Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Review of the debut title on Nintendo Switch

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
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In a period like this, where the obligation - both moral and non-moral - provides for us to stay at home as much as possible, even if little protected from the media bombardment that occurs outside the world, a game like Animal Crossing: New Horizons it can really be a godsend. While it remains true that it is still a brand that belongs to a genre that not everyone can like it, the new chapter launched on Nintendo Switch has not diminished at all what were the expectations of the players and critics left in anxious waiting.

And although it remains at the same time difficult to explain in words how fun, rich and exciting this fledgling generation of the classic Nintendo IP (just try it allows you to understand, or rather to "feel" fully what we are talking about), we will try as much as possible to convince you of why and how Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a title not to be missed.

Welcome back, Tom Nook!

We are certainly aware of this, and it is not at all unusual as a situation: those who have never experienced the charm of Animal Crossing, they get a little positive idea of ​​the saga; or at least, they remain perplexed and skeptical in front of his undeniable success. And in fact, what we also do in New Horizons is what we have always done up to now: going up and down around a small piece of land, weeding here and there, picking flowers, fruit, catching insects. ... and even get stung, by those repulsive monsters. And then, to furnish the house, to maintain an exchange of letters between distant friends and make friends with a whole series of funny little animals that populate the area. Ah yes, and pay the debts to the underhanded Tom nook; to that crafty raccoon Toom Nook; to that dear, old, irreproachable Tom Nook bitch.

This traffic of simple but never trivial activities makes the new Animal Crossing therapeutic like its other predecessors. Because yes, if there is one quality that is impossible to deny in this long-lived saga, it is precisely the fact of being able to relax, to take you to a distant world where no one, apart from you, can interfere. We had already said, after all, as it always has been a series that asks you to slow down your rhythms, to set aside the frenzy of "real" time, giving you, and only you, the task of finally managing your rhythms at will.

The same undeniable quality, the same captivating mood, persists then also in this New Horizons where indeed, the playful experience is perhaps even more rewarding than it has ever been before. After all, if in previous games we have always been catapulted into a pre-built village complete with houses and services, on Switch we are called to start an adventure from nothing, step by step to build a living and prosperous community starting entirely from scratch.

A desert island, a growing world

Ticket? Taken. Hand luggage? Umh no, it won't help. Food? Maybe later. Ok, we are ready for boarding. Where are we headed this time? Ah though, an 'desert island. Not a bad choice! Tom Nook's idea is very simple, but it has great potential: to send new candidates "islanders”To colonize some pristine islands and thus expand his real estate empire. What better time to throw yourself into a new adventure? But yes, at the beginning there is not much on the island we have chosen - in none of those that are proposed to us, actually - but the beauty is just that: in the small atoll they will appear a yellow curtain (three, if we also consider those of the other two traveling companions), a airport to access multiplayer options and a service camp for the sale of goods and the manufacture of objects.

Apart from trees, cliffs, rocks and anything else that is naturalistic, this is all. And by the way, it won't even be possible to access all areas of the island at the beginning. We will need some instruments details to be able to do so. The goal of the game, however, is transform this desert island of ours into something bigger and more interesting from a residential point of view.

How to do it? Simple, just live normally, as we have always done. And then we will begin to catch insects quatti quatti, in the hope of not getting stung; we will go fishing plaice (the females of the plato!), squid and sole; we will spend time a decoration first our tent, then its mega-evolution - a brick house, of course -, we will commit ourselves to collect wood, digging holes discovering fossils or bags of glittering money; we will learn to chisel stones looking for minerals, and so on. The whole, earning money reselling our rich loot and earning the Miles of Nook by completing mini-missions within the game.

And this is perhaps the most interesting introduction of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. At the beginning of the game, in fact, Tom Nook will give us (together with the basic kit with the tent) also one smartphone - called incidentally NookPhone - with several apps inside. Among these, there is the one dedicated to Nook Miles, which basically allows us to earn points, called miles, by carrying out normal daily activities. Miles can be redeemed for pay off the initial debt, as well as unlocking DIY items, clothing, and patterns. Also, just like airline services, miles can be redeemed for buy coupons valid to travel to other nearby islands, and are also accumulated by dint of fluttering around.

To get Miles, in general, you can complete fixed goals, or dedicate yourself to the daily ones that change from time to time and at the beginning offer an extra bonus. Also log in regularly every day to the Point Nook lets get some little extra. This, then, will stimulate us to always do something, every day. In any case, even Tom Nook himself will entrust us with tasks regularly: tasks that, once completed, will allow us to obtain interesting rewards and regularly enrich our beautiful island with dedicated facilities (museum e shops, for example) or private houses. After all, there will not be only 3 of us on the desert island: beyond the visits of friends, in fact, some pets may think of coming to visit our heavenly kingdom and even settle there. Others, on the other hand, will be “fixed” but casual encounters - like Spirid e Gulliver - and that in their own way they will reward us properly.

Do-it-yourself and personalization at the highest level

However, the Miles earning system is not the only major change introduced in the title. New Horizons also introduces the crafting, which allows you to collect the various natural resources available on our island, as well as in the others that can be visited, for build tools and other items. To achieve what we will need it will first be necessary to collect the do-it-yourself schemes, which will be inserted in the appropriate app of our NookPhone. From the essential tools, such as the fishing rod, the net, the shovel or the ladder, up to the furniture to furnish our homes and our gardens: everything can be built on this island, and anything can be custom at will with motifs that, even in this case, can be modified or invented directly from scratch. Happy Home Designer makes itself felt in this sense, because much has been taken over - to the delight of the "wannabe interior decorators"- from the nice spin-off of 2015.

Continuing with the game, and therefore being careful to complete the various missions assigned to us by Tom Nook and beyond, we will be able to expand the levels of customization up to the whole island: change i rivers, waterfalls, cliffs, adding ponti, shops, and whatnot, it will become child's play. And thanks to this high customization power, the island will truly become "ours". A rewarding experience, as we really started from the bottom, with a yellow tent placed on the beach or in the middle of the weeds, at the mercy of killer tarantulas.


But life in Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn't just what we live in our delightful atoll. In fact, by taking advantage of the Nook Miles, it is possible to take part in shipments to other nearby islands, all to be explored and "plunder”Of animals, fruit, flowers, and natural resources that can be useful to us to continue building our mini island empire. Furthermore, if you are lucky, you can come across mysterious islands that show off rare fruits or flowers, which we could then think of replanting in our atoll when we decide to return home. This is an excellent trick for those who do not intend to take advantage of the multiplayer mode of the game, especially since even in these expeditions we will be able to meet new pets who will be happy to move to our island.

For those who like to spend time with their friends, the title offers two multiplayer mode: locally and online. With a limited number up to 8 players per island, you can then decide to open the gates of our abode - or possibly to set up a secret DODO code to share only with close friends - to receive visits, even unexpected ones, and have fun together with many activities. It can be done party, you can arrange a rich one treasure hunt, do a concertino in the square, a bonfire on the beach at night; you can spend your time fishing peacefully along the banks of the river, take a healthy cultural walk at the museum or go for a pancake hunting for fierce tarantulas. The limit, in Animal Crossing, it becomes only the fantasy of the players!

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