Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch is a simulation game that is mainly single-player with some multiplayer elements and is the fifth iteration of the game to feature the familiar and well-beloved face of Tom Nook, this time on a desert island location. As with the other Animal Crossing games, you will build your home, get to know and help out your animal friend neighbours to build a community.
Your first residence will be a tent which should be upgraded into a house which can then be expanded, embellished and improved as you play. As neighbours move into the area, you can help them with their tents and houses, and if you have neighbours already established in the area when you arrive, they will help you to build and establish yours.
Improvements to your home and gathering resources is made easier by using the new, intuitive and speedy menu that will provide you with all the tools and advice you need to complete the task at hand. Gather raw materials, craft them into desirable or valuable objects that you can then use to improve the lot of your neighbours and make your home and community look wonderful!
For the first time, you can select a more tailored skin tone right from the beginning: in previous versions you had to stand outside in the sunshine to ‘tan’ your character to the desire level, which is not ideal. You can tailor your character to suit your likes, picking details like hair-style, eye colour and even shape, choose from a range of noses and mouths, and even pick a unique colour for your cheeks, giving you an avatar that is distinctive and uniquely yours.
The seasons change in your new island home so you can build snowmen in winter, rake leaves in autumn, plant your crops and flowers in spring, and enjoy lovely sunshine in summer while you catch cute bugs and insects. You can choose which island you want to live on, and do think about this in the initial stages of the game, as each island has different features and you will even find a difference between settling on the northern side of the island or the southern side
It’s not all fun and games though, danger is a new addition to this game, and if your carefree avatar should come across a wasp or scorpion they might get stung. A few stings will affect the avatar’s look – think lumpy bee-sting swellings! – and a lot of stings will cause the character to pass out! There is medicine that can cure the avatar which can be sourced from residential services (more about which, see below).
Keep your ears peeled (so to speak) for the daily broadcast from island CEO Tom Nook who provides updates about island life that will help you to complete tasks, learn about new features and generally stay up-to-date with the game. The following features will also enhance your gaming experience:
Nookphone: Like your own mobile phone you can take photos and navigate about the island. As time goes on more features become available and you can create custom designs and recipes.
Nook Mileage Program: Earn ‘miles’ as you play through the game, and then cash them in and see all the benefits and advantages that the program has to offer.
Airport: Travel between your island and a friend’s – or welcome others to your island to help you with your tasks. Don’t worry about malicious multiplayers destroying your island or changing your plans: visitors must go along with the host’s plans, so enjoy their company and relax knowing that everything will be left in great condition after the visit! Up to eight players can fit onto an island at any time.
Residential Services: This is your one-stop shop for medical treatments, the shop where you can buy extra resources, free tutorials to learn how to make clothes, craft recipes and even advanced classes on how to customise your crafted items by changing the colours and so on.