At the end of the day, this game is a dollhouse that makes you grind for pieces. That's honestly a pretty solid pitch, and the main reason I've put it away for the most part is that I'm not feeling up to investing the combination of creativity and grinding to make every zone exactly how I want it. Even though I've put this down, I also put many hours into it so I can't say it didn't serve its purpose.
Fun and relaxing, and honestly, that's all it should be. I will say, these types of games, the life simulation, have never been up my alley. I really love a sense of adventure and purpose, with quests and enemies, or at least a goal to work towards. So this game was never going to be something that I absolutely loved and spent hundreds of hours with. It is something that I'll pick up every couple of days and fuck around with though. It's nice!
Animal Crossing is a very fun game, but that statement comes with an asterisk. It's a very slow-paced game. The only thing you really do in this game is mingle with your animal neighbors and build up your island from a deserted disaster into a bustling town.
It is undeniably charming due to the writing, the interactions with the characters, the visuals, and oddly enough the user interface. Everything about it is super cute.
But the game also straddles the line between relaxing and tedious. There isn't much to do; I wasn't exaggerating when I said this game is just talking to animals and building your town. It's a life simulator that takes place in real time, meaning that throughout your time with the game there will be multiple instances where there is nothing to do, and you have to wait hours or days for things to naturally progress.
That doesn't stop people from advancing time forward by manually changing the Switch's internal clock, but the point is that it isn't exactly brimming with content. The game tries to hook you, giving you more of the experience little by little to keep you playing as long as possible. I think it's successful in this regard; the charm is enough to make me enjoy my time, and the long term work of decorating your island, expanding your home and filling out the museum is super satisfying. But I do wish that there was something else to fill the time, some sort of alternate objectives or maybe some mini games (Nook Miles sort of address this issue, but those aren't exactly unlocked quickly or fun to do).
New Horizons also makes a lot of quality of life improvements to the series: placing furniture outside, using materials to craft items, an improved interior decoration mode, terraformation, moving building around, etc. These are very welcome advancements, but they make a lot of the rest of the game feel dated by comparison. There are still a ton of inconveniences that require a lot of patience from the player to overcome, like the amount of repetitious texts in dialogue and menus, the fact that you only have one terminal to access new items and abilities, the inability to craft multiple items at once, etc. It's sort of a weird balance, because if there aren't enough conveniences the game will feel tedious, but if there are too many conveniences it sort of defeats the purpose of being a life simulation. Overall, New Horizons handles that balance decently well, but it could be a little bit better.
I think my biggest problem with the game though is that it's lacking a lot of features from previous games. Specifically, I miss main street from New Leaf. I played a lot of New Leaf as a kid and absolutely loved it. Oddly enough, despite how much I played it, I don't remember much of it, but main street has always stuck in my mind. When you move into town in New Leaf, main street is pretty run down. The buildings are abandoned and boarded up, and there aren't many stores that are open. But as you progress, you slowly reopen these buildings and unlock a lot of new features and upgrade them until main street is really lively. It was a great visual indicator of progress; as soon as you start the game you have a vague idea of what your town might look like. New Horizons doesn't have anything like this; rather it is up to the player to build their island how they see fit. It allows for a lot more creativity, but it also means that it's harder to get players invested without an image of something to work towards.
I found this game oddly satisfying but we have to keep it real. There are many things that just don't work out correctly yet. As I have plaid it before those updates came in it's just not perfect. After the credits rolled I just didn't had the motivation to keep going because everything left to do would be harsh and exhausting work which wouldn't be fun at all.
But till then I had a great time. Maybe I'll pick it up later again Please fix crafting, storage and most importantly, personalize your island, Thank you :)
I mean, it's amazing. Much happier with it than I expected to be. Kept my interest for 2 months of unemployment. The crafting is great, weapon breakability is annoying. Wish it hadn't killed off all the charming elderly characters in the series. Online is balls. Could use more varied villager dialogue like always. Soundtrack is pretty disappointing. The mystery and charm of the Gamecube version will never be recreated but it's ok. I wish we still had some of that nestled coziness, though. The island vibe is my least favorite part. Regardless I love it and it helped me ease into quarantine with something to look forward to every day.
The other day I picked up this game, walked around my island, talked to some villagers, caught some fish, chopped some wood, then made a bird bath. After an hour I turned the game off and thought to myself, "oh so THIS is animal crossing". Once that routine clicks, theres almost no better feeling than doing virtual chores for an hour or two at a time.
It's a nice, peaceful way to relax and unwind. Doing basic tasks is what makes this game so addicting. Starting out with a small island with tents to one with shops, houses, and more, AC: NH is a game that satisfies my more creative side.
My only issue comes from terraforming my island. No matter how precise I try and make it, it seems like objects like bridges, inclines, shops, and other things will never be perfectly centered. I wish I could center things in a more efficient way instead of the game choosing that for me.
I love Animal Crossing. And this is more Animal Crossing!
