Everything Wrong (& Right!) With Animal Crossing New Horizons - Featuring Rachel Elliott
First thing's first, I love Animal Crossing New Horizons. I've had a lot of fun with it so far and it has made so many improvements from previous instalments. There's just a few things that not only myself but other fans have a problem with. But there are also some great new things that came with it.
As you can see, I've done a few posts on Animal Crossing previously (I will link them at the bottom of this post!) however in this post; I decided to collaborate with long time best friend and fellow Animal Crossing enthusiast Rachel Elliott! So this post contains good and bad points from both of us.
Growing up playing Animal Crossing from as young as 10 years old, Rachel and I have experienced every game in the series. We feel that makes us fairly experienced with Animal Crossing and has lead to many discussions about what the latest instalment is lacking/doing well. So we decided to list them all to see if other fans feel the same way.
So what's wrong?
No Tool Damage Indicator
We’re all very aware by now that our tools don’t last forever like in previous games - including golden tools. A lot of us are carrying around multiples in case of breakages, which takes up a fair bit of inventory space. “But inventory is expandable, right? So what’s the problem?” I hear you thinking. The problem is not knowing when our tools are about to break. If it was possible to gauge how long tools last, it would help save on inventory space as we would know that one standard shovel lasts X amount of uses, therefore we would only need Y number of shovels for one session, and not have to carry around more than we need. This allows for more space for those precious tarantulas or beloved sea bass. - Rachel
Lack of "add to cart" Function at Able Sisters
Able Sisters’ new “fitting room” feature provides a method of creating a full outfit in one go, which is great if you only want one of each clothing element (top, bottoms, headwear, etc). But for example if you want one of each colour of leggings, it becomes a bit of a long-winded ordeal as you have to buy each colour one at a time by going in and out of the fitting room. By adding an “add to cart” function you would be able to buy everything you want in one transaction, which is of course much less time-consuming than the current setup. On a more positive note, when using the fitting room a lot of clothing and accessories become available in different colours - which is something that was not available in previous games. - Rachel
Not Being Able To Bulk Craft
It seems like this is one of the biggest gripes the Animal Crossing community has about New Horizons, specifically when it comes to crafting fish bait. Speaking for myself, I usually fill up my inventory with manila clams (about 25 clams at a time) which means I have to individually craft the bait 25 times which takes about 10 minutes when it could take 10 seconds if bulk crafting was an option. It seems strange that Nintendo overlooked this as it has proven to be a widespread issue amongst players. - Rachel
Lack of engaging villager dialogue
Compared to previous Animal Crossing games, the villagers are much more animated and can be seen doing a range of activities such as singing and dancing, sitting by the river drinking juice, fishing and exercising. However their dialogue leaves much to be desired as it seems that you can have the same conversation with two different villagers if their personality types are the same. Also, speaking to the same villager multiple times in a day will produce a lot of the same dialogue - there’s not much variety at all, which is a huge shame because a big part of Animal Crossing is the animals… so they should be dynamic and interesting. - Rachel
Everything is so long winded
I understand that the point of New Horizons is to start from scratch, design everything how you want it and to utilise your surroundings. Once the novelty of this has worn off though, it becomes incredibly frustrating when you decide to do a big project. For example - make some fencing. If you want to make a fence you first need to buy or acquire the recipe, harvest the materials needed by chopping trees - trees that will only supply 3 lots of wood per day! - and that doesn’t even give you unlimited fencing. You will probably need to craft more once you run out! Like I said, I understand but it is very frustrating when you need to do this ritual every time you want to add anything to your island. - Hope
1 Switch = 1 Island
This may not be an issue with everyone but it really is for me. My partner and I share a switch and are both interested in playing New Horizons. We bought one copy initially as Switch games are expensive and we figured that eventually we would end up getting a Switch Lite and therefore one of us could move onto the second console. Although we plan to only be in this position short term, It’s pretty unfair for families who can only afford to buy one Switch, or most of the population who probably don’t want to buy a whole new console just to play ONE game on it. We are doing fine at the moment but it does get annoying when you both have different ideas on how you want your island to look, who you want on it and who gets to play first! - Hope
No mini games?
In Animal Crossing New Leaf; the instalment before New Horizons, there was a feature that allowed players to visit far off islands with their friends to play mini games, known as Island Tours. Games such as Balloon Hunt, Bug Catching, Scavenger Hunt and more! So why scrap it in the next game? Technically it is still early days and there may be something introduced to the game soon but it is such a shame that now when your friends visit, after giving them a tour of your island, there isn’t much more to do. That is unless you come up with your own games like we used to! - Hope
Rare things are no longer rare?
