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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Review

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Animal Crossing New Horizons Review Official Version

At long last, Animal Crossing New Horizons has finally made its way on to the Nintendo Switch. For far too long feverish fans of the franchise have been itching to take the latest reboot for a test spin. And now, praise the high heavens, that moment has arrived.

As a much-loved and cherished IP, with loyal legions of fans spanning across the four corners of every continent, it is safe to say significant hype has surrounded Nintendo’s latest iteration of the timeless classic.

Over time, Animal Crossing, as a franchise, has amassed a significant cult community. So much so, the pressure to deliver laid firmly on Nintendo’s shoulders with the release of the recent reboot, Animal Crossing New Horizons.

So, the series can be spoken of in glittering terms, that much we know. But how does the most recent of reboots shape up all these years later? Well, despite a somewhat slow start, Nintendo has pulled out all the stops to enhance the player experience in all but every aspect.

And that is no easy feat.

From the never-ending source of collectables to salvage, to a wealth of customization options, never has it been this easy to immerse, and ultimately invest time in an Animal Crossing game.

Despite being many hours in, I have still barely found my footing. Such is the depth and scale of Animal Crossing. An overwhelming sense that never seems to cease. No matter how long the haul.

So, let us look at the most notable inclusions. Join us, as we take an in-depth look at Animal Crossing New Horizons.

Slow out the Blocks

Unlike previous games, Animal Crossing New Horizons takes a little while to kick into gear. Instead of stepping into a fully functioning city, with commerce at the peak of its powers and plenty of fun-loving animals to converse with, the beginning is somewhat baron. Meaning, there is little to symbolize civilization.

That is, aside from two resolute residents. Oh, and a charming racoon family. Away from city life with only the tranquil trappings of nature for company, you are tasked with building a village and its residents from scratch.

On the plus side, it is excellent that you can customize a fledgeling city to your heart’s content. And with that, watch it flourish over time. The one essential caveat being seven real-time days is a long period to kill. On top of that, this added length means that some of the basics are off-limits. At least initially.

Simple things like shopping, the museum, or even parts of the island, which require specific tools to access are restricted to the player early on.

After that, though, the game does pick up the pace. For me, it is a shame it takes so long to gather momentum. But once Animal Crossing New Horizons gets in the groove, it is an unstoppable and highly addictive force.

Customize to Your Hearts Content

By some distance, customization is the stand-out feature of Animal Crossing New Horizons. And that hard graft we mentioned previously pays off dividends later. As eventually, you will have all the tools necessary to conjure inspired creations. For instance, terraforming is a huge step forward for the series.

Now, nothing is off-limits. You can craft environmental features like cliffs, lakes, rivers and rolling hills. Contrary to that, you can as quickly build bridges to and from far-off places—all for greater accessibility.

The choice is ultimately up to you.

In truth, the ability to tinker with the terrain in such a way allows for far more freedom and flexibility. And that makes a massive amount of difference. Especially true when you can also place crafted items anywhere in the world. Both inside and outdoors.

On top of that, a new innovative tool allows you to place items with greater ease while making use of the 360-degree benefits.

All in all, it is so easy to whittle away the hours. In much the same way as Mario Maker. I do look forward to seeing what the community cooks up creation-wise in the coming weeks and months.

The Magic of Micromanagement

That brings us nicely onto the loop. By that, I mean the ongoing gameplay cycle. Each day I follow a strict, set pattern. I scout out new areas for fossil excavation, dabble in a bit of fishing, chat with the delightful residents of my village, hit up the high street, and manage an enormous amount of chores—those of which sadly never seem to subside.

But it does not stop there. The new Nook Miles system serves as a sort of daily tick list for a plethora of side quests and additional duties. These jobs range from catching various fish species to more mundane moments like watering the daffodils.

Still, these act as a refreshing change of pace. Thus, offering up exotic items and inventory upgrades upon the completion of each quest. Granted, some of it is tedious. And at times, these extracurricular activities feel more like a grind than anything else. But it does give ample opportunity to explore more of the enveloping world around you.

Charming Characters

An Animal Crossing game would not be the same without its cute and cuddly cast of characters. And thankfully, these are on full display in the latest reboot. Not only are the different animal breeds charming on a visual front, lovingly recreated for the Switch. But they also have a wide array of adorable personality traits. These perfectly compliment with a varied host of interactions.

Those of which almost always come across as cute and endearing. There is even the option to pick up new animal recruits from a nearby island should you wish. 

Final Verdict

All in all, Animal Crossing New Horizons is a breath of fresh air. Sure, it may not do a massive amount to innovate beyond creative aspects. Add to that, the fact it does take some time to get going. Even so, there is no denying the addictiveness of its gameplay loop.

It is so easy to become lost in that loop that you will happily spend significant hours in this charming social simulator. In short, Nintendo has pulled-off a fully-featured, and polished reboot. And one that will sit well not only with fans but with fresh start-ups too.

Incredibly addictive, crammed-packed full of features, and lovingly crafted. A significant victory for the Nintendo Switch.

What are your initial impressions? Does Animal Crossing New Horizons match your expectations, or is it massively overhyped? We want to hear your suggestion in the comments. 

Robbie is an experienced writer and lifelong gaming enthusiast, with a particular affinity for retro games. When he's not reviewing the latest releases, Robbie is most likely replaying MGS or Ocarina of Time for the 1000th attempt.

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