Review: “Animal Crossing” a great way to pass the time

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Cassidy Conklin, Staff Writer

During this unique time, it may be hard to find a sense of accomplishment or something you are able to do consistently without feeling a sense of burden as well. “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is the latest game in the “Animal Crossing” series and a way to keep yourself busy and entertained while social distancing. 

“Animal Crossing” is a series made by Nintendo in 2001 and was brought to America in 2002. It has been well-received over the years, being awarded titles such as Innovation in Console Gaming, Outstanding Achievement in Game Design, and Game of the Year, among others. 

The player is given a chance to design their own character who arrives on a deserted island with anthropomorphic animals who they can interact with. Players are given the title of Resident Representative and are tasked with making the island better for themselves and helping the neighbors. As you play, you are given different goals to complete in order to improve your island and earn money in the form of bells and Nook Miles. Both of which can be used to upgrade your house, or buy new tools, furniture, or clothes. You’re encouraged to design new clothes or aspects to your island and rewarded for it, and you can share or take designs from other players that offer it as well. The game has some story elements that help guide you and unlock new tools and options as you play, but overall it is an open-ended game that lets you play at your own pace. Along with this, the game is set around real-time, so the game will be set to the same schedule you are. 

Though the game does not look realistic, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has good graphics and the colors surrounding you are bright and cheerful. Your neighbors are always happy to talk and even offer you gifts on multiple occasions if you’re kind to them. Along with forming relationships and interacting with residents on your island, you can complete Nook Goals which help you progress the story over time and award you with Nook Miles, giving you a feeling of accomplishment whenever you complete a small goal. Those Nook Miles can be used to go on Mystery Island Tours where you can meet new animals or find some fruit that you wouldn’t have on your island. 

The gameplay is not very thrilling, so I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who only likes action games, but it allows you to spend however long you want to play at a time. There isn’t much you can do in a day concerning story elements but you can spend as much time as you want fishing, catching bugs, or looking for fossils to add to the island’s museum. Although the use of tools can sometimes be hard to control, overall the movement in the game is good and easy to control. There are also new events being added to the game often, so new items and characters come and go as time progresses in-game and real-life keeping you interested. There are also other animals that come to your island looking to sell you things that are not always easily accessible or give you a chance to make more money in different ways.

Some problems arise concerning some aspects of the game. Some people look forward to visiting friends’ islands as they progress and sharing different items that one person might not have and it was revealed that you could do that. However, both players either need to be close to each other or have a Nintendo Online membership which you need to pay for. Obviously, at this time, many people cannot be close enough to use local play and while the membership may not affect some people, it’s an added cost on top of the game’s $60 price.

There’s also the fact that finding new items on Mystery Island Tours and collecting rare fossils and fish are really based on luck and you can find them easily or almost never get what you’re looking for. Especially in the case of fruit, which you can only get on tours or from friends if you have Nintendo Online. Finding these items is another objective in the game which may not be completed hours after grinding in the game. Another problem has been that while you can play on multiple accounts on the same Nintendo Switch, only one person can play the role of Resident Representative as all accounts share an island which can lead to arguments of the layout of houses and the island itself. The real-time aspect of the game also has its negatives as some things that are only available at certain times of day or night making them hard to get for some people. 

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is a great game to play when you have downtime or want to relax, it allows you to show off your creativity in a fun way while working for it. And, even though the wait can be frustrating at times, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and encourages patience. The game wants you to take your time and try your best to keep up with your island and talk to your neighbors. It’s a good way to show others what you can make if you spend a lot of time and effort on something and inspire others on their own islands too. Even if you can’t play with others it’s encouraging to see what you can do inside of the limits of the game. It’s been a great way to pass the time during quarantine and has given me something to focus on when schoolwork is done. This game would be good for players who want to take their time and add their own spin to their home and like to be around calm and friendly energy.