would determine how your face would look, which resulted in mixed results. New Horizons does away with all these questions and instead gives you a full character customiser, letting you pick your skin tone, hair, eyes and colour, and mouth. On top of that, all of these options have been made completely gender-free, meaning you have access to any hairstyles or facial expressions that you want.
Another new feature introduced to the main series ‘Animal Crossing games in New Horizons’ is crafting. First introduced in the mobile spinoff, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, New Horizons allows you to find and harvest a wide variety of materials from your island, such as wood, stone, and clay. You can then use these materials at a DIY bench and craft a wide variety of items including new tools, clothing and furniture pieces to help spruce up your island. Crafting is a great new mechanic that makes it easier for you to get brand new items without having to part with your precious Bells.
3. A new way to decorate your house
One of our favourite parts of Animal Crossing has always been decorating our own house (or tent at the beginning of this game), but sometimes moving furniture could be a bit cumbersome. Furniture could be placed and moved by pushing or pulling the item to where you would like to put it. Still, you would have to make sure your villager was positioned in a certain way so that they wouldn’t be trapped, or become an obstacle. New Horizons now gives you the option to enter a dedicated decorating mode when in your house, allowing you to freely place and move furniture by simply selecting and dragging. You can adjust the camera to get all the angles and even put items on walls with ease. It’s yet another excellent quality of life improvement that New Horizons has introduced to the series.
4. Outdoor decorating
Starting the game with only a tent on a deserted island means you are stuck with just the trees, rock and rivers of your island, with not much variety. Luckily, New Horizons has a solution to that; providing you with the ability to place any items, anywhere on your island. Furniture items can be used to decorate your island, unlocking limitless creative possibilities. Don’t have enough room in your tent? Well, place that new sofa and table just outside, next to a new BBQ or fire pit. Want to set up a small beach paradise to relax in? Place down a towel or a lounger by the shore and relax. Outdoor decorating allows players to really make the island their own individual paradise.
5. Nook Phone and Nook Miles
One of the newest essential tools that Tom Nook provides you when you arrive on your new island is the NookPhone, a smartphone of Tom Nooks design that gives you access to tons of essential tools. The NookPhone allows you to check your daily activities and DIY recipes, use the camera app and take some great pictures and even enable other players to join you on your island who also have a house and play in co-op. On top of that, the NookPhone also gives you access to Nook Miles, an achievement-like system that rewards you with Nook Miles for completing tasks on your island. Nook Miles can then be redeemed to purchase new DIY recipes, unlock new abilities and even partake in Island Tours, sending you to new exotic isles where you can find fresh fruit, bug and even new villagers who may want to join your island. The NookPhone really is essential to island life.
6. Island Designer Construction Permit
Quite possibly, the most significant change that New Horizons introduces is the Island Designer Construction Permit. First, the permit allows you to place your own paths, whether they be stone paths, brick paths, dirt paths or sand paths. The significant change that the Island Designer Construction Permit allows players to do is completely change the landscape of their island. The permit will enable you to either build or destroy cliffs. Want to create a path to the back of the island? Now you can by destroying some of the cliffs that may get in the way. Want a raised platform to overlook the Eastern horizon? Just add a few cliffs to the side, and you can create your perfect lookout.
On top of that, the permit also allows you to modify rivers too. You can fill in a stream, creating a pathway across without the need for a bridge, or start to build a pond or river wherever you want. You can even combine the cliff and river permits and create waterfalls wherever you want. The possibilities are endless.