Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Game Review


Animal Crossing New Horizons

(available on Nintendo Switch only)

With it now being just over a month since I got Animal Crossing on release day I think I can safely give my opinion on the game and what it’s like to live with it. the game has that same sense of what makes Animal Crossing great but also has a whole bunch of new features that really add a sense of freshness to the franchise. As for the quarantine factor it’s damn near perfect for isolation with sheer endless single and multiplayer as you customise, maintain and live your best life on your own deserted island. The game offers both local and online multiplayer between switches allowing you to have friends visit your island and to have up to 8 members of your household and this was a key factor for success in my playthrough. I ended up joining a Facebook group with some friends that go to a Liverpool Magic the Gathering commander night I used to attend at Just Play games prior to quarantine and it proved very useful for everyone since I was able to have my friends to come to my island for better deals at the shop with turnip prices and I was able to get some of the fruit that was not native to my island which sell for better on my island. The multiplayer is an excellent experience though would encourage you to use the Nintendo Switch app if you do since it takes a long time to type in messages using the switch alone, even more so if you’re using the Switch docked to the tv and don’t have access to the touch screen

Pros

  • Level of customisation: with the deserted island setting it has become apparent that this is probably the game that allows you to really build the environment around your wishes with you actively choosing where shops and houses go which lets you feel like you’re in complete control in a way that hasn’t been in the series and the terraforming that is unlocked later was amazing fun to use to shape the environment
  • More to do: the game offers some cool day to day objectives. early on you can’t access the entirety of your island and the game does a good job easing you into the mechanics of the game and makes every milestone feel worth it. the game also introduces the Nook Miles program which act as both achievements and extra currency and this has been one of my favourite parts of the game since they added an extra sense of purpose and objectives as I went throughout my day so I could decide when the best time to go fishing, catch bugs, plant fruit, sell items etc…
  • Crafting: Crafting has been introduced to Animal Crossing and for a lot of reasons it has cut the tedium of waiting for items to appear in the shop
  • Battery life when in handheld mode: it’s actually really good, I have an original model switch and manged to get a lot of playout from it before I had to charge the console
  • Still loads of personality: the game maintains that added excellent Animal Crossing charm the series is known for with lots of new and old colourful characters which really makes the game feel warm and welcoming, plus the world feels more alive with your neighbours never staying in one place and hanging around various parts of the island having their own fun
  • Graphics: like many of the classic Nintendo franchises that have made their switch entries the series has never looked better and is most characterised by just small touches such as weather and texture effects.
  • Updates have been good and consistent: I have now played special events for Easter, earth day and May day and they certainly were an excellent breath of fresh air and changed up access of the game which suggests playing the game on national holidays will be some of the best parts of the game, unfortunately I suspect there won’t be too many events in the summer so we might be waiting until October for the next one but Nintendo have stated they’re planning for more updates as the year goes on which most recently was done in the form of a museum expansion which adds art pieces

Mixed

  • Amiibo functionality: I picked up a lot of Animal Crossing Amiibo figures and cards (prices vary depending on figures rarity my advice is to check out second hand online shops right now for best deals, but Amazon had decent prices of the cards) and the functionality is a mixed bag. the cards allow you to invite characters on the cards to the campsite once unlocked for a conversation which was really good fun but I struggled to get any of them to move to my island without inviting them multiple times which was aggravating. the figure’s were only useful for the Photopia island you to make dioramas with the characters to take photos with which wore out it’s welcome pretty quickly (it also works with the cards). they both also allow to buy posters for your house. So while the functionality is better than most switch games right now it’s still not amazing and doesn’t nearly match the amazing functionality Animal Crossing New leaf had through updates which really rewarded people that collected several Amiibo across several series like myself. Also not all characters from the Animal crossing series figures or cards are currently in the game though they are going to start introducing more as time goes on and 2 figures that didn’t work previously (Reese and Cyrus) were just added. I’d check online for functionality before you buy an Amiibo figure but pick up some cards specifically from the 1st series of cards.

Cons

  • Not great first thing in the morning: I would like to play the game first thing in the morning but I was getting up at 7am and playing the game almost immediately. that meant I was waitng an hour for Nooks Cranny to open and 2 hours for Able Sisters shop to open. This meant I had a lot of time to kill before I could sell anything off and would have to put stuff in storage and just wait to get paid. It was even bigger issue when shops and the museum were closed for renovation. Not a big deal just a bug
  • Pressure to play: while I really like the game it certainly make me feel like I couldn’t take a single day off even though often you’ll be playing uneventful days but it at least means I feel pressure for playing a game I like but I did feel the need to do at least an hour a day which obviously could take time away from other games I’m playing
  • Items break way too easily: not as bad as breath of the wild but I did find myself often using most of my crafting materials to make tools that broke too easily and killed time on progression of my tasks
  • A slight control issue when digging: occasionally I would dig in the wrong place because the new control scheme meant I had overcorrected and faced wrong place but it wasn’t a major problem and might be more of a me thing
  • It’s not for everyone: if you weren’t an Animal Crossing fan and thought the series was full of boring games where you just do chores this won’t convert you since while it offers a lot new but it’s still fundamentally the same sort of game

Overall thoughts: Great game, Animal Crossing has never been better, bring back most of what was great and adds new stuff that fits right in, won’t convert anyone not already a fan.

Score: 9/10

Would recommend Buying it either physically over the internet or digitally from Nintendo’s e shop it’s about 5.6 GB without updates so won’t take up too much space especially if your Switch has a good Micro SD card
 
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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