Animal Crossing is one of the most particular and peculiar sagas that exists. Not surprisingly, we are talking about a series that goes against the grain of what we usually understand by the concept of video games and in which our only objective is to live a virtual second life in parallel to our day to day. Here you do not have to defeat a great villain; you do not have to rescue anyone; you do not have to level up, nor do we have to face any kind of challenge. In fact, it is not even important to optimize time, since it has a very slow pace that invites us to take things very calmly and without the pressure of any kind to do what we want and when we want. After having devastated sales with its four main installments and its multiple spin-offs, now comes Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch, which is, without a doubt, the most ambitious, complete and big title in the entire series.
A new life
Although their proposal is still very similar to that seen in previous games, this time at Nintendo, they have wanted to go one step further and give their approach a fascinating twist, since we will not move to an already established town. Still, we will travel to a distant deserted island that we must turn into a great village. So, we will create our character with a grateful editor who comes to replace the classic test to decide our appearance, we will select the layout of our island among four different options and the hemisphere in which we want it to be, and we will fly to it along with a couple of neighbours to find that the only thing there is is the charismatic Tom Nook’s store of operations, who has been in charge of organizing this entire colonization plan.
From here begins an extensive and fantastic tutorial in which gradually and progressively they will teach us all the things we can do to turn our new home into a paradise made for us. In fact, one of the things we liked the most about the beginning is how well the first hours have been balanced so that we always have something to do. We do not get to those uncomfortable blockages that could occur in previous deliveries during the first weeks.
To manage this, the game will commission us a series of tasks every day that, if we fulfill, will allow us to advance in the progress of the island and unlock new functions, tools and mechanics. These small commissions are straightforward to carry out. They will help us to make use of all the possibilities that the title hides since with them we will learn to collect materials, to build things, to use certain key items, to increase the popularity level of our village. , etc., although they always give us some freedom to fulfill them in the way we want and when we feel like it. Of course, every time we meet one of these objectives we will have to wait one day for “history” to advance and give us the next, so you will be interested in doing them as soon as possible to get as quickly as possible to that point where we are released hand in hand. We can give free rein to our imagination.
You may not be pleased that they force you to do these steps. Still, we can attest that they are practically unintentional and that they are very useful since when we finish with them after the first few weeks, we will dominate the game with ease. We will have prevented them from overwhelming us, something that surely would have happened if all the information had been released at once. In addition, it is tremendously satisfying to see how, during those days, what started with three tents ends up becoming a whole city raised from scratch by ourselves.
For those who approach the saga for the first time, to say that we are facing a kind of social simulator in which we will have to live our day to day in a town where time passes in a real way, whether we are playing or not. That is, life on our island will continue its course with or without us, there are dates with its special events, and the different stores and shops have their own opening hours, a design that will invite us to play every day even if it is a little while to see what our neighbours are counting, collect the natural resources that are regenerated on a daily basis or participate in some special activity that may take place.
As we said at the beginning, here, there is no final objective, and we will set our goals ourselves. We can try to raise the popularity level of our island to the maximum, collect all kinds of fish, insects and fossils that are there to complete the museum, expand our house to its maximum capacity and decorate it the way we want, create lots of designs with the ones that give a personal touch to our clothes and different items, amass vast amounts of money to buy everything we want, etc., etc. You decide what you want to do and what you want to spend your time on, and determine what you choose, it will be just as well, because there is no wrong way to play, and nobody will judge you for it, making the gaming experience very pleasant. , intimate and personal who can help us escape for a little while each day with a second life in which there are only the “good vibes.”
Among its main novelties, this time, we find a complete craft system that will allow us to create all kinds of things … as long as we have the appropriate recipes and their corresponding materials. Its operation is straightforward since we will only have to go to a DIY bench, choose what we want to manufacture, and our character will get down to work to build it in an instant. Also, except for the rarest and most extravagant designs, most patterns will only ask us for a few resources, which results in a pleasant mechanic and with which most objects gain importance since they have a higher value by being able to use them in different ways.