Call me a purist, but sometimes I like things to stay the same. So when I noticed things like Tarantulas, Wisp the ghost, Gulliver the travelling seagull and other things that were once “rare” now appearing in everyone’s towns in the first few days, I was mildly disappointed at the fact that these things were no longer things to be celebrated but things to expect. It is the same for Balloons and certain fish too, I feel like I remember balloons floating through your town twice, maybe 3 times a day and that was back when I used to play Animal Crossing ALL DAY. Now, I’ll play for a few hours at a time and see something silly like 3-4 balloons an hour. - Hope
Goodbye to some old faces
Again, I know things have to change for things to improve but I miss some of the series regulars that were seemingly left out of New Horizons. Tom Nook must have had to let a few people go considering he upped and moved to a deserted island but that doesn’t make their disappearance any less obvious. Characters like Pelly, Tortimer, Mr. Resetti, Harriet, Kapp’n, Brewster, Lyle, Dr. Shrunk, Gracie and so many more seem to have been left behind, even though they have been in the series since the very first games. Like I keep saying though, it is early days and so these characters may make surprise cameos like Labelle, Celeste and Kicks seem to be doing. - Hope
It's easier to decorate your home
Something that has long plagued the Animal Crossing series is how much effort it is to arrange furniture in your house. After an update to New Leaf a few years ago as well as the release of Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer - a game where players just design villagers houses - it was now easier than ever to pick up, move and add furniture into your house. So with the arrival of New Horizons also came this new way of redecorating. Nook also introduces a customisation ability that fits in with the crafting element of the game, most items you find/craft/buy can be customised to have different features and colours! Within reason that is. - Hope
The island customisation options offered in New Horizons are absolute game changers and like nothing we’ve ever seen before in Animal Crossing. Being able to choose where villagers' houses and public buildings go, having path-creation (that’s right! No more drawing your own path and displaying each design individually on the ground!) and terraforming capabilities, being able to place furniture outside and build fencing around anything - you can make your island your home! That is unless you have a diagonal bridge you want to pave up to or buildings that stand in the way of your vision. Then it can get pretty infuriating. You can even decide if you want your island located in the Northern or Southern hemisphere; if you want the seasons in game to reflect your real life seasons, which had literally never been done before in the series. - Both
A good amount of new items
Almost a month into playing the game, a large percentage of the furniture and clothing I own seem to be brand new additions which is great to see. Some furniture sets from previous games appear to have been reworked including the Lovely furniture series, which has seemingly become the “Cute” furniture series. Being able to craft basic furniture using wood from island trees is a great new feature as it allows the player to set up a reasonable home fairly quickly, without having to wait for certain pieces to show up in Nook’s Cranny. - Rachel
A Choice of Villagers (Kind of)
Something that almost every Animal Crossing fan can agree on is that sometimes, you get bad villagers. Not to name names (BAROLD) but there are some characters that just aren’t as cute or aren’t as nice as others so when they randomly decide to turn up in your town, it can be quite distressing. One new feature in New Horizons that was welcomed with open arms is the ability to invite villagers to live on your island. When visiting surrounding islands, players sometimes encounter random villagers on their travels and if you’ve got the space, you can convince them to move on in! This means you can be a bit more selective with who lives on your deserted island and also meant that I was able to invite lifelong favourite Marina to come and live on my island! (Pictured above). - Hope
An item drop off box for all the night owls
A small but useful new addition to the Animal Crossing series is the Item Drop Off Box that appears outside Nook’s Cranny. This little box means that even if Nook’s is closed, you can still drop off things you find and want to sell. You do get paid a little less for it though and the money doesn’t arrive in your bell pouch right away. But hey, there’s gotta be some consequence for trying to avoid talking to Timmy and Tommy! This feature just allows players who like to have a quick game of ACNH in the middle of the night to do so with ease. In fact, this is basically encouraging it! - Hope
Museum make over
I defy anyone to take a look at the updated museum in New Horizons and not be blown away at how beautiful it is. We’ve gone from a museum with 4 rooms to a large multi room, educational facility. The museum now includes: a tunnel and peepholes so you can get up close and personal with the fish, a butterfly room and even a height chart in the fossil section so you can compare your height with all your favourite villagers! This is the first place my friends and I visit when in each others towns, it's just so serene and fun to explore - even if everyone's museums are mostly laid out the same! - Hope
With all these new features, comes one new device to keep track of them all. New Horizons introduced the Nook Phone which has apps for everything from crafting recipes, to your ‘critterpedia’ - which keeps track of everything you’ve ever caught - a keyboard to talk with friends, a map, camera and even more! This stuff would usually be stored in your menu but it’s nice to have it in this new, modern format. - Hope
(Almost) Nothing is permanent
It may look easy but designing your very own deserted island can be a tough task to those of us that are perfectionists. This is made even harder when you can only unlock things gradually (that is, unless you cheat the game and time travel!). In past games, this meant that deciding where to put someone’s home or a facility could be a tough call to make - as who knows what you’ll want to put in its place later in the game! In New Horizons, Nintendo made things slightly easier. For the small price of something between 10,000 - 30,000 bells Nook can just up and move buildings, homes, bridges etc. for you! It can be tricky though when you only want to move a building a couple of inches and the game will only let you move it into a completely empty area, meaning you have to then move it again for another 10,000 bells. - Hope
So we’ve touched upon island customisation but now we also have the option to make our own character completely customisable; from skin tone, hair style/colour, eye style/colour, nose/mouth type and even face blush colour! If you’ve played any of the previous Animal Crossing games, you’ll know how difficult it would be ending up with an appearance you were happy with. Your look was determined by answering random questions that had nothing to do with your appearance at the start of the game. It would be the same for hairstyle changes too! The only way to decide what you would look like before the grand reveal was to look up face/hair guides online. Something we are all too familiar with growing up with Wild World. - Hope
That's all for now! A big thank you to Rachel who took the time out of her day to write her excerpts for me, I really had fun collaborating with her on this and I can see this becoming a more regular thing! If you would like to find out more about Rachel you can find her Instagram here! You can also scroll down to see our in-game passports!
For more Animal Crossing posts from me, see what else I have to offer on here as well as all my other video game posts on nerdoutwordout.com!