While it was pretty much a given that Animal Crossing: New Horizons would gain glowing reviews, we must confess to being surprised by just how glowing they are – it has received top marks from a dozen gaming outlets, including VG247, God is a Geek, and The Telegraph.

We certainly didn’t expect to see Eurogamer proudly proclaim it to be one of the best Nintendo games of all time – the highest of high praise. “It presents a world absurd in its mundanity yet shot through with magic, offering an escapism that’s reassuringly dependable. I just hope you weren’t planning on playing anything else this year,” they said.

The consensus is that Nintendo poured a great deal of love and attention into this idyllic island holiday package, adding plenty of ‘quality of life’ features that help drive the franchise forward. It’s guaranteed to swallow hundreds of hours, and then a few hundred more.

The Metacritic currently stands at 91%. Check out a smattering of scores below.

10/10 – Forbes: There’s a bunch of stuff old and new here, like the ability to choose where people live, the way the island evolves, the DIY system that lets you make your own stuff, streamlined inventory management, the multiplayer system, the way you can now create and destroy land at a whim, etc. If you want to know more about that stuff, I’m sure there will be lots of other reviews that will go into them. But know that if you’re overwhelmed with the world, stuck inside, or adrift in a life that you know will look totally different next week — get Animal Crossing.

5/5 – The Telegraph: It shines at every moment, from the wind rustling through the trees, to the sunset glinting off the water to the jaunty tunes at the start of the day fading into more relaxing melodies in the evening. Add dozens of much needed quality of life features (hello player customisation, autosave, couch co-op, and eight-player online play) and it all adds up to the perfect DIY recipe for the most chilled out, relaxing, and engaging life simulator ever.

5/5 – VG247: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is everything I hoped it would be, and it’s yet another stellar release that showcases a confident Nintendo at its best. It is excellent, and is easily another must-own Switch title – at least, if you can understand and embrace Animal Crossing’s uniquely lazy pace.

10/10 – Nintendo Insider: As heartwarming as it is wholesome, Nintendo has delivered meaningful changes that help to structure your peaceful island existence. Every day has the potential to offer something new, and, thanks to that, it will be a game that many will enjoy investing countless hours (and Bells) in. Oh, and heroically leaping across rivers with the Vault Pole will never get old.

10/10 – God is a Geek: If you are looking forward to Animal Crossing: New Horizons as a long term fan, know that this is everything you could have hoped for, which is to say it’s more Animal Crossing with quality of life improvements on what might be the best console Nintendo’s ever put out. It’ll sell millions, earn new fans, and top play counts for years to come. Knowing my family will be playing this together for a long, long time, makes me feel like everything is going to be alright, and goodness, what more could you ask for?

10/10 – Nintendo Life: Every moment is unashamedly blissful, with excellently-written characters that truly feel alive and an island paradise that gives back infinitely more than you put in. Back when Animal Crossing: New Leaf hit the shelves all those years ago and created a whole new generation of fans, many people were wondering how Nintendo could possibly top it, but here we have our answer. This is a masterpiece that has been well worth waiting for.

9/10 – VideoGamer: We are only three months into this year, and there’s a long (bumpy, lurching, and memeful) road to recovery ahead of us. If we were in a swirling blizzard, Animal Crossing: New Horizons would be a tiny tea light whose flame flickers but never extinguishes. It’s a source of light and warmth, despite it all, and it’s doing its best to comfort us. This island is a haven. We’ll share it all together. 

9.0 – GameInformer: A new challenge system reinvigorates the familiar core, providing a wonderful incentive to explore all of Animal Crossing’s myriad activities. This cheerful life sim is the next best thing to an actual vacation

9.0 – IGN: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an expanded, polished, next-generation reboot of a classic Nintendo game that’s full of surprises.

9/10 – The Metro: Animal Crossing finally gets a sequel that moves the franchise forward, in a surprisingly timely release that is perfect for this year in terms of both its gameplay and its philosophy.

8.5 – Destuctoid: While it fumbles its camping-inspired opening, New Horizons makes a nice recovery with a strong focus on player accomplishment, creating a potent sense of achievement in this idyllic piece of escapism.

8.0 – Financial Post: t’s a blissfully lighthearted and colourful game filled with charm, humour — I giggled aloud the first time I caught a black bass, described in-game as “the most metal of all fish” — and a much needed sense of normalcy that comes at a time when we could all use a little pick-me-up. And if our current social isolation should stretch from days into weeks and months, I’m pretty sure there’ll still be plenty to do each day on my little friend-filled island.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches this Friday on Switch. Most retailers are throwing in a physical freebie – including badges, keyrings and cleaning cloths – so shop around.