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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a much more structured take on the series

I think it was Sam Beckett – the playwright, not the body-hopping scientist – who once said you can learn just as much about a city from your first day there as you can your first three months. I’m not sure how much you can say about an all-new Animal Crossing from just an hour spent in its company – these are games for life – but between that and everything from today’s Direct I can certainly try. This is a gentle upgrade for Nintendo’s life-sim series, but one that brings more structure to your life while streamlining many other elements.

You start at a check-in for Nook Inc’s travel company – that company logo deliciously using Nintendo’s own logotype – with Timmy and Tommy Nook manning the desk as you set out on your package holiday. There you’re presented with the question – hypothetical, it must be said – of, if limited to the essentials, you’d rather have food, a lamp or something to kill time with, before you’re presented with more material matters such as choosing whether you want to play in the northern hemisphere or southern hemisphere – which determines what seasons bring what weather – and the initial layout of your island.

The options when it comes to your own avatar are still fairly limited, and while features are now no longer locked to gender it seems the bulk of the customisation will come later in the game. Having picked an avatar you’re then off to the island itself, with two other villagers in tow (this seems to be randomly generated – in my particular session I was paired up with Mira, a superhero rabbit, and Biff, a bodybuilding hippo).

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