Animal Crossing: New Horizons is officially here! While the game is basically "go relax on an island in a cozy environment," the game, there's plenty to do in it if you know where to look. In fact, those familiar with older iterations are very aware of this and are likely actually hard at work in the game. There are a few little changes, however, even for old hands, so we've compiled a list of helpful tips that should generally prove useful during your time with Nook's new getaway package.
Now, keep in mind, these aren't exactly recipes for success. It's more that there are some handy things to keep in mind as you start playing and exploring. If you're the kind of person that gets easily overwhelmed when starting a new game with such an open-ended world, the simple truth is that you don't really need to do anything at all in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. You can leave every weed untouched and never plant a single flower, if you really want. You won't unlock future upgrades, probably, but that's fine! But if you, say, want to figure out how to get to the upper level of your island as quick as possible, it won't hurt to follow some of our suggestions here. In fact, it should only help.
Have you had a chance to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons as of yet? If so, anything giving you any trouble in the game? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is now available for Nintendo Switch. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the latest and greatest Animal Crossing title right here.
1. Get ready to chill
There's no easy way to put this, but: you're going to have to wait for a lot of stuff. The first day on your island can certainly be productive, but you're not going to be able to venture outside your little predefined space nearly at all. You can't cross rivers, the museum isn't open, and your house will still be a tent. There's also only so many tools you can craft.
But every single, actual day, more and more will become available to you. There's no rush, here, of course. There's nothing wrong with not having the museum open as early as possible, or having a smaller house for longer than the next person. You can take your time, chill out, and just have a bit of fun while fishing, catching bugs, and generally wandering around your little island.
2. Hoard your resources
Even if you're taking your time, you can always gather, gather, gather. Just about everything on your island, from weeds to trash that washes up on the beach, can be useful in one way or another, so it's handy to keep stuff around for the long haul. Some amount of that is simply trash to sell, of course, but more than you might imagine comes in useful for DIY projects, and you'll need plenty of materials to cobble together buildings and other required tidbits in addition to whatever you might want to build on your own.
That said, don't go around destroying what will take time to replace. Pulling up flowers, chopping down trees, and digging up tree trunks might be good fun, but you'll ultimately wish you'd kept them around for the most part as they are easy sources of bugs, wood, and other materials. If it makes something, or you think it might make something, maybe keep it in your home sweet home until at least the first week is up.
3. If your pockets are full, there's always the ground
Remember how we just talked about how you should hoard your resources? Well, there's only so much space in your inventory, and until you gain the ability to use your house's storage, that problem is compounded even further. The solution? Why, it's the ground, of course! Once you run out of room for everything, the ground serves as a handy place to store stuff.
When viewing your inventory, you can select an item from it, and hitting "Place item" will let you simply... place it on the ground. In the case of fish and bugs, little containers pop up to keep them in place, but everything else just sort of sits around, fossils included. Because the museum will likely open after a couple days, as will the shop assuming everything moves along well, clutter shouldn't be a problem for too very long. Remember: when in doubt, throw it out! (Well, not discard it, but you get the idea.)
4. Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade
As previously mentioned, stuff takes some time to really get going. You'll start island life with flimsy versions of the classic tools, for example, and they'll easily break over and over if you let them. In fact, you'll probably have the instinct to upgrade to firmer tools as soon as possible, but the reality is you probably want to save better tools for nearly last, because there's plenty of other odds and ends to upgrade first.
And really, you'll want to upgrade everything else as fast as you can (without stressing out about it, mind you) so that you can start working on other goals. Make sure to prioritize both Blathers' museum and Nook's Cranny, and then the bridge beyond that and new resident plots, so as to swiftly move from "nobody lives here and there's nothing to do" to something more closely resembling a bustling town.
5. Fishing is still very profitable
While it's by no means that premiere way of gathering money in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, fishing is still very profitable. You're liable to find fish in all water sources, and walking away and walking back will often spawn new fish to catch. Comparatively, bugs seem to spawn at a much less continuous rate, but your mileage may vary. (If you can get your hands on a bunch of tarantulas, for example, you've got it made in the shade.)
If you're having any trouble getting Bells for whatever reason, making fishing poles and pulling in stuff from the ocean, lakes, and rivers is an easy income source. Compared to simply selling weeds or fruit, it's an easily renewable resource that won't ever go away. Even when you're out of apples, the ocean will have fish for you.
6. Visiting friends is kind of complicated
Remember how we suggested to just chill, because not everything is available from the start? Well, that goes double for visiting other folks! The airport opens up the day after you start, but in true Nintendo style, that's just the beginning. Remember how the Nintendo Switch has specific friend codes? Well, that's not exactly enough here.
The airport, in addition to letting folks visit randomly generated islands, will let you visit friends, but requires specific "Dodo" codes. Basically, you generate a code, someone else enters it, and they can visit! Alternatively, you can simply open the gates to all your friends, no extra code necessary. Also, playing this via the internet requires a Nintendo Switch Online subscription while doing so locally does not.
In short? Read all the fine print in the airport, and you should be able to set up whatever it is you're wanting to do with little fuss. Once someone's visited, you can add them to a Best Friends List stored in your Nook Phone that should make reconnecting way simpler after the fact. It's the getting to that point that's a little burdensome.
7. It's a marathon, not a sprint0comments
All of these things should help you out with the game. Even in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there are certain pain points that can be overcome with a little planning. But even then, our strongest recommendation is this: Animal crossing is a marathon, not a sprint. You're not looking to speed towards any one specific goal. Instead, there are a bunch of little goals that make living on the island a little more pleasurable.
You want options, and you want them fast? Do all of the stuff mentioned here. You want to just fiddle around, putting furniture together as you please, and burying clams in the sand until night falls? That's fine too! You'll likely end up at the same place, just not quite as quickly. Beyond wanting to accomplish some stuff swiftly, there's basically no long-term benefit to getting everything done right out of the gate. The fish will still be there, the apples will still grow, and Blathers will continue to appraise fossils. Enjoy it all while it lasts.