New Hard Mode Turns 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' On Its Head

If you've been wanting to rekindle your 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' experience, you may want to try out the Hard Mode. Here's how to play it.

Anthony Jones - Author

Jan. 24 2023, Published 5:26 p.m. ET

'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'
Source: Nintendo

The Nintendo Switch social simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the fifth entry in the series. Players can live out a cozy getaway lifestyle on an island doing day-to-day activities and meeting new villagers. Because of this and its other niche qualities, New Horizons has been a massive hit with Switch users and pulls them in further with its quirky cast of anthropomorphic characters.

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Overall, the franchise has focused entirely on being a relaxing and casual playing experience, and that's no different for New Horizons. In an effort to spice things up, one fan has put together a "Hard Mode" for the game that makes everything more grounded and realistic. Here's how to play it.

'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'
Source: Nintendo
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How to play 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' in Hard Mode

YouTuber NintenTalk created this mode as a challenge to the New Horizons community. It's not an option you switch on during gameplay or a mod you have to download, but rather a new way of playing the game from the beginning.

Like Pokémon Nuzlockes, the creator proposed a range of rules across five categories, requiring players to follow limitations on restarting, villagers, dailies, designing, and economy.

In Hard Mode, if villagers choose to leave, players must allow it and will have to invite any campsite villager they may find. Players are also required to do daily stretching to obtain 2,000 Nook Miles as a daily challenge, and the rules mandate players donate their art, bugs, and fossils before selling them. In addition, players must design all of their clothes and change their outfits once a week.

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Probably the biggest challenge is the strict economic rules. Players can only farm four 3x3 crops that must get watered daily and be sold in bunches of threes at a Nook Deposit Box, which reduces your profit. There are even some restrictions on trading with other players that limits how many items a player can sell and the number of other players they can trade with and buy from.

According to NintenTalk, these rules should make players take their time with New Horizons rather than blowing through the experience. You can learn more about Hard Mode on the creator's Discord channel.

Even though Hard Mode has a lot of rules to follow, it has built a strong sense of community among the player base. In its own intriguing way, the mode breathes life into New Horizons and tries to bring back players for another go.

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