Game Review: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Riley Johansen | Design Editor

With most everyone cooped up in their homes waiting out the quarantine, there’s never been a better opportunity to escape from reality to your own private island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The long-awaited game definitely held up to the hype, and the series has only gotten better since the first game’s debut on the GameCube in 2001. 

Just like the fan-favorite franchise’s previous installments, New Horizons focuses on the goal of building a town from the ground up, and adds in beautiful improvements to the main structures in the game, such as Blathers’ Museum, which has transformed from a small, singular room to a massive building equipped with a wide-open butterfly house, an interactive fossil display, as well as an expansive aquarium lit with a calming blue light to showcase the wide variety of new species of fish added to the game, making it one of my favorite locations in the game. The increase in species available to collect in the game, especially the gigantic fish that are capable of being caught,along with watching some of my favorite villagers slowly return to the island, has revived my excitement in the series . I appreciate the addition of Nook miles, an in-game currency which allows you to easily pay off your starting home debt with the completion of island exploration challenges that keep you involved, excited and learning about the game while completing what was once a tedious, time-consuming task. 

With my home debt paid off and my town hall built, I have also found myself enjoying one of the newest features in the game, the multiple apps provided by the NookPhone you are given in the beginning of the game. My favorite of these? The custom designs app. Not only can you continue to improve your island, but you can do it in style with the opportunity to design many different styles of shirts, dresses, sweatshirts, and even cavasses and carpets to decorate your home with the purchase of the pro design pack, making your character more personal to you than ever. With a Nintendo Switch Online account, you are capable of using third- party websites such as to import real photos onto the custom designs app which you can then hang in your room or wear on a shirt in-game just by scanning a QR code. (As someone with a huge record collection in real life, I have taken it upon myself to attempt to scan my collection of album covers into canvases to hang on my wall in-game, and it’s going pretty well!) 

Overall, I have enjoyed this game in its beginning stages much more than New Leaf or others in the series.Nintendo has clearly listened to its fanbase by creating a much less demanding game that caters much more to the individual player while still maintaining Animal Crossing’s trademark simplistic and cartoonish feel. New Horizons provides plenty of unique experiences for players old and new, leaving me thankful that we have all the time in the world to discover it all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a Bunny Day celebration on my island I have to get to.