How are you coping with the Coronavirus quarantine? Well, you may be escaping your confinement by embarking on a deserted island adventure involving bug-catching, fishing and getting into hundreds of thousands of “bells” in debt to a capitalist genius raccoon.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons, released on March 21 on the Nintendo Switch, marks the fourth installment in the Animal Crossing series that began in 2001 on the Nintendo Gamecube.
New Horizons puts you in the shoes of a custom-made villager as you embark on an adventure to turn a deserted island into a bustling village. The game consists of its traditional open-ended gameplay. Players have no defined objectives but are instead encouraged to spend time in their villages performing a number of different activities. These can range from fishing, bug-catching, flower picking, gathering materials for crafting, customizing clothing and other items, and it even involves creating new items to place around the world.
Animal Crossing is known for its diverse cast of anthropomorphic animals that make up the other residents and visitors to your town. New Horizons is no different. It features many familiar faces from the previous installments as well as some new ones for a total of 391 possible different residents. Nearly every animal you can think of is represented in some shape or form. From Clay — a lazy hamster in a luchador costume with a feverish predilection for snack foods — to the hyperactive anteater Antonio, whose impassioned interest for sports and bodybuilding occasionally comes off as egotistical and dense. The ensemble of characters is incredible. However, none of the residents are as important as the charming and friendly raccoon by the name of Mr. Tom Nook, the financial benefactor and de-facto guide for your island excursion.
Financing your adventure to the island, he sets you up with a tent and a few essential items in order to begin your new life. Unfortunately, these items are not free, and you soon find yourself in his debt. But have no fear, Mr. Nook allows you to pay off your debt at your own pace. In fact, he encourages you to explore and play in any way you like. Once you pay off your initial debt, by selling bugs, fish, or nearly anything for that matter to his sons Tommy and Timmy, you are able to expand the island more. Eventually building a museum, a clothing store and even your very own house that you can upgrade with multiple rooms and a nearly infinite number of items and aesthetics.
Despite being on a deserted island, you are not alone. New Horizons supports online play, as well as a brand new feature, couch co-op. Players can use an island code to invite friends to visit their island or use the other Switch controller to play together on the same console. When on the island together players can share items from their inventory, craft special items for each other and go on other adventures.
Additionally, the islands will experience a dynamic weather feature that affects them in different ways, revealing new and special creatures to catch. Seasons and time of day mirror the real world, with different fishes and bugs available during different months of the year, as well as certain events on the island happening concurrently with the real world. The Bunny Day event is fast approaching, it mirrors Easter and involves catching and hiding eggs for you and your residents to find and share, and special items only available during the event.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available from retailers worldwide or online as a digital download. What better place to spend quarantine than in a deserted island!
Ian Anzlowar is a Staff Writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.