REVIEW: Animal Crossing New Horizons invites you to relax and have fun

by Kelvin
Animal crossing 1

Discover an island of your own to explore in Animal Crossing New Horizons

Animal Crossing is one of Nintendo’s most beloved series. All games have the same style, with some changes here and there in the form of different features. Here the goal is to build your village, make friends and, most important of all, have fun! With Animal Crossing New Horizons the series comes to the best style in the Nintendo Switch and guarantees hours of fun for players and their new friends on an island of their own.

Showmetech had access to a copy of the new Animal Crossing New Horizons to Nintendo Switch and, after a few days playing in this small and fantastic world, we bring a complete analysis of this adventure that arrives in good time to bring several players a generous dose of joy and comfort with the crisis of the new COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. You can also check the video review of the game, available on our Youtube channel:


An adventure beyond horizons

My first experience with the Animal Crossing series was playing Animal Crossing New Leaf, on Nintendo 3DS. I must have spent over 600 hours taking care of my little village. It was a lot of fun to take care of the plants, tidy up the house, manage the place and, most important of all, interact with the other residents. I could never have imagined that such a simple game would be this immersive.

However, the game mechanics of the Animal Crossing series don’t work in the same way as a traditional game where you have an objective and the game ends as soon as you conquer it. Because it’s a simulation game, the day will eventually come when you’ll drop the game and return to it only on holidays and during special events. Fortunately, it looks like the new Animal Crossing New Horizons entry is willing to change that player style.

the first days of Animal Crossing: New Horizons they are more centered on what you can’t do than what you really can. After creating your character you are taken to a desert island and accompanied by two random animals that will be your first neighbors (mine were an antelope and a chicken, both very nice).

After a brief introduction by Tom Nook, you are named “Resident Representative” and sent to find the perfect location for your new home. And that’s when you’ll discover the first restriction in the game: you can’t explore your entire island right away.

Whichever island design you choose, the rivers are too big to jump over and there are no bridges you can cross. Unfortunately, only some time later will you be able to acquire the jumping pole and the ladder to facilitate your mobility. At the very least, if you don’t like where you first settled, know that within a week or so, you can move to your preferred location. But just like any feature in the game, you’ll need to work a bit to unlock it.

“Creating is the key to everything in Animal Crossing New Horizons!”

While the focus of the Animal Crossing franchise has always been on open-world exploration, New Horizons expands on that idea with continual progression. While in previous games you arrived in cities that had already been established, everything here is new for you to discover and create!

In the beginning it’s just you, your two neighbors, Tom, Timmy, Tommy and the Dodo brothers, Orville and Wilbur. The last two are new characters that equip the island’s airport. There is no museum, nor Nook’s Cranny, nor the store of Sable and Mable. To get all this and more, you’ll need to complete tasks and collect items to help build these establishments.

For that reason, creating is the key to everything in Animal Crossing New Horizons! You’ll create pretty much everything you use, including all your tools (which unfortunately can break). Items with the word “fragile” in the title are not very resistant, but as you continue to build your city, you will learn new recipes that will allow you to create stronger versions.

To make these tools, you’ll need the right ingredients and, most important of all: a DIY recipe. Do It Yourself, or “Do It Yourself”) for you to learn how to make the item. And where can you keep all these recipes? in your Nook Phone, clear. This simple but powerful smartphone lets you access the island’s animal catalogue, check out their recipes, check the map and even take pictures!

To collect the resources needed to build tools and other items, you need to explore every corner of your island. Shaking trees drops branches that you can turn into tools, and hitting rocks creates supplies you can use in construction. Even the empty cans, rubber boots, and tires you pick up from rivers and the sea can come in handy.

