Animal Crossing: New Horizons

animal crossing new horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the eighth and most recent game of a popular social simulation game franchise for Nintendo video game systems. The Nintendo Switch version of the game comes with many of the same elements and characters fans of the franchise have grown to love (and hate) over the years. Released on March 20, 2020, the game became especially popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing players to simulate being outside and socializing with friends in neighbors in an era of social distancing and stay at home orders.

The first Animal Crossing game came out in 2001 in Japan for Nintendo 64 and was later updated and released for the GameCube system. In the next three years, versions for North America, Europe, and Australia were released. Animal Crossing: Wild World, a new version for the Nintendo DS released in 2005, introduced online play to the game series. Two more main versions of the game, Animal Crossing: City Folk (2008) and Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2012), followed for the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS, respectively. The series also includes spin-off games Happy Home Designer for Nintendo 3DS, Pocket Camp for mobile, and Amiibo Festival for Wii U.

How do you play 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'?

A common question among the uninitiated is "would I like Animal Crossing: New Horizons?" and the easiest answer is, if you like games with a lot of action, violence, and tension, you probably won't enjoy this game. But if first-person shooters and fighting games stress you out, Animal Crossing is probably more your speed. 

Players perform low-stakes tasks like planting flowers, chopping down trees, catching fish and bugs, and shopping for clothes and furniture in a colorful world populated by anthropomorphic animal characters. At the beginning of this version of the game, a Japanese raccoon dog, or tanuki, named Tom Nook sells you on an island vacation giveaway, whisking you and two other adventurers to a remote island that turns out to be... pretty rustic. As you advance in the game, Tom will encourage (some would say "gently extort") you to develop the island by building homes for potential new villagers, beautifying the landscape, and building businesses for the community.

Animal Crossing in-game characters:

In addition to the villagers you start with and those who eventually come to live on your island (which are randomly generated from over 300 potential villagers of various species and personality), there are several in-game characters every player will eventually encounter:

  • Tom Nook — A tanuki and the person behind your island adventure. He can be found in the large green tent in the plaza, which will eventually become the Residential Services building as your island evolves.
  • Timmy and Tommy Nook — Tom's nephews who help their uncle run the retail side of things and eventually open their own shop on the island, Nook's Cranny.
  • Blathers — An owl who opens a museum on the island where you will donate new specimens of fish, insects, and fossils found on the island
  • The Able Sisters  — Mabel, Sable, and Label / Labelle Able are hedgehogs with a tragic backstory. Two of the sisters, Mabel and Sable will first have a temporary stall and eventually a brick and mortar shop on the island, whereas their wayward sister Label, a fashion designer, will eventually visit to give you her "Label challenge."
  • Isabelle — A dog who eventually moves to the island once you expand your residential services tent to its own building. She handles general island announcements and residential affairs, while Tom focuses on construction and infrastructure changes.
  • Celeste — Blathers' sister, who visits whenever there is a meteor shower in your town. She teaches you how to get star fragments by wishing on shooting stars, and provides DIY recipes for using the fragments.
  • Flick — A chameleon who loves bugs. He will buy insects from you for twice the normal price and construct statues of bugs if you give him three of the same kind. He also hosts occasional Bug-Off bug-catching tournaments.
  • CJ — Flick's partner and friend, CJ runs the quarterly fishing tourney and also visits occasionally to buy fish at double price, issue fishing challenges, and sell fish statues made by Flick.
  • K.K. Slider — a dog and the most popular songwriter in the world as far as animals are concerned. His recordings are available to buy in the game and eventually, once your island is cool enough, he'll come to visit every week to play a concert in the plaza.
  • Orville and Wilbur — two dodos who operate Dodo Airlines, allowing you to visit random mystery island or visit your friends' islands and receive visitors through online or local play.
  • Kicks —A skunk who occasionally visits to sell shoes, bags, and accessories not available at Able Sisters.
  • Saharah — A camel who occasionally arrives to sell wallpaper, flooring, and rugs.
  • Daisy Mae — a runny-nosed piglet who sells turnips on Sunday on behalf of her grandmother, Sow Joan, who runs Sow Joan's Stalk Market.
  • Gulliver — A seagull who is constantly getting shipwrecked on your island and asking your help to find the scattered parts of his communicator so he can get in contact with his crew.
  • Wisp — an easily frightened ghost that will split into five pieces when you encounter him and ask you to collect and return his spirit pieces to him.
  • Leif — a sloth who will visit on Earth Day.


What is the point of 'Animal Crossing'? Does it end?

What is the point of any video game? But in all seriousness, the central point of gameplay is to build your island up to achieve a five-star rating, tend to the plants and wildlife, and generally see to it that all the villagers are happy. There is no true end to the game, even after you achieve a five-star rating. There is always something to do to improve your island or you can simply spend hours catching fish and releasing them back into the water if you like. It's low stakes, but very cute, very entertaining, and at times, oddly satisfying.


How do you chat in Animal Crossing?

While there is not a voice chat function on Nintendo Switch, players can type messages to their friends online, or they can use the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app to initiate voice chat or more easily type text messages to friends they're playing with online.

