Saturday, 20 March 2021

Animal Crossing: New Horizons | First Impressions

Hello everyone! Today is the one-year anniversary of the super cute Nintendo game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so I thought what better day than today to finally share my long-awaited first impressions review of the game! It's taken me so long to write about the fifth edition to the the Animal Crossing franchise, because playing it has gradually taken over my life, haha!! I'm late to the game and I'm sure as heck making up for it. Go hard or go home? Although, play hard and stay home seems more appropriate nowadays :D Anyhow, if you follow me over on social media, you will likely have seen that for Christmas, my sister got herself a Nintendo Switch, plus surprised me with the AC:NH game! And I am OBSESSED. For fellow fans of this absolutely adorable game, or those of you who have witnessed the hype and been unsure whether or not to join in, here are my opinions. I hope you all enjoy reading!

So, I currently don't have a Switch of my own and thus I've been playing AC:NH via my sister's game (after we discovered you could only have a one island per console! Cheeky Nintendo... gone are the days of buying shared consoles for your kids, I guess?), but yeah, this means that I'm not the 'resident representative' on the island and therefore don't get the 'perks' that come along with that. I have had a go at playing as my sister's islander though, so I know what you can do. I am currently saving for my own Nintendo Switch, and then I'll finally be ready to experience the interactive elements of New Horizons, such as visiting with friends. But my review is of the game options themselves and it doesn't really matter that my islander has not done any travelling yet.

A colourful showing showing a coral nintendo switch console, an animal crossing new horizons game, and two amiibo cards, an orange one with a frog character, and a pink one with a goat character

I'm rambling, as per, so let's get into my thoughts and feelings, likes and dislikes. It's worth noting that I am basing my opinions in comparison to the 'old school' Animal Crossing: Wild World game, that was released back in 2005. My first handheld console was a Nintendo DS lite, a pink one to be specific, and AC:WW was one of my first games, as well as Nintendogs. (Oh my gosh, Nintendo! Please make this happen for the Switch!!). I never played the previous edition, New Leaf, so apologies if I think something about New Horizons is fantastic, only for it to have also been a thing back in 2012. So, now that my disclaimer(?) is out of the way, what were my initial thoughts about AC:NH? 

Upon creating my profile and islander, the first thoughts that popped into my head were 'wow! look how pretty this game is!! The graphics and general design is gorgeous and I want to live here!!'. I thought that the gameplay was so bright and shiny, and I was very impressed with my first experience playing on a Nintendo Switch. One of my favourite features of AC:NH as a whole is the nature. There is so so much attention to detail, and it has quickly become my happy place! Being a nature nerd but also living with several disabilities has had such an impact on me throughout the course of the pandemic, because a wedge has been driven between me and my in-real-life happy places. Even though, obviously a game is not a substitute for the actual world, it has been very nice to have the ability to see insects and flowers and trees each and every day in the palm of my hands, and in a way that is much more interactive than simply scrolling through photography on my phone. Damn though, every single natural element in AC:NH looks beautiful and I first started playing when everything was covered with snow... it really was a winter wonderland on our island :) 

A photo showing an Animal Crossing New Horizons themed Nintendo Switch case, as well as an art piece showing an Animal Crossing character portrait

I'm totally going to use the photograph above as an opportunity to give a shout-out to the amazing artist, Lizzy aka Aries Arts. Just look at the incredibly gorgeous Animal Crossing portrait that they made for me when I won a giveaway over on their instagram!! You can read more in a post I shared all about it here. Honestly, I cannot thank Lizzy enough for creating this piece for me and I feel like every Animal Crossing fan needs one in their lives! 

So back to my first opinions of AC:NH... I loved the variety of character design options we could have right away. This is probably something that was offered in the New Leaf game, but as I mentioned, I am comparing this to my experiences playing Wild World. I didn't realise the graphics were quite as different until I played New Horizons. It was great for the early 2000's but let's just say, I am so glad we have gotten this far with game development, haha! I also loved to discover that we still have many of the original villager cast of characters (and lots of newbies, for me anyway!). I missed these cuties so much!! Back when my sister & I played AC:WW, our favourite animal friend was always Chevre, the goat, and YAY!! She's still around :) My other personal favourites were Lily and Mint. I never see anyone online mentioning Mint T_T so I don't know if she's around nowadays. I am crossing my fingers that I can get hold of an Amiibo card for her... wish me luck! 

The most amazing thing happened when I obtained my first Nook Miles ticket and boarded a Dodo Airlines flight to explore a new island. Lily was there!! What are the chances of that!? I was over the moon to say the least that I could invite her to move onto our islander and there's she's been since January 2021. Who are your favourite villagers/islanders? 

a screenshot from Animal Crossing New Horizon of a character talking to frog called Lily. It is snowing and there are flowers and snow on the ground.

A screenshot of two Animal Crossing New Horizon characters, a human, a blue goat and a white goat, all wearing very cute dresses

Some other features that I was very happy to discover within my first week of gameplay were the fact that it's so easy to fish and the screenshot/photo-taking options! Back when I played on my Nintendo DS, I don't know why but I found it super difficult to fish and so I barely ever attempted to. It sucked because I was really curious about the species they'd included in the game, so I am delighted now that it is really simple to catch fish and I am very much loving how detailed the creatures are! I have set up a mini aquarium in my house because I just want to look at them all the time!! What are your favourite sea creatures on the game? I am yet to encounter sharks so I am super excited about that in the future :) I, of course, didn't have Harv's Island and his photo studio rooms at first, but I loved the filters you could use when taking screenshots and how you could zoom in, change the viewpoint, etc. Like, did you even play if you didn't take loads of cute pictures to share on social media?? :D Thank you Nintendo for giving me aesthetic choices! 

