Animal Crossing New Horizons a first impressions
The island escape released at the perfect time.
Is 10 days enough for a review, no?
I would call this a first impression of Animal Crossing New Horizons. My last article did well when the game was newly released. I have clocked around 70 hours of playing and I'm still playing at least 3 hours every day.
As people have released reviews and impressions, it's no unique article per say but another opinion on the game. The first thing is, I'm not one to judge anyone's game experience as you would with mine.
This is my takeaway from playing for 10 days.
Slow and steady beginning
The first week is what I call a grind which is similar to past Animal Crossing games where you're setting up and preparing your life on the island. I don't want to repeat old information that can be found everywhere (it's a month old game) unless this is the first article you've stumbled upon then welcome.
Who would have thought we would get baited into living on a deserted island by the very same raccoon that gives us a tent to start off which eventually upgrades to a house with an interest free debt.
The choice is on you
Every island is unique, you get given a set of 4 maps at the beginning of game. Each map is randomly generated and will always be unique regardless of similarities.
You can hear and see people resetting their islands to get their perfect layout (terraforming and planning before they get there), ideal fruit, colour of the airport, even villagers are accounted. It's on you if you have everything mapped out but my advice is to choose the map wisely if you're not too worried about your native fruit, flower or colour of airport. Thankfully, you don't have to ask answer mysterious questions to get your permanent appearance and you can change it throughout the game through a mirror.
Depending on your game play experience whether it is your first or third experience with the Animal Crossing series, it's a refreshing change of pace starting from actual scratch and starting off in a tent (you did have a tent in New leaf) along with your first villagers. You will start off with a jock villager (not my particular favourite) and an uchi (big sister) villager when you begin.
The typical activities include fishing, catching bugs, collect materials from trees and rocks. It's a life sim where you do the same things every day and the addition of Nook Miles that change up your routine by doing certain things to get them. You can exchange them for various different things, the upgrading of space, the tool ring, purchasing DIY recipes and items to put on your island. DIY recipes are the newest addition to a main game series which got introduced through the mobile game Pocket Camp. You unlock them either through message bottles, learning from villagers/NPCs or finding them from balloons.
Following that you're building up the island where you unlock services that include the general store Nooks cranny ran by Tom Nook's unrelated nephews Timmy and Tommy. You have the vendors that appear at your town square where you meet various beloved NPCs from past games. Nook's long time friend, our beloved museum curator Balthers where you need to donate 5 fish or bugs which allows for his tent to be built. This tent will upgrade to the 'completed' museum where you will need to donate bugs, fish and fossils (art is going to be introduced!).
Some say it's slow where people time skip ahead but for me I enjoy the essence of going it day by day. You go about your daily routine where you do what you want.
Island tours have been a miss for me as I have landed on generic islands way too many times. It's a mechanic where you can search for villagers can get tedious if you're searching for a specific villager you want. People go on islands to get materials to stock up to use to build items and to collect fish/bugs.
The community aspect.
I don't know how I managed to play past Animal Crossing instalments alone. I have found a community of friends who are playing Animal Crossing and love the game. The first thing you see are people playing Animal Crossing when you boot up your switch looking at the friends list. Being stuck at home and not being able to go outside, it's made meeting friends more meaningful through the game. There's Facebook groups and Discord communities where people can connect if you don't know anyone that are playing the game which I highly doubt especially with the sales of the game.
There's the ever so famous market of where people are selling off popular villagers that are sought after if they don't have the amiibo card or don't want to go on endless island tours. This delves into the market of people using real money to get more bells (the local in game currency), rare items and materials.
The stock market: Turnips
The stocks market or stonks the in game term, turnip selling. Each Sunday, usually from your 2nd week in you can buy turnips at a price from 90-110 bells per 100 bunches from Daisy Mae. The grand daughter of Joan who sold turnips on Sunday in previous installments.
Similar to stocks, buy low and sell high to gain a profit. It's a lucrative and the only way to an extent to earn many bells. The turnips only last for a week before the next Sunday where you have to sell them off before they rot. You have to check your turnip prices every morning and night at Nook's Cranny to see what price you can sell per bunch. You can end up with either a random, decreasing , small or big spike, where it ranges from 20 bells to reaching to the 600's which is rare. This is where collaboration with friends happens and you ask around for prices to sell your turnips for a huge profit.
Turnip.exchange is where people put their prices and you have a virtual queue where people queue up to sell their turnips for high prices. Some have entrance fees where I would say are a little ridiculous but if you're making around 1 million or more, a small fee of bells is worth it given someone is opening their island for many hours for people to sell.
The Animal Crossing community is not what it is without the wonderful designs that people contribute for pathways, clothing and pictures. These are shared through codes and QR codes shared through many social media sites for people to use for themselves.
The infamous Able sisters, the cute designs (high pitched screaming), the improvement with the enhanced graphics, the modernisation of clothing and I'm obsessed with the clothing in New Horizons. The biggest problem would be the inability to select multiple clothing pieces in the one visit. You have to walk in and out the change room multiple times if you happen to love multiple items offered that day.
The dialogue for leaving is not required, I want to leave the island quickly. I love Orville but his dialogue is longwinded after going through the airport many times.
The pausing when people come visit you or when you're at another island to hang out. This is a wide annoyance for everyone and I hope Nintendo fix this but knowing their track record... It won't happen unless they prove us wrong.
I want to mention Bunny day but I received my game after 1st of April update and got to experience it only on the 12th of April. I'm not on that boat but hearing people complain about not getting anything besides eggs during that week is understandable which Nintendo did alter later in that week.
Overall, it's a solid game that follows New Leaf. It's a game where people have thrown in the comparison with Minecraft (crafting) and Stardew valley where there are similar elements but it's a different game.
Like any game it has its flaws but without being too biased, I genuinely love the game. It's the only Animal Crossing game I have purchased close to the release date as I normally get Nintendo consoles late. It's been an amazing experience for me and it will be in my top favourite games. There will be seasonal updates that will happen overtime by the time I'm writing this, there's an update for the 23rd where more elements will be added.
It's not a game for everyone granted the 'slow' gameplay. It's my ideal game, it's a game that represents another genre of gaming with the current situation, it has garnered many new people to the franchise.