A week in isolation with Animal Crossing: New Horizons

BY TARA NAZ

This game honestly couldn’t have come out at a better time of year for the majority of those who are off work/school due to COVID-19.

When it feels like the world is ending, having Tom Nook pester us for bells is almost a sweet serenade.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out and I’ve been playing it non-stop!

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Universally Speaking hoodie created in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

My go-to way of describing this game to somebody is by going:

“So, do you remember how Animal Crossing: Wild World looked?”

…and people say…

“OBVIOUSLY!”

…and then you show them a screenshot of New Horizons, and they go…

“Yeah, like that!”

…but then BAM! You hit them with the contrast of screenshots between now and 2005 and they truly see the difference.

Ah, nostalgia!

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Nintendo Switch
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Animal Crossing: Wild World – Nintendo DS

I was trying to hold back on buying this, but when my boyfriend picked it up for me, well… how could I say no?

This weekend was a complete blur of weed-picking (I counted, I picked 1034 weeds in 2 days), fishing, watering plants, more fishing, hitting rocks, a little bit more fishing, and you get the idea by now.

I pray that I’ll have this same kind of obsessive commitment when I have my own place…

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My COVID-19 dating life

Part of the great appeal of Animal Crossing, of course, is how it makes what would otherwise be called mundane or a “waste of time” completely adorable.

Picking a weed up? Adorable.

Fishing a boot out of the sea? Adorable.

Giving Tom Nook your hard-earned bells and curse this capitalist oligarch crook while plotting his violent end? Adorable.

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I’m just adorable

All your achievements are logged into your smart phone as ‘Nook Miles,’ a new currency in the Animal Crossing world which you can use to buy new upgrades for your storage space, or for travelling to other Islands using Dodo Airlines.

(I absolutely love this idea of Dodo’s owning an airline, it KILLED me when I first saw it)

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Dodo Airlines – “We can’t fly but doesn’t mean you can’t!”

As with all Animal Crossing games, you just need to sit back and accept that you’re in this for the long run, whether you like it or not. And, y’know, you’ve probably decided by now whether you like the grind.

I myself don’t mind the grind at all. Unlike with many other games, I’m not doing it to upgrade my weapons and gear so I can kill enemies better.

I’m doing it because it’s strangely relaxing.

I mean, paying off a 198,000 bells mortgage is a hell of a lot of fish, and nobody else is going to do it for you!

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Who needs bridges?

The main thing I enjoy about this Animal Crossing is that I can place furniture outside wherever I want.

I can make an outdoor gym, maybe a sunbathing spot on the beach, or a zen-zone for yoga…

The player is given so much freedom on this island, you can effectively make the game whatever you want it to be.

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How I wish I was spending my isolation…

Crafting is a brand-new feature introduced to New Horizons.

Ordinarily, the busywork of hunting for wood and minerals is not something I enjoy a great deal, but in Animal Crossing the mundane – going fishing, catching bugs, getting wood from trees – is also where the excitement lies.

The DIY aspect of the game that comes from all the farming is another thing I find really enjoyable. Rather than having to buy furniture or wait for it to fall out a tree or the sky, you can make your own!

You can then edit the materials and colours afterwards, depending on the item, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of time I spend customising these things.

(Unless you, too, are a player of these games, in which case you probably do!)

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Floating gifts… but from whom?

Now, as someone with a huge case of arachnophobia, this was one of the most terrifying discoveries of my gaming career.

Tarantula Island

Yes. I found an island filled with tarantulas, and I’m sure many of you share (and have shared, upon discovering this yourselves) my terror here.

Fortunately for me, they are worth 8000 bells a piece! So you better believe that I filled my pockets full of spiders. However, catching these hairy beasts was one of the most terrifying moments of Animal Crossing I have faced so far (AND THEY HAVE GHOSTS IN THIS GAME).

They will stare at you, then raise their legs… sometimes they’ll stay like that, but most of the time they will RUN at you, with all eight of their creepy little legs.

I am not ashamed to say I screamed every time this happened to me.

Since Pokemon Go brought the temporary illusion of world peace for a brief few months back in 2016, I thought it might never happen again…

Okay, no such thing ever existed even as an illusion, and it certainly doesn’t now, but if there was a game which could accomplish that, it’d be Animal Crossing!


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You don’t have to social distance online!

Escape to a deserted island and create your own paradise as you explore, create, and customise in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game.

Your island getaway has a wealth of natural resources that can be used to craft everything from tools to creature comforts. You can hunt down insects at the crack of dawn, decorate your paradise throughout the day, or enjoy sunset on the beach while fishing in the ocean. The time of day and season match real life, so each day on your island is a chance to check in and find new surprises all year round.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons released March 20th and is available exclusively on Nintendo Switch (US | UK)


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