‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ improves on previous games in series

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Claire Meyer

The first "Animal Crossing" game, titled "Animal Crossing" was released on April 14, 2001.

The subtle buzz of cicadas fills the air as waves softly rock against the beachfront. Bugs fly about and fish swim peacefully. The island is full of life as villagers go about their daily routines. After watering flowers, one can notice that the water glistening on the flower petals closely resemble the stars shining in the night sky. Players around the world have waited eight years to make their own island paradise.

The “Animal Crossing” series has had plenty of well-received titles. It’s last main release was “Animal Crossing: New Leaf in 2012 for the 3DS, while the last spin-off release was “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in 2017 for mobile. Regardless, for many it’s been a long and agonizing wait for “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” The game was released Friday, March 20 for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite for $60 in the U.S.

“New Horizons” is the ultimate “Animal Crossing” game. It keeps many adored features from previous games while adding new ones to keep things fresh. These new features fit well in the game and improve the quality of life in “New Horizons.”

‘New Horizons’ gives players the freedom to unleash their creativity in brand new ways. ”

— Alayshea Stewart, 11

To name some returning features, “New Horizons” presents many familiar faces, like Tom Nook and Isabelle, who veterans of the series and newcomers alike can enjoy, along with some new villagers never seen before. The Museum also makes a return in “New Horizons,” encouraging players to collect many different types of bugs, fish and fossils to fill up the exhibits.

However, the setting is completely different from older titles. Previous games had players move into an already established town, while “New Horizons” puts the player into a completely deserted island that they can build up however they want. Players can spend their time talking to fellow villagers, fishing, catching bugs or playing with friends online.

“New Horizons” gives players the freedom to unleash their creativity in brand new ways, which is a simple factor that elevates the game above previous iterations of the series. Previous titles limited the player and only allowed them to decorate the inside of their homes. Not only does “New Horizons” let the player decorate their home, but they can decorate the entirety of their islands. Later on in the game, the player can even unlock the ability to ‘terraform’ their island, meaning the player can change the land itself. The addition of these features truly allows players to make their island their paradise.

The addition of these features truly allows players to make their island their paradise.”

— Alayshea Stewart, 11

Another noticeable characteristic in “New Horizons” compared to previous titles is the incredible upgrade in graphics. With the power the Nintendo Switch provides, even the little details can be easily observed. Whether it’s the flower petals blowing in the wind, or the villagers singing their favorite song, these subtleties show how much effort developers put into the game.

“New Horizons” also introduces multiplayer to the series. For the first time, up to eight different players can play on one island online. While there are some limitations when hosting players on an island, it’s still enjoyable to run around with friends. 

While “New Horizons” is an amazing game, it is not for everyone. Like previously stated, there isn’t a ‘goal’ given to the player. For those who love fast-paced action games, “New Horizons” may not be a good game for them. However, for players it does appeal to, “New Horizons” is no doubt currently one of the best games worth investing time into. With the new features “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” offers, players will find themselves in a world perfect for escaping the troubles that come with everyday life.