Animal Crossing: New Horizons musings

There’s no point in reviewing the new Animal Crossing. You’re already playing it. Everyone on your friend list is playing it. You’re probably reading this on your phone while casually fishing. But I do have some random thoughts i’d like to share.

I’m really enjoying myself

Animal Crossing is as fun as ever. It’s gentle, inviting and the writing is great. It’s amazing how little dialogue it takes to make the other villagers seem like proper, living beings.

I love choosing an outfit and decorating my village. This is a game rife with Nintendo’s trademark charm.

It’s really addictive

Like, seriously addictive. I bought and installed Animal Crossing on launch day, 9 days ago. It’s currently my sixth most played Switch game. That means I must have played it for over 40 hours. In fact, I’d say it’s the most addictive Animal Crossing yet, and all because of Nook Miles and Island Visits.

Nook Miles are an in-game currency collected by performing small tasks. You might be awarded some for fishing, or chopping down trees and so they’re constantly being accumulated, ready to be blown on tickets.

Tickets let you visit another island (as an aside, I don’t know if these are randomly generated or from a setlist, as I’ve seen some repeated island shapes). Once you arrive you can fish, chop trees and catch bugs. This means even if you exhaust your island of all of its resources, there’s always a way to acquire more.

And of course, when you chop trees and catch bugs and fish you’re awarded more Nook Miles, which you can spend on more tickets. Because there’s always just 15 more minutes you can spend chopping wood or fishing, you’re never too far away from having enough to take another trip.

Slowing things down speeds things up

New Horizons tries to slow everything down by making you wait a day to erect new buildings.

This doesn’t help at all. In fact, it compels me to sink even more hours in. Let me explain.

Yesterday I built a bridge. It needs 228,000 bells to fund its construction. Now I could have easily collected this money over a long period of time. However, only one bridge can be built at a time, so the longer the bridge is under construction for, the longer there’s a block on all other building. I felt compelled to collect that money the same day.

Yes, it took a while.

It reminds me of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

OK. Hear me out. Sure, Breath of the Wild was an adventure game, but what had everyone talking were the secrets and shortcuts. The hidden locations or the things you could do that were left to self-discovery, like attaching balloons to objects to make them float. It really took me back to the school playground, talking about gaming myths in hushed breaths. Did you know that you could do THAT?! Animal Crossing has the exact same thing.

It may seem like a simple game on the surface, but there’s tons of detail hidden underneath. The other day my friend told me that two random trees a day on your island produce furniture if you shake them. Is that true? I have no idea! These mysteries are all part of the fun.

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