Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a great medicine for coronavirus

Colorful. Nice. Warm. Cheerful. Peaceful. Loosening. Animal Crossing: New Horizons could not debut at a better time. The title for Nintendo Switch is like a balm for pandemic and isolation concerns. It is a pity that the developers play below the belt.

What is Animal Crossing? Contrary to appearances, the game should not be compared to Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley. I made a separate text about the identity of this series, which I invite you to read. Here I will only write that the pillar of Animal Crossing is synchronization with time in the real world, and the gameplay is based on broadly understood development. Your relationship with the NPC, your home, your garden, even your bank account.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a game where I regularly fall asleep. This is not a complaint.

After finishing work and completing all household duties, I grab the Pro Controller, start New Horizons and ... feel somebody gently rock my arm. I closed my eyes again during the game. I swam away again while my virtual avatar was replanting tulips in the backyard garden. Instead of pumping adrenaline, Animal Crossing is like melatonin: it relaxes, relaxes and devours cortisol.

The game producer could be offended by the statement that I fall asleep by its title. However, for creators of Animal Crossing, it's like praise. The goal of the developers of this series has always been to relax and lighten up the player. Colorful binding, fairytale surround, calm music - nothing is accidental here. In Animal Crossing you won't find bars of life or falling bars of hunger and thirst. you can't lose here. There is no disaster or ruin here.

Examples of actions you can take at Animal Crossing:

  • Insect catching
  • Fishing
  • Planting / running gardens and orchards
  • Sale of goods
  • Purchase of goods
  • Creating items and tools
  • Home furnishings
  • Home decorating
  • Visiting friends' islands
  • Visiting NPC islands and random islands
  • Building houses and facilities
  • Harvesting
  • Conducting excavations
  • Expanding the museum collection
  • Strengthening relationships with residents

Animal Crossing has always been a safe oasis. Such a sanctuary of peace, to which you go after the toils and hardships of real life. New Horizons works exactly the same and I must admit that the game appeared at the perfect moment. Production for Switch is a great balm for stressful information that is bombarded by the media. For a pandemic, for an economic crisis, for all these bad stimuli that make me stomach upset.

The New Horizons subtitle refers to the expeditionary nature of the new version.

Unlike the previous parts, we do not join the community living on a farm or in a small town. Instead, we are establishing a completely new community, occupying one of the many small islands scattered across the ocean. Each such island is home to one player's kingdom and property. Friends can visit, help each other and play together, visiting their islands. Of course, if their owners feel like it.

In the above description I made a significant simplification. In fact, the owner of all islands is Nook Inc., with extremely effective businessman Tom Nook (badger) at the forefront. It is Mr. Nook who invites us to the island and he offers the loan to build a house on it. One of the goals of the game is debt repayment. However, whenever we are about to go straight, Tom Nook comes up with a new loan offer for the desired investment, e.g. house expansion.

Soulless or generous? A manipulator or opportunist? Tom Nook is unreadable. With his money new houses, shops, airports (!) And trade routes are created on the island. However, while Mr. Nook puts the currency on the table, dirty work belongs to us. As a leader of the local community, we acquire resources and build constructions that make our wild and exotic island more and more civilized. In turn, the more attractions on the island, there is a long queue willing to live.

Not everything at once, i.e. a world clock is a great idea for the game.

Animal Crossing's hallmark has always been the synchronization of time inside the game with time outside the window. If you reach for New Horizons at night, the island is dark and the shops are closed. You can then hunt for dangerous (and profitable) species, such as hairy tarantulas. In turn, during the day we will talk to other residents and use the store. There is no button in the game to speed up the passage of time. Lying down in your own bed also doesn't do much.

The world clock forces cyclical visits to the island. If we ordered a parcel with furniture for the home, it will not reach us until the next day. If we are expanding the room, the renovation will end only in 24 hours. The creators thus encourage you to regularly visit New Horizons. What's great, the 24-hour system makes it difficult to organize unhealthy marathons for several hours. The island has a number of activities to take. Sooner or later you will have to wait until the plants give new crops, construction sites are turned into finished buildings, and stores will receive new deliveries. Well, unless you want to spend four hours fishing. These players will definitely find themselves.

