Animal Crossing: New Horizons has taken the world by storm. If you’ve checked social media, it’s all you see people talk about. Whether they’ve built their first house or they’ve caught thirty tarantulas, sites like Twitter are ablaze with stories and screenshots of the cartoony game. What’s so special about it?
The time is right
With a good portion of the world staying home, whether it’s to stay safe or because of a mandated lockdown, a lot of people have time to kill. What better way to kill time than a game based on grinding at every step? Animal Crossing is a slow paced game, with every action being deliberate and time consuming. Want to craft? Gotta go through long animations. Want to donate some fossils? Well you have to assess them first, and then go through an exchange back just to give them to the museum. This is on top of having a ton of stuff to do, so the to-do list never ends.
Whether you see this as good or bad, this game is a time sink. Once you start playing you can spend hours, days, weeks just toiling away making your island your own.
It’s hard to describe Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but a few words I’d use would be “relaxing” and “delightful.” The graphics are oh so pretty, the music and sound effects are calming. When you play games like Call of Duty Warzone or Doom Eternal, you’re constantly on edge. Don’t get me wrong, both of those games are fantastic and very fun, but they’re the furthest thing from relaxing.
When you play Animal Crossing, you’re fishing or digging for fossils or just chatting with residents. All in all, it’s a really chill game to play and a great way to relax, and that’s something we need right now.
The social experience
It’s a time where people are really starved of social interaction. Stuck at home and unable to travel, people are relegated to technology to converse. Calls and video chat are great, but a lot of folks are taking it a step further and visiting each other’s islands on Animal Crossing. While it isn’t a replacement for a good phone call, it’s still a nice way to share a moment with a friend or loved one.
The game is surprisingly deep
When you star Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it seems like a pretty simple game. Even hours into it, you’re doing the same things over and over. Is the game limited to fishing and digging up fossils?
Well, no. The game is surprisingly deep and full of things to do. The slow pace guarantees you learn these things really late into the game, and frankly, the game doesn’t teach you a lot of the things you need to know at all. It’ll take a bunch of Googling to figure it all out. But there’s a lot more substance than it initially seems, and that bodes well for long term gaming.
And best of all, there are events for holidays. There are bugs and fish that only come during certain real world seasons. Certain items can only be purchased at certain times. If you like the game, you’ll be playing for a long time.
For a lot of people, a huge draw of New Horizons is nostalgia. The game is shockingly similar to its previous iterations; in fact, some may argue that this is closer to a remaster than a full new title. Sure there are features that are added, but a lot of the gameplay and quirks and oddities are lifted right out of old games.
Those who played these games when they were kids are sure to love it. It’s a throwback to childhood and it makes sense why not much was changed. However it may be offputting to newer players as the game feels rooted in the old days, both in gameplay and in flaws.
If you have a Nintendo Switch, and you’re looking for a relaxing game to play during the quarantine, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a solid choice. Those returning to the series are sure to love it, and while not everyone will enjoy the old school grindey nature, New Horizons is a good way to jump into the series for the first time. And if you don’t have a Switch, you can save $60 and try the free mobile version!