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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons

    It’s particularly hard to review Animal Crossing: New Horizons before its public launch because there’s just so much about the game I don’t know or can’t try. Right now, I find myself yearning for more variety in my daily activities. Over the course of two weeks, there have been occasional vendors and special guests in my town, offering micro-challenges like “find three large fish” in exchange for being able to sell fish at a slightly higher price. But none of these encounters have felt exciting or dramatically different from the normal day-to-day.
    I can travel to tiny, remote islands to spice things up, but there aren’t any activities to be found there. Mostly they’re just there to help me with additional resources, or to host new villagers I can invite to my town.
    Nintendo has said that it has a yearlong schedule of events planned, starting in early April with cherry blossom season and “Bunny Day,” but these events will roll out as free downloadable content when they’re ready. There should be around one special event per week, if New Leaf is any indication, but we don’t know whether that cadence will continue in New Horizons. If it does, it would alleviate my concerns about variety or the long-term prospects of the game.
    Online functionality is also inaccessible at the time of this writing. Given how crucial multiplayer is in Animal Crossing — whether it’s trading furniture or securing new fruit trees by visiting my friends’ towns — its arrival will certainly be a boon, though I can’t speak to those aspects just yet.
    THE ESCAPE WE NEED

    Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a respite from the current state of the world. I find my general anxiety slowly subside as I run through my town, water my plants, and build furniture for the sassy chicken gentleman living down by the beach. It’s exactly what I need right now.
    There are moments when I look up from a long session and realize that I’ve been ignoring everything around me. Then I take a look around at what actually is going on around me, and realize that maybe I’d better stay in my island paradise for a little while longer.
    Update (Mar. 26): After spending over a week with online connectivity in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I can confirm that the game becomes even more enjoyable with company. Being able to visit a friend’s town to trade fruit or desired furniture enhances the feeling that I’m living in a connected world, rather than being stuck on my own desolate island.
    The online play does have some unfortunate quirks, though. A comically-long connection time that pauses the action for all players in the session (both for departures and arrivals) makes it a bit of a pain to have a gang over to visit. Thankfully there are new, streamlined ways to send gifts and letters to friends without having to visit in-person.
    Despite some online clunkiness, Animal Crossing: New Horizons remains a spectacular game and an easy recommendation for anyone with a Nintendo Switch.

  • #2
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