More importantly, the quality of life changes this game made from New Leaf are extremely welcome - you can move around houses! You can actually mail letters and gifts from your airport! You can terraform your island! Setting up sidewalks isn't a nightmare anymore!
Having said that, there's still a few things I miss, like the minigame island, or Roost's cafe, or some of the special villagers like Blanca and Katie. Hopefully that stuff gets added in updates.
This is probably the most excited I've been to play a game in a long time. That being said, I just can't get into it. I think it's because this game is a lot more sandbox-like since you can place furniture outside and landscape. But I'm not really the type to enjoy those features, so I guess I felt like this game didn't add much for me. However, I'm thinking my mind will change when I have more free time and I can put more thought into it, so for now, this review is tentative.
if you're new to animal crossing, it's a long running game series simply about vibing with anthropomorphic animal friends on a personalized island (or a village or city in previous entries). it's one of the most chill games around. the days move in real time and each day brings new interactions, bugs and fish to catch, and new items to buy in the shops, which you can use to decorate your character, your home, and your island. although it's a long-running series, chillness is at its core, and it's a perfectly good starting point for beginners.
new horizons is the fifth entry in the series, and it shakes up the animal crossing formula more than any entry before it, yet it also feels more lesser and barren in ways compared to new leaf. still, it's always a good, relaxing time no matter which animal crossing game.
new horizons is extremely good for the soul. there's still a lot of good new things here and animal crossing has never looked more beautiful, crisp, and vibrant. the music isn't my favorite in the series. while it sets the easy mood, i appreciated the weirdness of the older soundtracks; it's just different.
new horizons ended up coming to the rescue, serving as a virtual hangout space in this weird 2020 spring when a certain global pandemic forced everyone to stay home. i miss seeing my homies in person, but playing new horizons with friends is a fun and expressive experience.
however, nintendo continues their streak of making baffling decisions regarding online play. having to walk across your island to the airport and then having to go through a bunch of dialogue after getting the airport before taking off to a friend's island isn't ideal, and I wish it was drop-in drop-out. every time a friend visits your island, everyone already on the island is forced to stop play and watch a 1-minute long cutscene, and that kinda sucks. get it together, ninty.
the site makes me list it as "completed", but that's not quite true. i've put about 80 hours into it at this point, but since animal crossing is a game that moves in real time with new content and events rolled out through the year, it feels a bit early to finalize my thoughts on it. i'll plan on revisiting this post at the end of the year.
all in all, if you've enjoyed a previous game in the series, you'll like this one too. if you're new, this is a very worthwhile addition to your switch collection and the perfect game to unwind with. i'm looking forward to the peaceful days to come on my sunset isle and to the content updates, events, and holidays yet to come this year.
As my very first Animal Crossing experience, I'm mixed on how I truly feel about New Horizons. On the one hand, I find it rather relaxing to traverse your island, talking to your adorable little villagers, collecting materials and formatting the place to look as exquisite as possible, yet on the other hand, you're running around doing virtual chores for several hours a day, and the loan system can eventually require so much financial investment from you that it can easily turn into grinding of the same things every single day to seemingly no end.
I'm still playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and I'm having fun with it for the most part, but I can't see this sticking around for much longer. I honestly wish there was a way to just pause time in the game so I could just take a breather from it for a while yet still engage with the special events, as well as not run the risk of losing my villagers, but I understand how that goes against the core philosophy of the game. Enable for New Horizons to continually engage me with its mechanics, it needs to do the following:
1. please explain how long I can go without engaging with the game so I can actually take a damn break but not run the risk of losing villagers
2. let me craft more than one item at a time at benches, as well as let me bulk-buy items at shops/Nook terminals
3. let me have more than one construction project active at a time for god's sake
Seemingly menial changes, I know, but they'd do a lot in honing the pacing of this game. I still really like this game, and may provide further thoughts on it in the future, but this is where I stand now. I like this game, but I'm far from loving it at the moment.
I haven't finished this. I don't even know what it means to finish an Animal Crossing game, unless you're like my old roommate who collected every single item in New Leaf. I probably won't do that, but I have played for over 100 hours now so hopefully that counts for something.
I don't think this is the ideal version of Animal Crossing. It's leaner than New Leaf in some ways, the crafting system is frequently obnoxious, and Pocket Camp's influence is stronger than I'd like. Still, in the face of everything I like about it, none of that matters; the feeling I get from seeing my favorite villager reading on a bench I placed, surrounded by flowers I planted, can't be matched. It's still the game I fell in love with 20 years ago, lovingly updated.
at the time of writing this i am no closer to "completing" new horizons than i was when i had first arrived on the island. it's not a game about completion; it's a fantasy of a slightly less chaotic world. nintendo's own genre for this game is simulation -- indeed, it's a simulation of life with its annoyances refined, reinvented, upon which they become tolerable and even comfortable. here you rip up weeds, cut down and grow trees, plan intricate flower fields all while struggling to get a basic set of matching furniture. your tools crumble into dust while your list of chores grows, but you find yourself seemingly enthralled with and by organizing this cute, miniaturized world. it is a game of conquering little goals, and at the end creating your own paradise, so it's not going to be for everyone. but if it's for you, enjoy your momentary hyper-fixation. i know i did!
