Animal Crossing: New Horizons is perhaps one of the most awaited games for the Nintendo Switch this year, especially for me. The recent Nintendo Direct has just further solidified my conviction in getting a copy on day one.
The game has its newer features and returning ones, albeit in its own way, from previous games. Most of which were shown at the said Nintendo Direct, which you can view in its entirety below:
Before we get to it, it must be said that sadly at launch, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will not be supported by the Save Data Cloud Backup feature. This means that if something happens to your save file, you pretty much have to start all over again. However, if data is lost because of console damage, Nintendo Switch Online members can recover their data only once. It doesn’t quite sound like a very friendly way of easing new players in, so we hope Nintendo will remedy this through future updates.
Nintendo has also confirmed that there will be free updates some of these will include seasonal events.
Let’s get to the things that were showcased at the Nintendo Direct.
Map and hemisphere selection
The first of these is one of the first things you do when you start the game, select the layout of the map. In New Horizons, you’ll not only get to pick the layout, but you’ll also get to pick which hemisphere of the world you’ll experience. The latter of which will basically just affect which season you’ll have in certain parts of the year.
An example of the hemisphere difference is that when you hit January the north will experience winter while the south will experience summer. It is mentioned that you will be able to experience all four seasons thus choosing which hemisphere will only be a matter of when you want the seasons in-game.
Developing and customizing
Continuing the topic on the island, we’ll get to grow and develop as we see fit. We’ll begin with tents for ourselves, the villagers, and the Resident Services Center. Eventually, we’ll be able to upgrade to houses (and expanding our own) along with upgrading the Resident Services to what looks like a Town Hall in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. In addition, we’ll be able to get a museum, the Able Sisters’ shop, and many more.
Part of the development includes planning out where houses go and making traversing the island easier (you know, like stairs or ramps). These will also be available in New Horizons.
As far as designing and customizing goes, it’s pretty much there still. They’ve also implemented the third person design mode for designing and redesigning your house, thankfully. I also am looking forward to crafting and customizing furniture and other things on my own.
Sure, I could’ve included this in the previous section but this feature deserves its own entry.
Perhaps the biggest addition and my personal favorite is the ability to change the layout of the island. This, however, looks like it’s going to be a “late game” feature. It does allow us to dig out the area to remove cliffs or add extra areas of land where water is located.
This will enable even more customization whether it be to flatten out an area or contour the waterways to fit our concept of what we want the area to look like.
Villagers and returning characters
Animal Crossing wouldn’t be complete without villagers and its cast of NPCs and this isn’t any different.
New Horizons had me question how characters like Isabelle or Kicks will be included in the game. I wasn’t disappointed though. We got to see Isabelle behind the desk in the upgraded Resident Services Center and Kicks set up a temporary shop in front of it. Other characters like the Able sisters, as I said earlier, will return through their shop. While characters like Celeste and Harvey will visit the island as tourists.
There will also be Amiibo support which means we’ll be able to use both the Amiibo and Amiibo cards we’ve used for previous Animal Crossing titles.
However, I’d want to know how K.K. Slider joins the game. Hopefully, through an open-air concert ground or amphitheater type of structure.
Island Tours is an intriguing feature that they showcased at the Direct. It allows travel to a ‘mystery’ island with a possible villager to meet or other materials and rare collectibles (bugs, plants, flowers, fish and the like).
These will be available by earning Nook Miles which are earned from completing tasks in-game. The Nook Miles can be used to purchase a variety of things but for Island Tours, a ticket is needed to get on the tour.
This may be handy for players that prefer to play alone in getting the different fruits that won’t be available initially among other things.
There may be those that prefer the solo experience but Animal Crossing is just one of those gems that are best played with friends or making new ones.
New Horizons allows up to eight players on one island at a given time. Yes, this does mean living on the island together. Living in one island unlocks the “Party Play” feature which lets up to four resident players to explore and develop the island in one go. All caught creatures or items will be placed in a shared recycle box at Resident Services.
One of the best additions in the visitation experience is that tools like axes and shovels have been forbidden unless you’re on a ‘Best Friend’s’ island. This saves the worry of people messing up your island.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is shaping up to be worth the wait and I can’t wait to put in many many hours developing my own island and my home. I can’t wait for March 20 and I’m pretty sure you can’t too.
Ram found his love and appreciation for writing in 2015 having started in the gaming and esports sphere for GG Network. He would then transition to focus more on the world of tech which has also began his journey into learning more about this world. That said though, he still has the mentality of "as long as it works" for his personal gadgets.