Everything We Know About Animal Crossing: New Horizons


Courtesy of Nintendo

Matthew Jones, Contributing Reporter

It may have taken a little while longer than some fans may have hoped for, but an “Animal Crossing” game is finally coming to Nintendo Switch. “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” takes the relaxing gameplay that players love and moves it to a deserted island. In an effort to make you as prepared as possible for it, we have made a list of everything you need to know before booking your flight to Tom Nook’s deserted island on March 20.

Own a slice of paradise

Players will be able to choose from several different island types. Each island features different paths and options, and players can also decide whether to live in the northern or southern hemisphere regardless of their actual location. Once the island is chosen, players can still use the NookPhone to change the island as they see fit, including adding or removing cliffs and rivers. Bridges and slopes are also buildable in order to make it easier to get across the island.

The customization also extends to the gameplay options. The camera can be adjusted to a top-down angle similar to the first game on GameCube, which could be more enjoyable to those playing on the Switch Lite or with their system in handheld mode. The NookPhone is also customizable.

Put your feet up

You’ll be able to go camping, complete with a tent and fire, grow plants, scavenge resources from trees and rocks, or just relax on the beach after a particularly long day. When you begin, all you will have inside your tent is a foldable cot, a lamp, and a radio. If you do not like the way things look, you will be able to move things in your home in half-units in order to get that perfect look.

The deserted island is yours to decorate and customize as you see fit, and you can create your dream home on the property. If you want to put furniture outside, that is also an option. There are customization options for furniture too. The color can be changed, and special designs are available to add extra flair. These can be combined, such as with a bed, so the bedding is one design and the frame’s color is changed separately.

Of course, as this vacation package is Tom Nook’s idea, you can expect him to come knocking before too long and demand you repay any loans you’ve taken out. However, you’ll also get rewarded with Nook Miles for milestones you complete in the game, which can be spent on items and activities. Once players have earned enough Nook Miles, they can purchase Nook Miles Tickets to travel to separate islands and collect rewards. These will differ each time, and are effectively “mysteries” until arriving. Anything found can be taken home, including materials and animals.

DIY Recipes

The crafting system has been significantly expanded in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” Now called “DIY Recipes,” the new system allows you to create different types of items using materials you collect around the island such as tree branches, clay, hardwood, and stone. You can also make tools to assist you in your adventuring such as signs, water jugs, benches, and even drinks. All of the recipes that you collect are conveniently located in an app on your in-game phone.

The weeds or other “junk” items you discover while exploring can actually be used for making new goodies. You can visit Tom Nook’s workbench to then turn them into new tools for free.

To get new DIY Recipes, you’ll have three main options. You can get them from animals for free, you can learn recipes by finding items on the island, and if you need a specific recipe you can buy them from stores.

The four seasons

The clock plays a big role in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”, as it is connected to your own clock in the real world. There is both a northern hemisphere area and southern hemisphere option to better match your own location, and the season will change throughout the year. This brings new activities, such as rolling snowballs in the winter, and completely changes the look of your island. If you’re playing in June in the northern hemisphere, it will be sunny, but those who choose the southern hemisphere option will be in the middle of winter. The wind can change speeds on the island, and this will be expressed by how the leaves are moving on trees.

The wildlife you find will vary depending on the season. If you fish in the winter, you could end up finding many different varieties than you did during the warmer seasons. In the summer, more bugs will be encountered,

Because “Nintendo” wants players to avoid rewinding or otherwise changing time, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will not be compatible with cloud saves.

Play together

One of the apps you’ll spot on your mobile phone inside New Horizons is called “Call an Islander.” Using this app, you can choose to play with another person in local cooperative mode. Those who also have a house on the island can join your game. New Horizons will only have one island per console, however, you only need one Joy-Con controller per player, so two people can enjoy the game together without any other equipment. Up to eight players can share an island, and up to four can play together at the same time. Any player can be made the “leader” in a party, which is denoted by a flag over their head. This player will be in control of where you and the camera are moving while you play together.

There will also be local wireless and online multiplayer options. When playing this way, up to eight players can gather on one player’s island and complete activities together. To invite someone else from a separate island, players must go to the airport. It opens up the day after arriving on the island, and it’s also available for traveling to someone else’s island, and for sending messages via the postal service.

Keep save data safe

The game’s box art states that it does not support save transfers, meaning the island you start on one console will only be compatible with that console — sort of.

After the games launch, players will be able to transfer their save data to a second system via a special service. Not everyone can do this however, this can only be done in the case of a defective or lost system, and it can only be done once. If problems happen a second time, that data will be gone forever.

A new Nintendo Switch

For those who are getting their first Nintendo Switch system or a second one for their home, “Nintendo” has made an “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” special-edition console. The console released on March 13, just ahead of the game’s launch, and includes the series’ emblems and icons all along the system’s casing. The console comes with a special Animal Crossing dock, as well as light blue and light green Joy-Con controllers.

Getting even better

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” will be getting updates to improve the game after launch, including seasonal events such as a special “Bunny Day” event coming in April. Those who play “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” can get special items in both Pocket Camp and New Horizons.

The game also supports Amiibo figures and cards, and characters you scan using the Joy-Con controller will appear on your island.