You can write that today the world clock is no big deal, because similar mechanisms are used by half of mobile games. Truth. However, Japanese developers came up with this idea when you played Snake and Tetris on your mobile, once. Two: the diurnal mechanism is not linked to any micro-transactions. In Animal Crossing you can't cheat * and you can't pimp an island for a handful of extra dollars. Everyone has an equal chance. When visiting a friend's island, we know that each spectacular structure is the result of his hard, systematic work.

* the only scam can be manipulating the date and time in the console's system settings

An hour a day, lying in bed or for morning coffee.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is not the title by which the nights fall. Adventures on the island taste best after an hour a day. The foundation of good fun is regularity and regular visits to the island. Initially, attractions are waiting for us almost every day. There is always something going on. The island has a new tenant, a museum is being built on it, the store is growing or we are dealing with a local celebration. There is a reason to come back to the title.

I must point out that New Horizons will only show its true potential. The game will have limited time events (the first - Easter - coming soon). In addition, the seasons will change. Along with them, new species of fish and insects to catch will appear on the island, as well as new plants and fruits to grow and collect. To this must be added side missions from the NPC character and the growing pool of neighboring story islands, which we visit when traveling by plane. You also can't forget about new projects, objects and furniture.

From this perspective, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is not a game to go in two days or even two weeks. We are talking about the title that accompanies us for years. One that must have regular delivery of new content. Will Nintendo rise to the challenge? Not known Given how great New Horizons sells around the world, this is quite likely.

Unfortunately, Nintendo plays below the waist, deciding to make a terrible move.

Well, in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the island is not assigned to the account, but directly to the console. For physical, tangible device. This means that we will not transfer our kingdom, which is being expanded for months, to another console. What's even worse, other people wanting to play our Switch cannot have their own islands!

If you have two children at home and each of them wants to start an adventure on their own island, the only solution is to have two Nintendo consoles. Creating two separate player accounts will be useless, as well as buying two cartridges. Player number two can only visit player's island number one. Fatal decision. In this way, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is almost unplayable in large families sharing Switch.

Why did Nintendo decide to do this? There are two reasons for this, each putting the company in a bad light. First of all, maybe the Japanese could not cope with the technical challenge of migrating islands between various consoles, accounts and the cloud. The second scenario assumes that Nintendo has deliberately limited the number of islands to one per device to force (mainly parents) the purchase of additional consoles. No matter what the truth, disgust remains.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons draws, but for the first game for Switch I would recommend a different title.

The latest Nintendo game is a positive, carefree stepping stone for 30 or 60 minutes a day. The title works great as a supplement to the classic game catalog. It is good, however, to have something else on hand after you have collected all the fruit and sold all the goods in the store. Although addictive, Animal Crossing may not be enough. Especially now, when many of us are sitting enclosed in four walls. You have to dispense this game. You have to enjoy it calmly.

However, in the context of other games in the series, we are undoubtedly a giant success. New Horizons is the second best edition in my private ranking. The game for Switch gives way only to the beloved New Leaf from the Nintendo 3DS console. The formula of a small town or charming village goes to me much more than a tropical island with tarantulas. I felt better as a mayor than Tom Nook's right hand.

The biggest advantages:

  • A cheerful, warm game just in time for the worries and problems of the world
  • The fantastic mechanism of the world clock
  • Not only creating, but also decorating items
  • Addictive, is a great addition to the game collection
  • Initially, each day surprises and brings something new
  • NookPhone!
  • Editing space not only indoors, but also outdoors
  • Technical improvements, including autosave

The biggest disadvantages:

  • Nintendo's fatal decision on one island per device
  • Too slow, even for Animal Crossing
  • Shallowing the relationship with the NPC
  • New Leaf had more magic, charm and interesting NPCs
  • However, the town seems more interesting than an empty island

I have no doubt that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a good game. However, I am somewhat surprised by the extremely optimistic reactions of some reviewers. Compared to the 2011 production for 3DS, New Horizons is not a revolution. On several levels we can even talk about a step backwards. Which doesn't change the fact that I can't refuse to return to my own island and I know that I will spend weeks with ACNH, not months of isolation. However, when I evaluate New Horizons in the broader context of the whole series, I don't see a hit worth a dozen here.

I fold more towards a solid eight with a plus.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a great medicine for coronavirus


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