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    The Gemini Closet in ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ is super lovely, but the materials you need to make it are only available for a short time.
    By Abi Travis
  • how to trade villagers acnh
    Gaming

    Here's How to Trade Villagers on 'Animal Crossing' for Your Ideal Neighbors

    Wondering how to get your ideal ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ neighbors? Well, you’re not the only one! Here's how to trade villagers on ‘ACNH.’
    By Amber Garrett
  • redd
    Entertainment

    Everything You Need to Know About Redd's Visits to Your Island in 'Animal Crossing'

    An update to 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' brings Redd to your island, who sells fake paintings and new furniture. How to get Redd on your island.
    By Sara Belcher
  • animal crossing personalities
    Gaming

    A Handy Guide to All of the Personality Types in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'

    Each ‘Animal Crossing’ villager has one of eight distinct personality types. Here’s how to tell the difference between all of them.
    By Abi Travis
  • museum stamp rally animal crossing
    Gaming

    Everything to Know About the Museum Day Challenge on 'Animal Crossing'

    Here's everything you need to know about the museum stamp rally on 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' in honor of International Museum Day.
    By Amber Garrett
  • star fragments achn
    Gaming

    Here's Where You Can Get Those Gorgeous Star Fragment Trees in 'Animal Crossing'

    Star fragments are one of the harder materials to obtain in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons.' So where are people finding star fragment trees?
    By Sara Belcher
  • animal crossing new horizons kk songs
    Gaming

    What Are You Supposed to Do With All of K.K. Slider’s Songs in ‘Animal Crossing’?

    You can purchase one of K.K.’s songs every day from the Nook Stop, but what are you supposed to do with them after that? A guide to K.K. Slider songs.
    By Abi Travis
  • when do shooting stars happen acnh
    Gaming

    Here's Your Guide to Shooting Stars and Star Fragments in 'Animal Crossing'

    In order to get star fragments in ‘ACNH,’ you need to wish on shooting stars. But when do shooting stars happen (besides at night, obvs).
    By Abi Travis
  • do money trees regrow acnh
    Gaming

    Money Does Grow on Trees in 'Animal Crossing' — but How Often?

    Do money trees grow back on 'ACNH'? This helpful article answers that and a few other questions about plant life on ‘Animal Crossing.’
    By Amber Garrett
  • animal crossing duplication glitch
    Gaming

    The New Duplication Glitch in 'Animal Crossing' Totally Ruins the in-Game Economy

    ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ players have discovered yet another duplication glitch — and this one lets you dupe Nook Miles Tickets.
    By Abi Travis
  • how to kick out villager animal crossing
    Gaming

    No, Smacking Your 'Animal Crossing' Villagers With Your Net Won't Make Them Leave

    If you have a villager on your ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ island that you just can’t stand, don’t worry! Here’s how to kick them out.
    By Abi Travis
  • animal crossing catchphrases
    Gaming

    These Are the Best Villager Catchphrases on 'Animal Crossing'

    Some villagers' catchphrases on ‘Animal Crossing’ are inspired. Here are the best, and how you can change a catchphrase if you don't like it.
    By Amber Garrett
  • celebrities on animal crossing
    Entertainment

    These Celebs Are Totally Addicted to 'Animal Crossing' Right Now

    Celebrities — they're just like us! These celebrities on 'Animal Crossing' love playing the game almost as much as you do. See who’s playing.
    By Lizzy Rosenberg
  • when do scorpions come out acnh
    Gaming

    How to Get Scorpions on 'Animal Crossing' — and What They're Worth

    If you're playing 'Animal Crossing' and wondering when scorpions come out on 'ACNH', we have answers to that as well as how much they're worth.
    By Amber Garrett
  • animal crossing new horizons may bugs and fish
    Gaming

    A Handy Guide to All the New 'Animal Crossing' Fish and Bugs to Catch This May

    Grab your fishing pole and bug net — here are all of the new fish and bugs you can catch in ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ during the month of May.
    By Abi Travis
  • animal crossing characters ranked
    Gaming

    These Are the Most Desirable Villagers in 'Animal Crossing'

    With over 300 villagers to choose from, here are the best ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ villagers ranked in a top 10 based on social media feedback.
    By Amber Garrett
  • wisp animal crossing
    Gaming

    So, You've Helped Wisp on 'Animal Crossing' — Now What?

    If you've met Wisp on ‘Animal Crossing,’ you've probably wondered whether to choose something new or something expensive when he offers you a gift.
    By Amber Garrett
  • roverbc
    Gaming

    What's in Rover's Briefcase in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'?

    Wondering what's inside that intriguing Rover's Briefcase in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'? Here's how to get it and what can be found within.
    By Brittany Vincent
  • how to use bell voucher
    Gaming

    Did You Get Some Bell Vouchers on 'Animal Crossing'? Here's What to Do With Them

    Confused about how to use a bell voucher on ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’? Here's how to redeem the tickets for currency in the game.
    By Amber Garrett
  • animal crossing may day
    Entertainment

    How the May Day Ticket Works on 'Animal Crossing'

    The May Day ticket on ‘Animal Crossing’ is a special trip you can take during the game's 7-day May Day celebration. Here's how it works.
    By Amber Garrett
  • animal crossing celeste
    Entertainment

    What It Means When Celeste Visits You on 'Animal Crossing'

    A visit from Celeste on 'Animal Crossing' is great news for players who need star fragments. Here’s how often Blathers' sister visits your island
    By Amber Garrett
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