In addition to getting more needed resources, most of your activities are rewarded with Nook Miles. They are new currency you can use in the game, in addition to the classic Bells. Almost everything you do on your island counts towards some program task Nook Miles.

your island, your rules

To keep players earning miles more regularly, you can unlock Nook Miles +, which has a set of continuously-updating tasks that you can complete in a more immediate period, like catching 10 fish or snapping a photo. Keep an eye out for the Nook Miles app on your smartphone to redeem your miles and find out what next task you need to do!

The Resident Resident title is more or less the same role your main character had as the mayor of the last game. Although at the beginning of the adventure it seems that you don’t have much responsibility in your hands, the destiny of this island rests on your shoulders. You choose where your neighbors live, where the stores go, where bridges and stairs are built, and eventually you can shape the interior of the island itself.

But if you want to experience this and everything New Horizons can offer you, you want to stick to the game for the long term. For example, until you reach the point where you start in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, in terms of what’s available in your city, it’s going to take you a few weeks to dedicate yourself exclusively to the game. However, given the current quarantine scenario imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have found a perfect isolation partner in Animal Crossing New Horizons.

“It is very gratifying for you to accompany the growth of your community”

For gamers who want to explore their creativity, pattern design is the best choice. You can create customizable furniture and detailed clothing patterns. You can also get items and design patterns from friends who come to visit your island.

In addition, you can also use animals from the Animal Crossing series to invite characters to your island (but only a few characters are eligible so far). It is very gratifying for you to accompany the growth of your community, especially when you are the main responsible for the development of your small digital world.

my dear little piece of ground

New Horizons is the typical Animal Crossing experience, only much prettier in high definition on your screen. Nintendo Switch. It’s the little touches that make all the difference and bring a special charm to this game. The wind and breeze stir the trees, making the world seem alive. Furthermore, the characters are also more expressive and varied in their activities than before.

Your island is a very welcoming place for you to express yourself. You can dress up your character however you like (no gender or style issues) and locals will always have some interesting comments to make about your new look.

The interaction with the other characters is much better developed in New Horizons than in past games in the series and it won’t be unusual to see many players (like me) forging deep bonds with their neighbors in the game. So, never forget to be a good neighbor and always chat with other residents, share items, take photos and, most important of all, never miss a birthday party!

“Your island is a very welcoming place for you to express yourself”

Definitely one of the mechanics that most players and I will spend the most time in New Horizons will be the task of furnishing and decorating your house. In addition to being fun, keeping your house tidy can pay off thanks to Tom Nook’s rating system.

Also, focus your efforts early in the adventure to unlock the “Landscape Editor”. With it you can literally change the structure of the island, creating paths, opening cliffs, building bridges and much more. You’ll need a lot of Nook Miles to get the necessary license to manipulate the island’s internal shape but this is a feature worth the effort if you want to make your world look more like a cozy village.

In contrast, one mode you can avoid is the two-player co-op functionality. In addition to not bringing any significant changes to the gameplay other than having a partner to help you collect and organize items the control division scheme is not very comfortable for an experience as personal as New Horizons. It’s much more worthwhile to focus on the online mode that allows your friends to visit your island and treat it as if they were theirs (and vice versa), you can interact with special characters and collect unique items during events.

Animal Crossing New Horizons, a unique experience for anyone

When it comes to an open world simulation game, any expert reviewer or writer would admit that just a week is not enough time to produce a comprehensive and concise review of a game. However, this is not the case with Animal Crossing New Horizons. My little time with the game was enough to show me that this experience is unique in the series.

There are many things I still don’t know about this game that I will certainly have a lot of fun discovering for several hours on my own island. Based on what I’ve been able to experience, it’s more than enough to say that New Horizons is the Animal Crossing series at its most beautiful and pure essence. Even with a slow start, the game is an invitation to relax and have fun in a world of your own. Whether with island residents or your friends, Animal Crossing New Horizons it’s a perfect experience for an idyllic digital escapism in times of crisis.

Have you already purchased your copy? You can find Animal Crossing New Horizons on sale for R$250.79. Don’t forget to share your experience in the comments!