Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Review
Follow Genre: Social Simulation
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Atmosphere, Upgrades, Different 'story'
Bad: No option to turn your camera view, Storage not included when crafting
User Score
9.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

It has been too long since a real Animal Crossing experience was released. Since 2013 we had to make do with Happy Home Designer on 3DS and Amiibo Festival on Wii U. These last two games were spin-offs and did have a certain Animal Crossing charm, but they never came close to the real deal. When Nintendo announced New Horizons for the Switch, we reckon a lot of fans of the series were stoked. The franchise that unites young and old has now reached our doorstep, and with our tools in our hands, we were ready to visit stranger tides on our deserted island.

Story

Unlike the other Animal Crossing games, you don’t arrive in a new town to happily become the mayor of a small town. This time, you’ve joined a project to make a deserted island a thriving community. You are by no means the leader of the community, but you take the helm when it comes to developing projects, making sure a shop opens, helping to fill the museum with pretty exhibits and so on. As always, there is no real story, except for the digital friendships you make, build up your island into something beautiful and simply relax and blow off some steam by performing tasks you would never do in digital life because they are too tedious. Nonetheless, the charm of the game has you pulling weeds for days, while redecorating your house.

Graphics

New Horizons’ art style is very similar to the previous entry of the series, albeit with less rough edges. The game still looks very recognizable, albeit with a few graphical upgrades. The island truly feels alive, with the wind blowing through the leaves, proper water effects and many new decorations for your house. The museum also received a significant upgrade, and it looks mighty impressive when strolling through the halls that are filled with your contributions. Other islands look unique as well, and there are many cosmetic options for you to tinker around with. Overall, even with the game’s forgivable cute style, the game does look impressively designed. Many hand motions are also better handled than, for example, the last Pokémon game, when passing on an item to another character. While characters still don’t make proper physical contact, items are properly handed from one character to another, which makes things a tad more believable.

Sound

The sound design is still pretty much the same as the old entries. All characters in the Animal Crossing universe use some sort of mumble-speak, which sounds fairly adorable. Other than that, you have small sound effects that accompany every action, and there’s a constant tranquil accompaniment of music throughout the different periods of the day. The soundtrack is fairly simple, but it elevates what is going on.

Gameplay

Animal Crossing: New Horizons calls itself a Social Simulation game, and this is an adequate depiction of what the game is all about. From the moment you arrive at the island of your choosing, you’ll be gathering resources, helping the island get started by aiding in the construction of the shop, museum, new houses, all while expanding your social reach with the new inhabitants, and those on other islands. Overall, the game is a stress-free experience, as there are no real-time restraints for every goal the game sets for you. Need to pay off a loan? No worries – take your time. Need to gather resources? No worries – take as long as you want to. This is pretty much the basic thought behind the game, as it serves a relaxing purpose, rather than one that gets the blood pumping.

As stated above, the game’s offset is simple. You are not restricted to your own island, however. In this iteration of the series, you can redeem Nook Miles, which are given to you for completing tasks. With this reward program, you can opt to buy goods, but also Nook Miles Tickets, which allow you to visit tiny islands, with other resources and a free-roaming character. You can invite this character to come live on your island, which is a nice touch. Other than that, you can visit other players, or be visited. As the game progresses you also get other options as well.

The game’s goal is pretty much to make a thriving island community. This happens thanks to your efforts, and as you make progress, you can buy more and more cosmetic items for your house, more animals will visit your island, many also offering you goods and items, and so on. The game is a real casual enjoyment for many different age groups, but the overall concept remains fairly simple: work on gathering resources, building the community, all while visiting other players and islands, or having visitors yourself.

Only two things in New Horizons feel a lot more tedious than they should be. When roaming outside, there is no option to turn your camera view, you can slightly tilt the view, but that’s all there is. The second annoyance is that, during crafting, you can’t access your resources in storage. This means you always have to pick up the resources you need for your crafting and have them on you.

Conclusion

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a stellar new entry in the series, and just might be the game everyone has been waiting for. We had to admit, the game’s release couldn’t be timed any better with all the chaos in the world right now. The game offers a relaxing experience that will keep you going for quite some time. While the game improves on certain older aspects of the franchise, it’s somewhat the experience many fans of the series expected and will receive. The new story of you having to kickstart an island, rather than become mayor once again, is also a fresh breath of air. Those unfamiliar with the genre should be wary if they’re not a fan of games in which you have to grind for money and materials.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.