Review Score: 9/10
I’ve been extremely productive during the coronavirus pandemic. I paid off my loans, built a home in less than a week and even made some new friends along the way. Oh, I should probably mention this was all done in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I’ve barely left my real-life home in three weeks. Gaming’s most-popular chill-with-animal-friends simulator couldn’t have hit the market at a better time. Many of us are stuck at home trying to figure out what to do, making for tons of time to dive deep into Nintendo’s latest first-party title. It’s an experience packed with depth and charm that I simply cannot put down.
The theme of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is island living. You and two randomly chosen animal island-mates start a new life on a deserted island after purchasing a getaway package from the entrepreneurial raccoon Tom Nook. You’re handed a tent and a simple set of instructions: build out the island any which way you like, with a heavy emphasis on the word build.
The main hook of New Horizons is crafting items from materials collected. Think Minecraft or Stardew Valley, but with a kookier sense of humor. You never quite know what items will appear. I’ve seen a bathroom towel rack fall from a tree I was harvesting wood from, and I’ve shouted things like “alright! I got a frog T-shirt,” and “how come these turnips aren’t worth more money?” Again, quarantine has been weird for all of us.
The building mechanic in this game is simple and snappy. By nature, you’ll find yourself in the menus often as you look up what ingredients are needed to make a piece of furniture, but thanks to New Horizons’ accessible interface, both casual and experienced Animal Crossing players navigate them with ease. In no time you’ll be building homes for other island residents, planting your own fruit trees and even designing your own clothing.
My favorite part of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the way time works. Being a series newcomer, I always heard about how time operates the same as real life, but never quite understood exactly how that affects in-game progress. For instance, a character might say “your house will be built tomorrow.” OK, but I don’t literally have to wait until tomorrow, right? Wrong, dear reader. In the meantime, you could check off other items, or you could also turn off your console until the next day. It’s very strange to come to terms with, but I genuinely enjoyed having the gaming side of my brain be challenged. Some days you can play for 12 hours straight, some days you just have to put down the Animal Crossing and go for a walk.
My in-game hours tally in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is quickly climbing to the top of my most played games on my console. I don’t know where the time goes. One second I’m relaxing while fishing off the shore of a beach and then realize I skipped two meals. I swear I can stop at any time though… It’s perfect for kids, it’s perfect for adults and a must-have for all Switch owners looking for something to do during these uncertain times. Get lost in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. You’ll be glad you did.
Review code provided by publisher
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