[Critical] Animal Crossing, a balm for the soul

[Critique] Animal Crossing, un baume pour l'âme

I come with good news this morning and, with the isolation and anxiety that we live in this time because of the COVID-19, I hope that this criticism will make you a little bit of good.

You’ve been waiting for and it has finally arrived: criticism ofAnimal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch! And, next to timing, we need a game like this to accompany us during a time where isolation may be difficult.

Since a few days, Weighs in on Start has the privilege to test Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a game that the team looks forward since its unveiling in 2018. Please note that the criticism is still preliminary, because the game takes place in real time and it is not possible to complete it in one session. It also avoids spoilers.


About the game

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is, like the other titles in the series, a game of life simulation in real-time. It means that if you launch your game in the morning, it is also the morning in the game.

New Horizons takes place on a deserted island that you have to choose among 4 models, located on the hemisphere of your choice. You are invited to Tom Nook you to settle on this island in order to live a peaceful life. This time, you are not the mayor!

From the beginning, you are accompanied by two other characters (random), and you must choose the location of your tent (that you will be able to transform more on that later), but, you also select the location of the tents of the other inhabitants, a function greatly appreciated.

Because the game takes place in real time, you can’t do it all in one session. So this is a game that you can run every day to enjoy the new events. That is the magic ofAnimal Crossing!

Each day, you will have objectives to accomplish according to your way of playing. If you are the type to want to improve your home, you can focus on it. If the development of the island is important to you, you can do it also. Of course, you can focus on more than one objective at the same time.

But, where to start? Go talk to Tom Nook, who is always available to you. A bit like Isabelle in the game New Leaf, he will give you tips on how to understand what to do from the beginning. For example: catch insects and show him. This will unlock the next steps, and thanks to Nook, you never really need to ask you what to do.

Because it is a simulation game, you don’t have a campaign to finish from A to Z. This is a game where you get resources and expand your island depending on your tastes!


Let’s talk about resources

Your island is rich in resources, and they will help you to construct buildings and manufacture the tools you need. Some tools will need to be unlocked by other tasks, which not only enables you to take your time to get used to the gameplay but, also, to enjoy the game without any in do too quickly. Don’t panic at the beginning of the game by asking “where is this tool?!”, be patient; the game is meant to be enjoyed quietly.

However, New Horizons is still a grinding game. Sometimes it is necessary to obtain more resources to unlock an event. Maybe you’re going to brew several trees before finding what you are looking for.

There are a lot more resources in New Horizons in the other games, however. Fruits, fish and insects are back, but this time, there are also different types of wood and also rocks, clay, metal and so on. Find these resources is part of the challenge.


The atmosphere of the game

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a game peaceful, even if you’re the type of “grinding” of resources and you spend your time collecting shells to sell.

The atmosphere is zen and positive, and everything has been thought of in this sense. The sound of the ocean, quiet music… everything is there to help you decompress and spend beautiful moments on your island, along with the other villagers. It is a balm for the soul; a kind of meditation gaming that does a lot of good.

If you already love the series for its features, relaxing, be aware that New Horizons is still more sweet, without being annoying.



The inhabitants

The dialogues of the series were sometimes repetitive, but New Horizons seems to have enormously improved in this aspect. Each NPC has a personality of his own, and the dialogues are colored, original and humorous.

I have a bird on my island who is crazy about fitness and he often speaks of his passion, yet without a repeat. It is charming, and I feel like I really know him. I know, it’s weird to say this, and I’m 30 years old, but good. The improvement of this side is not negligible.



The Nook Miles

Another improved system is the one that is now called “Nook Miles”, an equivalent to the MEOW Coupons New Leaf.

You have, on your smart phone virtual, a long list of long-term goals that will give you a Nook Miles, you can exchange it for goods and services.

These goals can be simple, such as, for example, planting a few flowers. Other objectives will be to unlock later. But, the great improvement is in the daily goals. If you accomplish a goal, he will be quickly replaced by another goal, and you can spend hours to accomplish lots of tasks without ever being blocked. It is perfect for the players who have the objective of having a bunch of Nook Miles, because the system is very generous.

The Nook Miles can be redeemed for objects but, more importantly, to plane tickets in order to get resources on other islands. It is useful to fill your museum.

Please note: the bells are back as in-game currency that you can use to buy items (and more!).



The tools and DIY

A function that has been unveiled in the Nintendo Direct is that of the DIY. You can, with the resources to make your own tools if you have the right recipe. It is in your goals to unlock recipes, so don’t be surprised not to be able to make from the beginning.

The tools have a limited life and will need to be replaced. But, with all the resources on your island, it is not difficult to do. This can be frustrating, but you will develop your own strategies so you won’t miss anything.

In the DIY, you can also create objects and furniture for your home, in addition to customize them.

The system design for your home is also a popular feature; you can now select an object and move it with an arrow instead of pushing it with your character. It makes one think of the games of the Sims as mechanical, and it facilitates the design a lot.

Because the game is played in real time, I have not yet unlocked, such as the option to change the island, which was also unveiled in the Nintendo Direct.


This is theAnimal Crossing that we wanted to

In regards to the details, I don’t want to say more. The broadcast Nintendo Direct, that has been described here, has been very generous. I also want to leave some surprises.

I can answer the question that fans are asking: is this a good Animal Crossing? Yes. It is an excellent game Animal Crossing. It is, according to me, almost everything that fans of the series hope.

This is an improvement of all the characteristics of the series. The characters are more interesting, the resources are varied, the customization is pushed, the system of fishing is more precise and the atmosphere is zen.

By making it impossible for you to do everything in a single session, New Horizons allows you to enjoy every moment of the game, in addition to give you the taste you turn on your console every day to see what’s new on your island. This morning, in writing this criticism, a new character came to settle on my island and I was so happy! I am already looking forward to tomorrow.

At the time of writing these lines, I have trouble to find fault with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, may-be from Blathers (Thibou) the owl who talks too!

One thing is certain: Animal Crossing New Horizons arrives at the right time. While we are living, and may be isolated because of the coronavirus, New Horizons has just soothed the soul and give a dose of sweetness that did a lot of good. If you are already looking forward to the release of the game on Friday, march 20, please be aware that you will not be disappointed.



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