Gaming, Venue

Animal Crossing: A review

Oh, Animal Crossing, where hast thou been? I first played Wild World on the original DS so many years ago, and now, after a seven year drought, New Horizons is finally with us. So, what new things does it bring to the table? What could be improved? And most of all, is it fun to play? (Spoilers: obviously).

For beginners to the series, Animal Crossing New Horizons is a simulation game where you are a human in a town of anthropomorphic animals. You spend your days earning bells, the game’s currency; fishing and catching bugs for the museum, and forging relationships with fellow islanders. You can upgrade your house by becoming increasingly indebted to a talking racoon, Tom Nook, and gamble your life’s savings away every Sunday morning to a snot-nosed farmer who sells turnips. It’s capitalism at its finest.

New to the series is the crafting system, which is used constantly. Anything from tools to furniture can be made, provided you have the recipe. It gives another system of progression to the game and is fairly stress-free once you have a surplus of materials (I’m looking at you Iron Nugget).

Nook Miles is new to the game as well: a secondary currency gained by completing milestones or completing daily tasks, and used to purchase recipes and Nook Miles tickets. These allow you to go to a randomly chosen deserted island out of a number of pre-set designs, whose eco-systems can be ruined to your heart’s content.

Another new inclusion is terraforming. This doesn’t come about until a little later in the game, but it allows you to transform the landscape of your town to be exactly to your liking, and also to place paths, a much awaited feature, of which there are plenty of different types.

Smaller features such as half-tile placement, autosave (poor Rosetti), improved character customisation, and being able to place your villagers’ houses, are all welcome additions to the franchise.

Now, there are a few things that could be improved. My main two issues are that there is no durability meter for tools, unlike previous games, and that crafting can only be done one at a time, so bulk items like bait can take a long time to mass craft. Otherwise, small issues like awkward inventory stacking are only minor, and I have hope these will all be fixed.I’ve played every day since launch, and show no signs of stopping. It’s a game to be played all year round, and it’s the most fun I’ve had in a game for a while. If you’re on the fence about this one, don’t be. It’ll steal your heart and your time.

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James Ward

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August 2022
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