Perhaps the heaviest part of all this is how fast our bag of items gets to fill at first, something that is very annoying and tedious during the first days, but which then softens once we get the two improvements of inventory out there. In general, this is something that has improved more than it seems, because now we can acquire a quick access menu for the tools that streamlines everything considerably. Once we learn to manage ourselves, we will rarely find ourselves in the position of running out of free holes in the backpack, which does not mean that it continues to have some room for improvement to avoid taking more walks of the account to our house to catch and drop things in the storage room.
The island of your dreams
Of course, with an entire island at our disposal to develop, one of the main attractions that we will find in this installment we will have in the gigantic possibilities that it offers us when it comes to completely alter the exterior., either by placing all kinds of ornaments, furniture, structures and fences or even modifying its orography to the last consequences. We can assure you that there are so many objects, and the editing tools are so flexible that you can do almost anything you can think of, from building roads and highways “officially” to building mountains and changing the course of rivers. This is something that can be overwhelming, and we are going to need many hours to leave everything as we want, a process that is incredibly gratifying and satisfying since the tools that we will have are very easy and intuitive to use.
What’s more, most items are fully customizable, and we can give them a special touch by changing their colour and applying our designs to them, making it practically impossible to see two identical islands, something that we have been able to verify with our colleagues from other media, whose villages were radically different from ours. It may not seem like it, but the jump that has been taken in terms of customization compared to its predecessors is gigantic, and there is practically nothing in the whole game that we cannot adapt to our tastes. This is also extended to the appearance of our character, modifiable in any mirror, and clothing, being able to design any outfit and outfit that comes to mind with a complete application to create designs that have allowed us to see astonishing things.
At this point, we have to talk about the miles, probably one of the elements that have caused more controversy and controversy among fans. Miles are a new type of currency with which we can buy the most beautiful things, from designs to create cool objects like a giant robot to improvements to our character and tickets to visit random islands. The question is that to obtain them we will have to fulfill a series of objectives that the game will be proposing to us, which are divided into what we could consider as their achievements (fish 100 fish, pay the mortgage on your house, etc.) and some tasks Repeatable very simple and quick to perform, such as talking to three neighbours or cutting down a tree.
As many of you will know, and as we have already explained, much of the appeal of Animal Crossing lies in the enormous freedom it gives the player to do what he wants and to get things the way he sees fit, however, with this system It seeks to provide us with small goals both in the short and long term that more or less condition our way of playing and guide our steps. After all, if you want to fish, but the available tasks involve doing other things, such as hunting insects, you may feel like you are not finishing taking advantage of your time since the system is telling you that if you do something other than that you want, it will give you a series of rewards.
This gets a little more serious when we see that rewards have been included for connecting us every day consecutively, chaining a streak that gives us extra miles. Also, daily we will have five small missions that will provide us with double and even five times as many miles, so it is easy to fall into the error and trap of obsessing over these tasks since there are a lot of exciting things in the store that We can only get with that currency.
We will not deny that it was just what happened to us during the first days, since the game seems determined to remind you that they exist and to tempt you to continue playing and spending hours until you get all the possible miles and buy those attractive rewards and that both attract your attention. Of course, it didn’t take long for us to get tired and get into a loop of achieving goals that, in large doses, are tedious and very boring.
However, when we manage to overcome that mental barrier and start to play our way and without strings, it is when we discover how well designed they are since we will fulfill many of them almost without realizing it and, little by little, our mileage count will increase… In the end, it all depends on the rush you have to achieve according to what things, but in a game where we don’t care about having something today that in a month, we can perfectly enjoy its proposal playing calmly and at our own pace without no system imposes anything on us. The positive part of all this is that thanks to the miles we will always have something to do, becoming an ideal resource for when we want to continue playing, and we are not very clear on what to invest our time after having done all the things we had set ourselves for that day, something that is greatly appreciated.
