It’s been eight long years since the last core Animal Crossing game, but series latest New Horizons is finally, well, on the horizon.
As well as scrutinising last month’s Animal Crossing Direct and religiously following the Animal Crossing Twitter account, we’ve been lucky enough to go hands on with New Horizon’s early game on Switch.
The major takeaway is that the game brings a profound sense of adventure to Nintendo’s cutest franchise, all without spoiling that Animal Crossing magic we all know and love. But how has Nintendo managed this? Let us list the ways…
The Deserted Island Getaway Package
Ever the industrious little fellow, Tom Nook has been very busy since 2012’s New Leaf. He’s set up the ‘Deserted Island Getaway Package’, a new scheme that allows players to fly out to an uninhabited island in order to start a new life.
Unlike previous games where you moved into a pre-established town, your new deserted island home is a blank slate. For the first time the player has complete control of the game space, which opens up unlimited possibilities for every island.
Essentially, the game provides a canvas on which you can paint your dream town. However, you’ll begin your adventure with little more than a tent and a headful of ideas.
From playing the opening of the game, we cannot overstate how exciting all this feels! You have a huge island occupied by little more than local wildlife, and it’s up to you to do exactly what you want with it – it’s the relocation adventure of a lifetime!
But being stuck on a deserted island, far away from Animal Crossing civilisation, how on earth are you going to build your dream town?
Well, because resources on the island are limited to what nature can offer, you’ll need to get your overalls on and craft everything from scratch. Luckily, branches and stones can be reformed into basic tools that will help you get started.
As you explore your island you’ll obtain ‘DIY Recipes’ that help you create new tools and craft furniture for your tent. You’ll even be able to make a pole that will allow you to vault across water to access and explore new parts of your island!
Turning to nature to help you catch fish, bugs, and craft is incredibly rewarding. It also gives the early game a surprising castaway vibe, which only adds to the awesome sense of adventure!
Earning Nook Miles
One of the more forgotten features in New Leaf was the CAT Machine. It granted players coupons for completing each task laid out for the day. These coupons allowed players to top up their Bells (Animal Crossing’s main currency) with ease.
In New Horizons Bells are back but the new secondary currency is Nook Miles, earned through an app on the Nook Phone that adds to daily life by offering a list of challenges and achievements.
As well as this, the Nook Miles that you earn can be exchanged for significant rewards in game.
It’s a great way to earn rewards just by playing the game and for getting to know your new surroundings.
Learn To Landform
If you thought your island adventure ended with building your town, you'd be very wrong. In a franchise first New Horizons allows landforming!
First revealed in February’s Animal Crossing Direct, landforming allows players to shape the physical landscape of their island, reimagining geographical features like cliffs and rivers.
Don’t like the way a river cuts through the middle of your town? Simply use your landforming prowess to divert it somewhere else.
As well as diverting rivers you’ll also be able to create new levels of terrain, lay down dirt paths, and smooth down rocky inclines.
New Horizons, New Look
Every grand adventure needs a sense of wonder and New Horizons has this box thoroughly ticked with its beautiful graphical style.
Whilst the game’s graphics may appear deceptively simple, the power of the Nintendo Switch means that Animal Crossing has never looked better.
In fact, the soft visual style, incredible lighting and gorgeous texture work provides a feast for the eyes when you actually see the game running. The character models are also impressive, looking like toys carefully animated and brought to life.
There are also a host of new animal villagers, as well as the return of plenty of your series favourites.
Adventures Are Better Together
Sometimes you just need to adventure with a friend, right? With New Horizons it’s easy to play couch co-op with two villagers living on the same island.
By using the Nook Phone to call another islander, you’ll seamlessly be able to summon your friends and family members to play together.
With one islander designated as the leader, players will be able to explore the island side by side, take part in activities and interact with the other residents all without a compromise in-game performance.
Should the leader move too far away from other players then all secondary gamers will be transported to the leader's position, which prevents villagers from getting lost off-screen.
After a hard day's adventuring, you're going to want somewhere comfortable to lay your head.
In the years between New Leaf and New Horizons the Animal Crossing franchise has seen two spinoff games: Pocket Camp for mobile and Happy Home Designer on the 3DS. Excitingly, several well-received features from these games have made the leap to New Horizons.
For the first time in a core game, villagers can place furniture outside of their houses and decorate the entire island however they like.
Interior decoration is also much simpler in New Horizons, with a decoration mode giving players a bird’s eye view and more options for furniture placement. It really is your town and your adventure just how you want them.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches March 20th on Nintendo Switch. Stay tuned to Daily Star Gaming or follow @DailyStarGames on Twitter for more Animal Crossing news and our incoming review.
- Animal Crossing
- Nintendo Switch
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