Animal Crossing: New Horizons Review

"The Great Getaway"


March 22, 2020 at 9:17pm
By Jason Stettner

This is the long awaited true continuation to the Animal Crossing series for the console side of Nintendo platforms. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here and the wait was definitely worth it.

If you’re not familiar with the series you’ll be going around generally collecting things and then paying off you debt to expand properties. It’s the circle of life in Animal Crossing, and one that’s been expanded upon with this release.

It’s once again about doing so many busy type tasks, and while that might not sound exciting it’s such a great time killer that you don’t want to put down.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Review Switch Wallpaper Screenshot
There’s a lot to do, and if you’re done for the day you can either wait real time to continue or skip ahead days in the console time settings. The latter might be considered cheating, but it keeps the fun going. That is an aspect of the game that I do have problems with, is the time locking. A mechanic that was interesting at a time, but looking at it from my current age I don’t care for it as it delays my enjoyment.

I also dislike that holidays are tied to online updates as this might make us miss those special days, or they might disappear assuming updates eventually end for the game. Not a cool move honestly. That aside, there’s so much packed into this game. There are special events outside of what I mentioned, many travelling characters a wide range of tasks. You’re always trying to earn Bells for a better house, and to donate items to build up this island getaway. On top of that, are Nook Miles which reward you in new ways. You’re always collecting, re-investing and just spending countless hours playing this game.

It really can be a joy spread over days, or played all at once if that’s your style. This is also an experience you don’t have to have alone, travel to meet friends or even visit other islands with a special ticket to collect its resources. A dark mechanic where you ravage some poor exotic place for everything it has, somewhat funny. It’s not as lonely as it once was, and it’s great to connect online or locally.

I do wish that this aspect was faster however, it’s quite tedious and you might not even have friends available to join. That’s another aspect, the chatting is just too slow and I’m not that interested in waiting these days for the characters to blabber on. I do have one additional complaint, and that’s the lack of multiple account options, we all have to play on a single character which sucks for those with family members.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch


There are many activities and things you can do with an expanded series of traversal options. You can go about collecting bugs with nets, picking up seashells by the seashore. There’s also digging holes with shovels to plant stuff or collect things. You might find fossils or buried Bells.

Use an axe to collect wood, dispense liquid with the watering can or use a fishing rod to reel in some fish. For moving, jump over water with a vaulting pole or throw down a ladder to climb to a new spot. They’ve really advanced how you move, and the quick selection tool is great despite an awkward selection control setup.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of your tools breaking down, but I suppose that’s something extra to do in this. With everything you gather, you can sell it for Bells or donate things. Build a glorious museum collection, or perhaps gather resources to help the community get access to a new building. They have many structures that you can contribute to, and that in itself makes things easier for you to play.

Meet your neighbors and pay back the Tom Nook crew for your house to get that cooler upgrade. The houses also have an incredible layering of development options to them, along with outside selections too for editing that part of the world. It’s quite impressive mechanics wise, it might just take awhile to get there depending on how you play it.

The world is quite amazing, there are so many types of trees to collect and things to do as you play. The island is expansive, but honestly I felt it could have been larger. I believe its setup this was to keep the loading to a minimal. In general the visuals are clean, and it looks great whether you’re using it docked or undocked. I didn’t notice any performance issues, and it was a flawless experience when it comes to technical elements.

The added complexity and density really doesn’t seem to alter how things are running. I did wish that connecting to others was faster, or even travelling in general as it’s a bit of a pain wait time wise. It would have been better to also be able to venture to other worlds if a friend is offline, to see what they’ve been doing.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch Review

The Conclusion

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the sequel I’ve been waiting for, providing countless hours of gameplay and being a near perfect experience. It’s definitely been modernized, while retaining that classic style of play that has become so iconic. I’m not sure why it took them so long for this to release, as the series has been sparse releases wise but I’m so happy to be playing it once again. It’s something that anyone can easily enjoy, and just sink hours or days into.

It has a rewarding system in place, and so many interesting new mechanics to learn. They’ve gone deep in regards to enhancing the experience and adding more to it. It’s just general improvements to the overall core design while not really altering things. That being said, some elements could have been better to become less annoying.

I also would have liked more space to play within, the island does feel limiting after awhile. That’s a lot of the elements that hold this back from perfection, the slowdowns that don’t at all feel necessary. Still, it’s just an absolutely lovely time that I’ve put more hours into than I will ever care to admit. This is most certainly one of the defining games of the Nintendo Switch, perhaps the best I’ve played on the platform by far.

Read our Untitled Goose Game Review
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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Review on Nintendo Switch

Rating Overall: 9.5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner