Animal Crossing: New Horizons v1.2.1b Review

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons Version 1.2.1b players will experience a living world with thousands of tasks and rewards as well as a thriving online community. This game features DIY projects in this game, playing a merchant role, mining, crafting, fishing, logging, collecting insects, fossils, building up a museum, town, shops, and more. It’s original release was at a very specific time in human history which gave way for a greater need of wholesome, relaxing games.

Animal Crossing as a series in 2001 on N64 in Japan and also appeared on the Nintendo GameCube globally. There have also been entries into the series on the Nintendo Wii, DS, 3DS, and Wii U. Sales history of the series is estimated around 37 million units sold while Animal Crossing: New Horizons has 20 million units sold by itself (physical and digital).

Racoons have always been the sly and cunning type, and the Nook family are no different. Perhaps the appeal of Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes from the way it simulates a simpler lifestyle. Living off of the land as so many societies historically have done before us, but most of us are not in touch with in this modern age of computers, smartphone, AI, and Fiber Optic Internet.

The pitch for ACNH before the disaster started was simple, “Your own island getaway.”, an escape. One of the many ultimate purposes video games can be made to serve. The alleviation of one’s inner most doubts and problems from the external world. Of course, by the time the game came out we were living in a much more heightened anxiety level. The game fulfilled its promise for a peaceful escape, to an entirely massive audience who suddenly found themselves working from home, or worse – laid off waiting for re-openings to be announced.

STORY

There’s really not much to the story of ACNH. You go to a deserted island and start up your own village, improving it into a small community full of life and business. Tom Nook has invited you on this trip and hilariously meme’d by the gamer fandom of the franchise is the fact that he will multiply your debt to him constantly by enabling players to exponentially upgrade their living quarters.

This has spawned a number of conspiracy theories surrounding whether or not Tom Nook is meant to be a symbol of capitalism or if the game is secretly a dark humor piece about the everyday monotony of real life tasks. I subscribe to the camp which just finds this game purely fun, but those additional fan-fiction based lore mysteries add comedic value to the franchise overall.

Dialogue is often dead pan, in other words lame for the sake of being lame. Humor can be hit or miss until you embrace the nature of their wholesome pun-filled jokes. The writing is smart enough to play on some of the community’s conspiracy theories as mentioned earlier. They do so without crossing the line into endorsing those which is skillful and clever indeed.

GRAPHICS

New Horizons has presented a massive visual upgrade to the Animal Crossing franchise and makes Pokémon Sword and Shield look like a sad, pixelated joke in terms of graphics. The fantasy art style Nintendo is known for is taken to the max on Switch with their EPD Studio showing others how it’s done. A smooth frame rate, low input latency, and brilliant force of colors, shading, and animation make it one of the standout productions for the Nintendo Switch even with its humble use of basic architecture to focus on gameplay mechanics.

GAMEPLAY

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons players are settlers, survivalists, colonizing and building up a vacation island on their own until it is a vibrant, buzzing economic masterpiece which can connect online to other players who all express themselves through their collections and accomplishments. One of our favorite things to do in the new Animal Crossing is catching bugs. We are sure there’s something for everyone here:

  • Create your character, make them look like you, dress them up
  • craft your island, upgrade your home, then your town
  • real time 24 hour day cycle
  • change of seasons
  • northern hemisphere islands and southern, with their own rare items etc
  • meet other players to complete ur collection
  • fishing
  • farming
  • bug collecting
  • logging
  • crafting
  • clothing, wallpaper, flooring, custom furniture
  • indoor and outdoor decorations, home upgrades and renovation
  • villagers to meet around the world and some which immigrate to your island
  • enhance and upgrade your tools as you go
  • selection changes daily at the shops in the game
  • dynamic availability
  • tools and freedom to change the island and make it yours
  • landscaping
  • patterns
  • personal style
  • building placement

Nook Miles are a new currency, and soon after players are granted Nook Miles plus (a constant stream of mini-challenges for Miles).

The addiction, the fun! Operating system designers and application / user interface developers should take notice of this game. Every intuitive motion feels so pleasant to perform and all of the game’s bells and whistles of notifying and rewarding behavior give the same sort of enjoyment as the notifications your real life smartphone used to give you before social media entered the uncanny valley.

The main playable character has in-game phone which overview notifications access everything and organize it in the game. DIY bench, breakable tools, and making pieces that give access to other parts of the island.

The gameplay look of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is incredibly addictive for players who submit to the bland cuteness of the actions and ignore or embrace the charming puns and lame jokes which take place during the dialogue. A lot like the old school MMO games of yesteryear, the activities themselves aren’t always the purpose of the game – it’s the therapeutic feeling of performing them. Mining,  chopping down trees, crafting items for a high profit margin, or giving away free items to noobs you meet online. A soothing, comforting, feeling like home comes over you as Animal Crossing: New Horizons manages to recapture many of those gaming moments and impactful feels of the RPG-like mechanics it utilizes.

Working together on your island with local players allowed to help you progress. This is in line with Nintendo’s strategy to sell multiple Switch units to each household. For me and my family it made sense. The Switch feels like as personal of a possession as a Smartphone. You probably wouldn’t share your phone with someone, so a Switch Lite or two in addition to one main family Switch is commonly the solution.

  • Airport (Local and Online multiplayer)
  • many secrets to the game
  • money trees, for example
  • additional money thru money holes planted with larger sums of savings
  • upgrades through nook miles such as hotkey, extra storage, etc

SOUNDTRACK / SOUND DESIGN

A soothing atmosphere is brought about by the calming soundscape of ACNH. The calculation into what would make a game bearable to play for so long likely relied heavily on the music and careful attention on how the game’s sound effects would interact with that during various activities. Sound is used gently, carefully, and with deliberate intent. The game’s notifications on what is going on through bright, cheerful sounds that vaguely represent what they are notifying you about is natural, intuitive, and efficient all at once.

REPLAY VALUE

Continuous content will be added for multiple years. In addition to this, players enjoy seasonal changes which each year give a second chance to experience the season and capture one of every type of creature for their database. In the later stages of the game players will also gain access to the ability to share custom objects such as apparel for players or decorations for the home.

ACNH will constantly reward you. First you will set out on one task and goal in mind for the day. Before you know it, you’ll end up populating fish, building up shops in your town, receiving currency for various tasks, alerts on your in-game phone,

These factors are also paired with the pixel art of custom logos and designs has led to many creative players essentially changing aspects of the game using well thought out procedures that take advantage of this creative sharing universe Animal Crossing has created.

If you are a fan of Mega Ran, we have created some content for you:

(These codes can be used at the Able Sisters shop once unlocked)

Mega Ran Hoodie

MO-8453-W4CG-GGSK

Sleek Hat

MO-QD3M-6L3H-LCCW

RGN SCORE: 9/10 (Gold)

FINAL VERDICT

Animal Crossing New Horizons gets a 9 out of 10 making it our first Gold Game of 2020. It’s a near perfect title, however, areas of improvement are always bound to be. Some of content being added is very short, eventually people may get bored of the game without something more substantial being added. It would be great to see this concept tried out by other companies as well which seems to be coming up in the industry. Overall it is a fantastic, wholesome, relaxing game which is almost perfect at what it aims to accomplish.

Our overall take on Animal Crossing New Horizons is that it came out at a fateful time. This is perhaps the game most suited to provide that stress relief we’ve all been knowing games for all these years. Back in the days it seemed everything gaming was a way to take your mind off the challenging things in life. Better yet, they helped teach coping mechanisms to go back and do those things better. This is nearly the peak of that concept through a simple, down-to-earth, and true-to-life example of how to get in touch with yourself through owning an island.

OFFICIAL TRAILERS