Animal Crossing is Getting Old
The events are lackluster, we're hitting the wall.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons came at a perfect time. We were inbetween acceptance and denial, reaching for something to bring back normality. Thankfully, that's Animal Crossing's whole thing. We were all chomping at the bit to start our island adventures with some even petitioning for the game to be released early. It started off amazingly, with all the brand new features like keeping us island representatives active. And then some of us hit a wall.
I like to call this wall the 'Animal Crossing Wall', as it only ever seemed to relate to Animal Crossing. It hits a certain point where the aspects of the game you enjoyed now become a chore - something you have to do. This is especially prevelant if you don't tend to fish or catch bugs. If you like the fossils, you often collect the majority of fossils within a month and wait possibly years for the last few (which seems somewhat ridiculous). So the list of the things you want to do start to dwindle, and the list of chores you have to do for the general upkeep of the island grow.
Sure, having the animals on the island repeat the same few phrases whilst wandering around doesn't help (although we all have our favourites; looking at you, Megan, Tank, Hamphrey and Sable. Hans and Pierce, I'll find you one day.) Once you've completely terraformed your island and ruined it with clutter trying to scrape your way to that 5 star rating, there's very little left to do.
One of the main problems is a severe lack of engaging activities. We have faced our first seasonal activity, our first fishing tourney and the Museum's 'Stamp Rally'. All of which may have started out fun but quickly became repetitive means to an end; some kind of reward we would sell or add to our already horrifically cluttered islands. This lack of innovation is almost insulting. With Zipper's Bunny Day, they did clearly try and utalise the new features in New Horizons, but failed signifcantly by actively interrupting the player's regular routines with those darned eggs! In the beginning I thought it was kind of cool having an objective to craft every recipe. Maybe I'd get something cool at the end of it to commemorate the absolutely huge effort I went to!
A very ugly wand with an egg on it. Safe to say that the Egg Wand is the one egg item I did not craft.
The wands are stupid.
Objectively, they seemed kinda cool. Initially I stayed up late to catch falling stars and craft one, excited for what kind of magic the wand could create! But it seems it just allows me to use a set of costumes that you aren't even technically wearing. I see why it's here, I did try and use it at first with coats and weather based costumes, but with the new ability to place any object anywhere, I could just as easily place down a wardrobe (or fridge, apparently) and change wherever I wanted to. That's exactly what I did. In a way that fit my island's urban city inspired lay out, I created a gym and a fishing area both with wardrobe-items in them.
The next activity most of us will have encountered would have been the new fishing tourney - now run by CJ taking over from our classic Chip. In the new fishing tourney, you have to catch as many fish as you possibly can within 3 minutes to earn points. You can replay it, and you get bonus points for playing with friends (you can thank me later). 10 points earns you one piece of fish-inspired swag. Again, I think this could have been a cool improvment as it gives you more than one reward - but it takes away the competetive nature of previous games. You no longer have to get the biggest fish, or compete with anyone else. It's more accessible than ever, but also far easier than ever.
And finally, the 'Stamp Rally'. This is an entierly new event that requires you to run around the museum and collect stamps. The stamps move daily, and collecting them all awards you a plaque respective of th area you finished (fossils, fish or insects). The first time, this was cool and the plaques were nice to have. It encouraged me to spend more time in the museum than saying hello to Blathers and dumping my fossils. But what's the point of repeating it if you only get the same plaques each time? To sell them, sure. But it's also an insanely easy task to finish which does nothing to endear you to your animals.
One in-game experience I have had that some others might not have had yet is a birthday. If you're an Animal Crossing Veteran, you know that the animals ttend to do a little something for your special day. If you haven't had an Animal Crossing birthday yet and want to go into it blind, click away now.
My 21st birthday came on March 27th - only a week or so after England went into lockdown. I've always hated birthdays, never done anything for them and ignored their existance. But considering I was turning 21 years old, I figured I'd plan a little something this year. Turns out that the world had different plans.
Tank clearly heard about that, though, and decided to throw me a birthday party in his snazzy little tux and Megan's cute little posh number. This, honestly, has been one of the best things to happen in Animal Crossing New Horizons because of the time it had come. It reminds me, through all my complaining, that this game nails one thing on the head every time. If you are ever feeling alone, Animal Crossing will always be there for you with friends (and foes) who will almost always happy to see you.
Point is, Animal Crossing New Horizons is setting out a disappointing precedent of activities that are far too easy to keep adult players interested. Realistically, those adult players are the ones who are coming back daily, especially for the turnips. What self-respecting kid is up before 12pm on a Sunday?!
The new game is amazing in it's innovation. I just wish the activities were the same.