With less than a month to go until Animal Crossing: New Horizons is finally available to play, the hype is more than real. So much so that Nintendo gave the game a dedicated stream to introduce players to new features and other mechanics. The Animal Crossing Direct gave more than enough for fans to get excited about, while also leaving plenty of gameplay under wraps until its actual release.
From what’s been seen in the trailers and the Direct itself, New Horizons builds and improves upon the familiar formula of previous Animal Crossing titles. Thanks to the powerful hardware of the Switch, many features that fans have been wanting forever have finally made it into the game. And even aspects players may not have necessarily thought about add to the gameplay significantly. Like, who’d’ve thought that pole vaulting over rivers and being able to make toast would be so exciting? It’s the little things, right?
With all that in mind, here’s all the major features that were revealed during the Animal Crossing Direct. And yes, Isabelle makes a delightfully adorable appearance. The Shih Tzu is totally living up to the hype she’s gained from her time in Super Smash Bros.
Living the island life
Not only can you choose the layout of your island, but you can also pick which hemisphere you want to experience. When the game releases it’ll be spring here in the UK, but if you decided to go with living in the Southern hemisphere you’ll be enjoying autumn instead. Which is perfect for the new seasonal activities in New Horizons, which includes picking up new collectables like mushrooms and autumn leaves.
So. much. customisation.
Players could design stuff on previous Animal Crossing titles for clothes and other items, but New Horizons is a completely different story. For all you interior designers the home customisation is amazing. With Sims-like gameplay and full camera control, your home can be as cluttered or organised as you like.
The furniture is fully customisable too, giving players the opportunity to change the colour of certain parts of items like bed frames, and also creating designs for fabrics like cushions and duvets. On top of that, you can craft a hell of a lot of items from the comfort of your own tool bench (or the one in Resident Services). Collecting materials for tools and items is so much easier too, with resources like trees and boulders producing multiple materials and your inventory having stacked slots.
Dodo Airlines mystery tours
Dodo Airlines has more functions than just for online play, you can visit faraway places other than your own island. Here you can catch exotic bugs and fish that aren’t available at home, along with fruits and other materials. While you can’t choose your destination, you won’t be short of surprises wherever you end up — especially since you may encounter some surprise characters along the way, new and old.
The Nook Phone
However, the only way you can get tickets for these mystery trips is through collecting Nook Miles, which are available from your Nook Phone. Given to you at the start of the game, this smartphone will have everything you need to ace island life. It comes with pre-installed apps that will help with your day to day activities, including a quick way to access your DIY recipes and a handy map if you get lost.
For Nook Miles, you can collect these points on the app by doing challenges like catching a certain amount of creatures. When you’ve amassed a fair amount, you can redeem your Nook Miles for a plane ticket or an array of special items.
There will also be a compatible smartphone app, which will be accessible through Nintendo Switch Online app. You’ll need an online account (which costs £3.49 per month or £17.99 annually). Through this real-time app, you can message and voice chat with friends while you’re playing the game. You can also scan QR codes of designs from previous games to upload into New Horizons, which can be used on furniture and clothing.
Familiar faces & new characters
Making a deserted island your home can be a lonely task, but don’t fret. You’ll be surrounded by familiar villagers, 383 to be precise. These include the likes of Goldie, Hamlet, Alfonso, Peanut, Margie, Carrie, Melba, Bud, Rosie, Goose, and so much more.
You’ll also be introduced to a bunch of new characters, which so far include Orville the Dodo (Manager of Dodo Airlines), Wilbur the Dodo (Dodo Airlines pilot), C.J. the Beaver (fishing tourney host), Flick the lizard (Bug-Off catching competition host), and Daisy Mae the Pig (who sells turnips).
Want your friends to visit your humble island abode? Up to eight people can visit online and up to four locally, which you can access through the airport. Here your BFFs can visit you, and vice versa. If you share your switch with the whole family, up to eight people can live on one island. This means the island tied to whoever started the game first will be forever tied to that console.
If you have Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on your smartphone, you’ll be able to link the two games together to recieve special items when they’re linked. I doesn’t look like you can transfer items or characters across both, though.
Autosaving is now a feature on Animal Crossing, which means no more angry visits from Resetti. However, there are no cloud saves. This was something players were hoping for as cloud saves add an extra layer of security for backing your save data. Although, as was said during the Direct, “we’re planning to operate a service for recovering backed up save data from the server in certain circumstances, like console damage or loss.”
On a happier note, if you collected a ton of Animal Crossing Amiibos and Amiibo cards for Welcome Amiibo, Amiibo Festival, and Happy Designer, they’ll be compatible with New Horizons. They can be used to summon characters to your campsite, and can be added to a new photography mini-game. As they’re pretty old, not a lot of them are available anymore but you can still buy a selection of them on Amazon.