Affiliate links within this post may be commissionable.
I picked up Animal Crossing New Horizons on its launch day, and I’m still playing it today. I don’t care how you play or choose to enjoy Animal Crossing but this is my little Animal Crossing story… It’s a deeply personal story actually…
I have played every Animal Crossing game ever since the first one – at least those that were brought over for American Gamers stateside that is.
I like the relaxing gameplay, and I play many similar games such as Harvest Moon, Atelier, and Rune Factory, just to name a few. Other similar games include the Sims, “Tycoon” type games, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Sim City, Zoo Tycoon, and indie games like Terraria or Stardew Valley, or taking it back old school style with Azure Dreams. Or Zelda Breath of the Wild other open world PC games like Elder Scrolls or Fallout Or Red Dead Or … Basically any type of semi open world game that allows you to craft or farm or build a village or customize things in kinda a never ending kinda almost aimless type of gameplay…
Now the problem with all of these games is that after awhile, inevitably, they all become tiresome, and dull, and boring, no exceptions. And the rate at which such boredom sets in is dependent upon 2 things, one the game itself, how large the world is, how much there is to do, etc, and 2 being how much time you spend playing said game… And adding a 3rd, being who you have to play it with.
Now in the case of animal crossing new horizons… here’s where my story gets personal and different from your story… so your experiences may vary…
The game had just come out, and I was so excited, I had the game for maybe 3 or 4 days… when tragedy struck… I became seriously ill. I don’t get personal on this blog very often… and I’ll spare you the details in what is meant to be a game review… but I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, which happened while I was playing the game one morning… I began having grand mal seizures and was hospitalized. Eventually the seizures lessened and are more controlled but only due to medication which has other side effects in and of itself. And when you are sick… not only does your health change but so does your mental state, and I was shocked, depressed, scared, and had about a million questions… Even now… almost 3 months later… I’m sitting here as I type this while wearing a heart monitor as tests are being done still to determine the cause of my seizures.
Now not all Epilepsy is caused by flashy lights, in fact, only a small percent of Epilepsy is caused by “photo sensitivity” – but it was still advised that I limit my screen time accordingly until tests have been able to rule out that cause. I’ve had MRI, EEG, ECG, you name it, I’ve had it these past 3 months. Being in and out of hospitals, and because of Covid19, also having to do testing at home as well.
Needless to say, between doctor visits, hospital stays, medical testings, procedures, my depression, and health factors, I didn’t have a lot of time for animal crossing… so much so to the point where I didn’t play it for over a month after about 3 days into it after release…
While everyone else online was time traveling and had the perfect islands and perfect villagers already, I was just beginning my life in Animal Crossing.
For many, Animal Crossing was a way to connect during the Pandemic when you couldn’t go outside or see friends or family or do anything in real life, Animal Crossing was dubbed as the game everyone needed right now.
And because of the Pandemic and Unemployment and no school for the kiddos, people were playing it hours and hours on end… That’s never been how I like to play these games… I feel like they aren’t meant to be played that way… They’re meant to be spent maybe an hour at the most. Some days I only spend 15-20 minutes.
I find this keeps me wanting to play every day…. No wonder so many other players are burnt out and have either left the game completely, or taking a long break now 3 months after release…
Meanwhile overhere, I just built my Campsite 2 days ago, and just opened Able Sisters Tailors today, and still haven’t filled my Museum, and only have maybe 5 animals living on my island currently.
So for me, personally, the game is still fresh, and yes, I know eventually, inevitably, I too will grow tired of the game… move on to other more interesting games, games with objectives, games with story, games with combat, games with more meat and more depth…. but for now… I’m still enjoying Animal Crossing New Horizons….
I started the game with Flo and Lyman, I later learned everyone starts with one Uchi (Caring) Female and One Jock Male character. My island has grown a tiny bit now with Drago, Rodney (I know everyone hates him, but uhm I kinda like the teal color – honestly lol.), and Olive. I might eventually kick Drago, Rodney, and/or Flo out for more cute, pink, pastel, kawaii looking characters, but for now, there’s room for everyone still.
I still only have one bridge in my village, and I just have wild trees, flowers, and shrubs everywhere.
I’ve downloaded some QR code custom outfits, and feel cute in the game. I also feel it looks a little bit like me. I appreciate the customization aspects. I like the ability to design an island and fish or catch bugs (although bugs creep me out irl – I feel ya Blathers lol). I love though to go look at the museum, the bug section is so calming, the trees and sunlight, and the aquarium section, and the massive dinosaurs. I like going to museums in real life too, so that’s not a surprise.
