Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Review

by M. Handcock

***** 5 Stars

‘This game really is for everyone – and if you have a Nintendo switch, or are looking for a reason to purchase one, I  would implore you to play this masterpiece of a game that simply melts away the endless hours of isolation.’

Synopsis: Are you sick and tired of everyday life? Work … I mean, isolation got you down? Well, why not drop everything and move to a deserted island? Thanks to Nook Corporation’s ‘Island Getaway’ package, you can ditch your drab mainland life and begin anew on a tropical paradise. Here you can build your own houses, invite villagers to come and live with you, grow fruit trees, and basically create your dream island – all overseen by Tom Nook and Isabelle of course.

Since downloading the game one late night in quarantine, it is easy to say that Animal Crossing has taken over my life.

Though there have been 4 previous games, this is the first I have ever had the privilege to play and it has been somewhat of an experience. The game has quite a slow start – after you arrive on your island with your two new neighbours, not much can be done except clearing up the island and a few crafts. Fortunately, after you convince 3 new villagers to move in, the story begins to pick up a bit and tasks begin to fly at you: building, collecting, crafting. Creating the perfect island paradise is much harder and more expensive than you may think – especially with Tom Nook constantly on your tail for debt repayments! After about 3 days of game-play (or in my case 20 hours nonstop), it’s easy to pick up the controls and daily routine of the game – say hi to your villagers (or they’ll hate you), water your flowers (or they’ll die), pay off your loan (or Tom Nook will have you evicted).

Animal Crossing is one of the most relaxing games I have ever played, yet also one of the most frustrating – especially when it comes to the requirements to progress the story. In order to ‘finish the game’ (I say finish, you are never really finished) your island must achieve a 3-star rating to attract hit musician K. K. Slider for an exclusive performance. Trying to achieve 3 stars took me days, to say the least. I spent ages pruning gardens of beautiful flowers and thousands of bells (the in-game currency) on upgrading and relocating buildings to their prime location and condition – yet – it was still not good enough for the residents (who, might I say, never ever help out!). Finally, however, my island’s rating was bumped to three stars and the very next day, the one and only K. K. Slider was performing in my town square. Though the credits roll here, the Island’s story is just beginning as now you have the option to terraform your island, create paths, decorate with custom designs, and ultimately live your best virtual life.

One of my favourite parts of the game is the online aspect. During these strange times, the online community for Animal Crossing has brought me some joy through custom designs, generous gifts of craft recipes and fruit, and visits to each other’s islands. Through the simple visit and chat services, I’m able to connect with my friends through the internet and see what they’ve been up to  – or what questionable landscaping choices they’ve made.

Due to the relaxed nature and freedom to create and customise however you see fit, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a perfect game for all creative minds. The endless bounty of bugs and fish, furniture, and clothes inspire the collectors among us, and the community spirit of the game pleases our socialite friends. This game really is for everyone – and if you have a Nintendo switch, or are looking for a reason to purchase one, I  would implore you to play this masterpiece of a game that simply melts away the endless hours of isolation.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is currently available on Nintendo Switch and was rated PEGI 3 (meaning it is suitable for anyone over the age of 3)

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