New Animal Crossing game opens new horizons for the series

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Photo by Creative Commons

Written By Mya Burns, Digital Editor

The moment we’ve all been waiting for finally came: the new “Animal Crossing” game for the Nintendo Switch was released on March 20.

The new game, “Animal Crossing New Horizons,” takes place on a deserted island. You arrive on the island and put up your tent, and you begin your island life under the guidance of Tom Nook and his associates, Timmy and Tommy Nook. There are a lot of new additions in this game that did not appear in previous games and a lot of classics that were brought back from previous renditions.

One of the major improvements from the previous games is, of course, the graphics. The sunsets are amazing, and the water looks incredibly realistic. You can even see the texture of Tom Nook and the rest of the villagers. This new game did a great job of keeping design specs from older games while improving other qualities.

Speaking of older games, this game brought back a lot of great features and incorporated them seamlessly into the new island format. Some of those things include the museum, the shop and special visitors like Gulliver and Sahara.

The museum is one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable parts of the “Animal Crossing” games. You get to donate fish, flowers and fossils (oh my!) that you collect in your adventures. The new graphics combined with the design of the museum are gorgeous. All of the exhibits are beautifully created, and it makes you want to donate to see the installations expand. The museum curator, Blathers, has been a constant in the franchise, and it’s no different in this game. He’s known for his long speeches about the specimens you donate, and he definitely lives up to his name. In “New Horizons,” you have the ability to skip past his information about whatever you’re donating. It’s hard to actually choose that option, though, because when you do, Blathers has a hard time hiding his disappointment.

There are also new additions that are welcomed with open arms by the community. Since you’re on an island, one of the biggest changes is you’re able to redeem “Nook Miles” for tickets to other islands. The ability to visit friends isn’t a new feature, but in “New Horizons” you’re able to buy a ticket to a neighboring deserted island. Here, you’re able to collect more materials in order to craft items or things like fish and fruit to sell back home. This feature comes in handy when you’re trying to collect wood, stone, iron or another material to craft with when you’ve depleted your island’s supply for the day.

Speaking of crafting, that’s a feature that’s both new and returning. In “New Leaf,” the version for the Nintendo DS, characters named Reese and Cyrus have a store where you can customize and craft new furniture. This feature also shows up in the mobile game “Pocket Camp.” However, crafting has never been integrated into the gameplay of an “Animal Crossing” game as much as it is in “New Horizons.” You craft all of your tools, as well as furniture and other useful items. One thing that gets irritating about the new tool crafting system is the tools you craft eventually break. This can become frustrating when you’re trying to gather a lot of materials at the same time and you have to keep crafting new tools. It also gets frustrating when you head to a deserted island and a tool breaks, causing you to have to buy or craft a new one. There’s no way to know when your tool is going to break and carrying a backup takes valuable pocket space.

There are some new tools that show up in “New Horizons” that alter the gameplay. You can use a vaulting pole to jump over rivers and a ladder to climb up cliffs. These are items that might shock long-time players. Rivers and cliffs used to be insurmountable obstacles, and these changes in the new game are refreshing.

Overall, this new game definitely lives up to the hype that ascended over the past few months. It’s different enough from previous games to keep the player engaged, but still maintains the nostalgia associated with “Animal Crossing.” This game has provided lots of people with an escape during these weird times and a distraction from it all while we’re stuck inside.