There are some things already that I don’t like about the game.
The rapid rate of progression, I was advised that after building the campsite and getting KK Slider to visit the island, the game is basically over. There’s nothing new to strive for or achieve, except for just redesigning your island, moving buildings around, expanding your house, deepening your friendships with the villagers, enjoying in-game events, and collecting items, or fishing, or whatever you like to do in the game.
But the fact that the progression ends in what has maybe taken me 2-3 weeks, is a tad disapointing.
The island also seems small… It’s been years since I last played animal crossing and I can’t recall how large former islands in previous installments of Animal Crossing series were, but this one feels really small, and can only hold a max of 10 villagers…
Some people dislike that it’s one village per switch console, but I’m really the only one who plays so it isn’t too bothersome to me.
I do like that you can play co-op with other people – I’ve tried to get my boyfriend into it but he just isn’t into games much, especially not “anime” type ones like Animal Crossing. He still lives in a tent in my game even lol. He played it one time on launch day with me and that was it.
I would like us to be able to just fish or walk or explore together, but the small island and the awkward sometimes co-op kinda is a buzz-kill. Why don’t they make split screen games any more? I know maybe having 2 switch consoles or switch lites or something could solve that problem, but I’m not paying hundreds just to have more screen space or more freedom.
I hear horror stories about people robbing your island on internet play, but I haven’t even tried it yet. I added hundreds of people from facebook in a community set up just for the game, but then I got sick, and then just never did anything to visit or invite them to visit me
The communication tools and keyboard also aren’t the best/fastest way to communicate. I dunno if it uses voice too or not. I remember one of the older games used a headset and I find that preferable over the chunky keyboard components.
When it comes to single player, one of the worst flaws is lack of story which for me personally kills my interest in a game faster than anything. I play games 98% just for story alone.
The other major flaw is that most of the items are just for looks or for show. You can’t interact with the vast majority of items on your island. The game would be more fun if the world was more life like and interactive. Like seeing little animations for example using a stove, roasting a marshmallow, playing a guitar, using a vending machine, whatever, just something, to make the world more dynamic.
Still flaws aside, Animal Crossing stands the test of time, for being cute, colorful, pure, peaceful, and being about anything YOU want to do with it. Your game, and your story, and your experiences in animal crossing – or similar games like it – are your own! What you do is up to you. That’s the best thing about it. The cute colorful animal characters are just a plus.
Overall: 61/90 68% D+ “Average Game For Girls”
Geeky: 1/5 – Not much to do, small island, few residents at one time, 1 island per console, gets repetitive fast, some weird co-op controls/experiences, difficult online communication tools, definite room for improvement here.
Sweetie: 5/5 – Cute colorful animal residents, customization, and relaxing enjoyable gameplay, wholesome, pure, cute moments with real or online friends or computer controlled animal characters
Gameplay 5/10 – I put it right in the middle, it has its moments, because in the beginning it’s fresh and fun, but gets tiresome and dull, and the small island and other limitations I’ve mentioned throughout the article put some snags in the gameplay for sure.
Story: 0/10 – Non-existent unless you create your own in your head or with your friends.
Graphics: 10/10 – totally cute – totally my aesthetic
Characters: 6/10 – Cute as they are – they are also empty hollow shells and not very interesting at all, due to lack of story, lack of any character development, story or character progression or growth, I can’t give full marks, but there are lots of them (around 320 of em), and most, if not all, are cute. So they have that going for them at least.
Music: 6/10 – cute/catchy but a little repetitive, you can change your island tune, as you can customize just about everything about this game
Customization: 10/10 – gotta give some extra points her for that above mentioned remark, you can create any kind of house, with any kind of decor, any kind of character with any kind of outfit, any kind of outdoor or indoor furniture, gardens, plants, etc… even customize the music in the game. You craft and create a lot of stuff and gather materials, that’s the main objective. And if that’s what you find fun, this game is boss.
Cuteness: 10/10 – in a world filled with pandemics and violence and fear, Animal Crossing is the light this world needs right now…
Replay Value: 8/10 – Although it does get boring, you could endlessly keep wiping your island, changing in/out villagers, moving houses, landscaping, creating not just gardens, but waterfalls, rivers, whatever you wanted, planting various plants, and partaking in limited time events which often reward new rare and limited items.
Overall: 61/90 68% D+ “Average Game For Girls”