+It's Animal Crossing. It's hard to explain exactly what makes Animal Crossing fun in words because it sounds boring on paper. But it's fun, okay?
+The new home editor mode makes customising your house so much easier and more fluid.
+The ability to fully customise your island really helps bring out your creative side.
+There's some really neat visuals, like the wardrobe screen when changing clothes.
+The museum looks beautiful now
+Villagers seem more alive and have more random actions they do around the island
-There are some massive quality of life improvements that this game lacks.
-For some reason you have to donate bugs/fish/fossils 1 by 1 during start of game until the museum opens up.
-Can’t craft multiple items at once.
-Breakable tools. Seriously this isn't just the lack of a quality of life thing, it's something they specifically made worse in this entry compared to older ones.
-I've never been a fan of AC's turnip system. Feels like a broken mechanic that just allows you to get insane profit with no effort due to the fact you can buy and sell from ANY island. Due to timezones (or even just time skipping) if you find a player who has a high turnip selling price, while your island has them to purchase, you can literally just make back and forth trips for infinite money.
-For some reason the little indication of what items are customisable is only present at certain times, like in the crafting menu. It isn't present in the inventory or your house storage, so I had to make multiple trips and pocket changes switching items in and out just to find out what I could customise. The fact that a little icon DOES exist in some places just makes it more noticeable that it's missing from other places.
-Trying to set up to travel anywhere, be it a friends island or nook miles island, takes way too long. Supposedly it's just a fancy loading screen, but in that case my complaint is the loading times in this game are atrocious.
-The shop closes at 10pm and they have a little box outside that let's you sell for 80% of their original price...and you only get the money the next day. Why would I ever sell things for less price if I could just keep them in my storage and sell them for full price the next day? If you got the money straight away the 80% would make sense, but there's no logical reason to use it as it is now.
-Can’t build and demolish bridges/inclines at the same time. For example I wanted to destroy the wooden bridge you essentially make as a tutorial and replace it with a better one, but it turns out demolishing an item not only takes a day, but you can't even build a new thing at the same time, so it took 3 days for me to finally get a single bridge (1 day for the bridge to be removed, 1 day to set up the new bridge location and 1 day for it to actually be built)
-The house editing mode is unavailable outside, meaning you still have to place items the old fashion way which can be very imprecise and finicky.
•Despite that huge list of cons I still rated it fairly highly... Like I said, Animal Crossing is a hard game to really sell to someone.
It takes a little while to get going, but once it does it's a great Animal Crossing experience. I know there will be more added with future updates but for now it feels just a little barebones as compared to New Leaf. Hopefully I can raise this rating a little bit in a year or so, but for now it's a certified great game that just unfortunately followed a fantastic game. But as it is, I can't wait to see what the future of this game holds.
New Horizons is undoubtedly the biggest shock that the AC formula has ever been given, and while most of the changes were deliberate attempts at strengthening the long-term promise of Animal Crossing, the expense comes in the form of vibrancy, especially from the start.
The lack of a Main Street/City, or any attempt at filling in for it, makes this game feel barren when comparing it to New Leaf. Many mainstay NPCs (Shrunk, Harriet, Leif) have been essentially outsourced for things that either you can do from the start or things that other NPCs can double-up on. The game's progression is also languidly paced, leaving your island untouched for days on end while you're tasked with chopping wood and smacking rocks. There is an irony in how lonely it can get in a game about building a place for people to live. If I hadn't had friends playing this alongside me, I would've torn my hair out a week earlier.
And while all of these early-game problems pale in comparison to the time you can spend building out, I simply don't think New Horizons has the foundation to support this way of playing as it stands. It could gain something with time, as I'm sure Nintendo will give it the Splatoon/Smash treatment, but aside from the occasional QoL change, this game is currently a framework at best.
Despite being with the series since the Gamecube, I'm left feeling like this game was made for a completely different "kind" of Animal Crossing fan. If you're the type to uproot your towns and redecorate it from top to bottom, then this game is the 2nd Coming. Personally, I think I might begin "forgetting" to do my daily chores a little quicker than usual.
Finally opened the town hall which seems to be where the game really takes off, so this is a good time to log it I guess.
The most significant upgrade here is the stronger sense of progression, including being able to relocate buildings and change the environment. Long-term goals for the look of your island are actually encouraged by the huge amount of customization, which require money and resources. So idly fishing or chopping trees or visiting random islands can still feel like working toward a goal, and every day it feels like there's something to achieve.
Close second: placing items outside. It's a minor change on paper but kind of transforms the game fundamentally.
And of course every Animal Crossing brings a ton of QOL improvements. My favorites are storage being less tedious and the revamped wardrobe system, which actually makes it fun to change your outfit to suit the time and weather. I barely do that in real life.
I don't know how to rate it. Maybe I'll do it later when I've really explored the terraforming which I still haven't unlocked. For now I think I'm going to be playing this daily for a long time yet.