I have to admit that I was mortified when I initially got playing and couldn't locate Blathers and his museum anywhere, because that side of Animal Crossing has always been my firm favourite and I refused to believe that they were gone, but I wanted so desperately to start adding specimens to the museum collection. When Blathers finally showed up, I was so relieved!! And I am actually a fan of having to build up the museum from scratch. And guys, WHAT A MUSEUM IT IS!! I could not believe my eyes when I first got to explore the magnificent creation and I am slightly bitter that my islander can't set up home in it :D 

A screenshot from Animal Crossing New Horizons showing a happy character in front of a coral reef aquarium at the museum

A screenshot of gameplay in Animal Crossing New Horizons. A character with turquoise hair is smiling at a dinosaur fossil in the museum

I mean, how could I not fall in love with the AC:NH museum!?! The designers did a phenomenal job with it and every exhibit is so well thought out and intricate and it's been a joy to fill it with fossils and wildlife. The dinosaur bones are especially beautiful! Okay, I will be here all day talking about the museum, so onto my likes and dislikes after playing the game for around three months. 

Features I really like in AC: New Horizons

That Resetti is no longer a thing! As an adult, I know better than to turn my consoles off before saving, but omg that character was the most annoying thing ever back when I was thirteen/fourteen years old! I love that you cannot fall into fossil holes anymore, because that was bloody annoying, too!! I am a big fan of the reactions, mostly for the screenshot potential but also because they are so damn cute!! And I love that the islanders will respond to you :) Another feature that I think is great is how easily you can stock up on so many Nook Mile points. At the moment though, I have too many than to know what to do with! 

The festivals and special events, as well as the themed items, are such a wonderful edition to the gameplay. I am a sucker for celebrating things, especially those random commemoration days on the calendar, like National Popcorn Day. Who is in the same boat? So, you bet I am going to jump at every opportunity to celebrate special times on Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Furthermore, those Super Mario items added for the recent 25th Anniversary are so cute!! I can now run around the island, catching butterflies and collecting fossils, dressed as Princess Peach. What more could I want? And those little mushroom furniture items... I want one in my real bedroom! Speaking of furniture, the way you can decorate and customise your home and island is so much fun!! I can live out all of my aesthetic dreams in one place... kawaii in the home, grunge on the beach :D AC:NH has got me covered! I very much like being able to craft so many interesting items, from apple hats to giant mossy rocks. Tell me about your favourite item and/or item to craft in the comments :) I'm really curious!

A photo of a bedroom on the game Animal Crossing New Horizons. It is filled with kawaii furniture. There is a pink haired character clapping and smiling

Features I dislike in AC: New Horizons

I feel like dislike is too strong a word, to be honest :') I adore this game and there are only a few things that I wish could be different or hope that they update in the future or whatever. I wish that you could make a huge house, a mansion even, or anything that your imagination could think of. That you could design your home in a construction-like building feature. I have only been playing for three months and I have already expanded my house as big as it can go, as far as I know. I love having a living room plus five extra rooms but this game has so many cool furniture pieces that I have a mighty need for never-ending space to fill with it all. 

I also wish that tools did not break so easily. I understand that the game needs to have features that make players work for things and complete tasks to obtain the items they require, however I still feel that there should be another feature to counterbalance this. I would love an option to bulk carry tools in my inventory, such as you can do with fruit. That way, I could always be carrying a fair amount of tools in case the one I'm using should break, but still allowing me to carry all of the goodies that I find whilst exploring.  I hate being all the way on the other side of the island and having to run back home to get another tool, however this is just a little annoyance of mine and I'm likely complaining too much :D we all have our things...

BUT I assume that everyone finds the wasps and tarantulas to be a pain!! The wasps, I can deal with. I have gotten used to them, and can mostly catch them before they get a chance to sting my islander. The tarantulas, on the other hand, always pop out of nowhere and its a little frustrating to say the least. I have managed to catch several now and they are very awesome-looking. My islander even has a 'pet' one in her home, but still! I don't know if that makes up for it... what do you think? The only other minor irk that I have with AC:NH is that when you visit your animal friends at their house and they happen to be crafting something, it's more often than not, for me, is an item that I already know how to make. Of course, when I start using Nintendo Online and visiting my friends/they visit me, I can leave these recipe cards about for them to collect. Right now though, I just have a stockpile and it's a little annoying. I know that they need to slowly give players all of the recipes but I'm impatient by nature. Help :D

A photograph of a coral-coloured nintendo switch console and two amiibo cards of a goat character and a frog character

So, those were my thoughts and feelings and opinions about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I hope I didn't bore you all and that if you were on the fence about investing in your copy of the game, that I have persuaded you because it really is a lovely thing to pass the time, especially during lockdown. I find it so relaxing, and I can play for hours without getting bored, but that's because I love games like Animal Crossing, where you can just totter around, pretending, that instead of living in this mess of a world, you live on an pretty island with the sweetest animal buddies, and spend your days and nights picking fruit, planting trees and flowers, buying cute outfits, growing things and just have the perfect cottagecore-esque time! So, if that sounds like paradise to you, you need to get this game in your life!! 

After discussing the game, I am now desperate to go back to playing it and so I will finish up my post here :) By the way, if you did not already know, today is the Spring Equinox, so the official first day of the new season has sprung, and I am so ready for it :) Wishing you all a lovely Springtime!! 

Thankyou for reading!

Do you have any recommendations for games similar to AC:NH? I'd love to check them out!

Also, tell me if you have any dislikes when it comes to this game. What changes would you make? 

Here's where you can find me on social media:

| Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Tumblr | TikTok

Blog Design Created by pipdig