“Animal Crossing” offers a little something for everyone

By Eric Martinez, Advocate Staff

From catching bugs to donating to a museum, and everything in between, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has a little something for everyone.

Commonly abbreviated as “ACNH,” in the latest titular game from Nintendo you play as a human villager who has recently moved to a deserted island. There, you, along with the help of a capitalist raccoon, begin from the ground up to establish a new island paradise.

Available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch, “ACNH” follows in a similar style to its predecessor, “New Leaf.” Players have free agency to build up their island in whatever manner they see fit, albeit with a little guidance from Tom Nook, the island’s main resident and owner of the company that sets up the foundation for this island retreat.

“ACNH,” for those unfamiliar with the series, is a life simulator type of game where the game mechanics and features are presented in a manner that can be easily understood by people with entry-level knowledge of video games. Rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) as E for everyone, “New Horizons” is available for people of all ages to enjoy with no restrictions.

Relative to most mainstream games, there is no violence present in “New Horizons,” unless you consider whacking someone with your bug-catching net as a violent act. The game offers a diverse ensemble of characters that make your stay on the island all the more enjoyable.

Tom Nook, the CEO of Nook Co., is the island’s main benefactor and your landlord who offers you upgrades to your home in exchange for taking out increasingly larger loans.

“New Horizons” lacks a traditional campaign when compared to most AAA titles, opting instead to track progression by the growth of the island relative to the number of villagers and the size of your home.

The game also runs in what is known as “real-time,” meaning the day and night cycle is reflective of the time you have set on your console. This feature would prevent any player from making substantial strides in a short time period, if it weren’t for the option on the console to move the internal clock forward by a day.

This loophole allows players to set the clock forward, mimicking moving forward a day in-game and giving them access to many of the game’s time-gated features. Despite this loophole, it does not negatively impact players who do not wish to skip forward in time as the game does not reward anyone any more, or less, based on the amount of time played.

Many of the activities players can partake in on the island are pretty standard to the franchise — they can catch bugs, fish, dig up fossils or just build a massive wardrobe. The game does not directly push them toward any one activity, but rather it makes use of a stamp book to track and keep a record of the number of activities they do or items they collect for any given task. This works similar to an achievement or record book.

Possibly the most exciting feature to be offered by “New Horizons” is the multiplayer. Although it is plagued by interruptive cut-scenes whenever someone visits a player’s island, the fact that players can connect with their friends in a world that is doing so much better than the one they’re presently trying to escape is truly a breath of fresh air.

Visiting a friend’s island can open your island to several possibilities. This could come in the form of acquiring a new type of fruit not native to your island that can be used as a source of revenue if planted and sold on your island. You could also find inspiration to create things on your island based on what your friends put up. Of course stealing is bad, so let’s just call it inspiration.

With “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” taking the world by storm it is no surprise the game has become as popular as it has. Whether or not it is an unlikely side effect of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, it is evident by its popularity that this game has brought many people closer together.

In order to flatten the curve, all you need to do is begin by putting down your tent and start the journey that is your new island life.