Events, activities and multiplayer
For the rest, you can expect a very high amount of content in the form of lots of possible neighbours (all of them as peculiar and friendly as ever), countless new objects, new tools such as the pole that facilitate our travel around the island, dozens of events that may appear to us every day so that we never lack surprises, etc. Of course, one of our most significant drawbacks with the game is the null interactivity that we will have with all those items that are at our disposal, so in the end, our beautiful island ends up feeling like a simple cardboard decoration. It doesn’t matter if you place vending machines, build a swimming pool, set up a perfectly equipped kitchen or buy yourself a bicycle, since you will not be able to use any of these things, which is a real shame and makes it less attractive.
Nor do we want to forget to mention the amount of small and subtle news that it includes everywhere such as the possibility of eating the fruit we collect to gain strength and knock down trees and rocks with just one blow, among other surprisingly useful things that we will let you discover for yourself. There are also new possibilities when configuring and personalizing particular aspects of the game, and we can switch between the classic camera from the original GameCube delivery and the one used in its sequels, we will have a complete photographic studio where we can create postcards and photos of all kinds, and we can even travel, in exchange for tickets purchased with miles, to random islands to collect resources that do not exist in ours and meet potential new neighbours. Of course, the latter, despite how attractive it sounds, has been slightly disappointing,
Of course, the opportunity to include both local and online multiplayer has not been lost, although it is a modality that leaves something to be desired and without much appeal. On the one hand, we have the cooperative in the same console, where the camera only follows the leading player and the rest are forced and forced to follow him without being able to use many of the tools there are, a way of playing that seems to us anything but fun and entertaining.
On the other hand, if we use local or online communication, we can visit the islands of other users without the limitation mentioned above of the camera, either for tourism or to exchange with them. Unless the host puts us on their “best friends” list, they will not let us use specific tools to prevent us from destroying their homes. We will not deny that playing with friends can be entertaining to build, modify and design things, although a somewhat more ambitious and complete proposal is missed.
What does not have possible defence is the way the game has to manage the games on the same console, forcing all users to live on the same island. That is, if our partner or our relatives also use our Nintendo Switch, they will force us to share our paradise and its daily resources, something that can be a big problem since each person will want to build and design things in their way. We can understand that it has been done to achieve a more familiar and community experience. Still, we have already seen that this is going to be the result of many frustrations for some players, and it does not seem even the least bit normal that they force us to do it, especially when it comes to a game that usually offers a very intimate and personal experience.
A beautiful horizon
Where we can not put a single catch is in its graphic section, a real pass no matter how you look at it. Yes, it still has a very simple artistic line, but the attention to detail that has been paid in every way has left us with our mouths open, showing a pampering and care that borders on the unhealthy, as you can see if you visit his spectacular museum or you zoom with the console system options to certain objects, such as ant farms. Besides, it has specific, surprisingly great graphic details, such as its lighting system or the textures that are used (be careful with the “fur” of our neighbours). Although the designs are not very complex, the character modelling is quite elaborate, they have lots of animations and could hardly be more expressive.
Finally, we only have praise for the sound thanks to the quality and tremendously relaxing soundtrack that we can listen for hours while doing our daily chores. The effects follow the same line, being varied and of class, especially highlighting the peculiar way of speaking that our neighbours have. In closing, we would like to applaud the impeccable translation work that has been done, the main culprit for many of the laughs we have had when reading the things our neighbours were saying to us.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is, without a doubt, the most complete installment in the entire saga. The jump compared to its predecessors in terms of customization and options is overwhelming. It is full of novelties, and the turn that has been given to its approach has seemed to us a success, giving a lot of freshness to the formula but without betraying its essence. Or to put it another way: pack your bags, because your new and heavenly life is about to begin.
We prepared this review with a digital review code provided by Nintendo.