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Cozy Gaming: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

March 2020 was a memorable year for plenty of us. The world went into lockdown and Animal Crossing: New Horizons was finally released, with many of us cozy gamers playing it continuously during the pandemic. But was this over consumption to blame for out early burn out or did it just lack that same magic that the other games had.

animal crossing new horizons review

Burn out or Boring?

I think just about everyone knew where they were in March 2020. Practically the world was forced into lockdown, either working from home, furloughed or unfortunately were laid off from their jobs. But I also remember this time specifically for drinking peach tea and playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons.


After the success of New Leaf, many of us Animal Crossing fans were desperately looking forward to getting our hands on the next title in the franchise. So when that time finally arrived, many of us set a date in our calendars ready to download New Horizons. At first, I wasn’t disappointed. The game was beautiful and at first, there seemed like there was a lot to do, however months later the game started to grow stale.


animal crossing new horizons

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you move to a deserted island after purchasing a getaway package from Tom Nook, and just like New Leaf, you’re assigned to uplift the island and dictate its appearance. Unlike the previous instalment however, there’s no limitations to what furniture you put outside and where you place it now- which is amazing!


Also this game introduced terraforming, which allows the player to manipulate the overall appearance of the island. From where the placement of the waterfalls go, to if you want your land completely flat, this is all determined by the player which lends to the whole uniqueness of the New Horizons. No island will ever look the same.


animal crossing new horizons

There’s also a new concept which allows players to collect and learn recipes, which can be used to make your own furniture and tools. Alongside this, players will also fish, catch bugs, discover fossils and interact with many of the animal crossing villagers- just like the previous games, giving the player plenty of things to do day to day.


The game expanded on what New Leaf initially started, which is a fantastic continuation in the right direction. Being able to fully dictate the terrain of your island and allowing for full control over what furniture goes where is a welcomed change that I’m sure many Animal Crossing fans craved after getting a taste for it in New Leaf.


Not to mention, the game is graphically a masterpiece. Keeping to the unique style Animal Crossing is known for, New Horizons really sharpens and refines the graphics, meaning that it looks so detailed and beautiful. There is no denying that New Horizons is probably up there with being one of the best games of the Nintendo Switch right now, even three years after its release.


animal crossing new horizons review

You can literally load up New Horizons and easily spend hours on this game, just rebuilding your island or even just partaking in the daily tasks of fishing and bug catching. The gameplay is really enticing, backed by a relaxing soundtrack that boasts easy- going, island living, you’re bound just to get wrapped up in its comforting vibes.


However, there are a few things that I disliked New Horizons for.

Firstly, the durability of tools! Like, seriously Nintendo! I really don’t know who or why someone keeps enforcing durability of tools and weapons, but it needs to stop. We hated it in Breath of the WIld and we disliked it in New Horizons.


There is nothing more annoying than trying to dig up flowers, catch bugs or even go on a fishing spree to have your tool suddenly break. To make it worse, you don’t get prompted to say that it’s badly damaged and might break soon, so it will just happen to you at random. Meaning that you have to either make another tool or buy one from Nooks Cranny. There’s not even an option to create ‘golden tools’ and make them invulnerable to breaking.


animal crossing new horizons review

Another thing I disliked WAS the gameplay, well the over consumption of it, which yes, is partly my fault but I do think it easily got stale compared to New Leaf. Although New Horizons just follows the same relaxed gameplay of all the other games in the franchise, it seemingly feels like you can unlock everything, almost instantly. Compared to other games, where you had to either wait for a special character to show up or really grind to get something, it seemed like New Horizons just gave it to you.


Which you could argue is a positive thing in itself as you can just get on with experiencing the entire game, however it doesn’t work for longevity.


Also when the game was initially released Nintendo promised that New Horizons would have frequent updates- which never really happened until late 2021 and that was it. Sure they keep giving us mini updates which saw the return of festivals, but I should add that these were STAPLES in the other games, so why was this being treated as a new and exciting tweak on the gameplay.


animal crossing new horizons review

It honestly felt like Nintendo didn’t know what else to add to the game after giving us Happy Home Paradise DLC and minor tweaks that significantly improved some aspects to our quality of life, because they’ve completely abandoned the game ever since. For context, New Leaf was released in 2013 with all events and gameplay included in the game initially that you had to work for and it received the Welcome Amiibo update in 2017, that included more content, more mini games and more merchandise to collect.


They didn’t bail on it over a year later.


Honestly, I don’t hate New Horizons, yet I do feel like due to how easy and achievable things are and the unfortunate timing of covid, it was easy to get bored and burnt out on the gameplay quite quickly. But Nintendo could change that by adding more content to really extend the longevity of this game, as it’s a very relaxing and cozy game that can be enjoyed all year round.


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