Game preview: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

When virtual life gives you a deserted island to build a community on, make the most of it

Game preview: Animal Crossing:  New Horizons

If an anthropomorphic racoon told you its esteemed company Nook Inc. is offering a ‘Deserted Island Getaway Package’ to live out your days, would you take it? For us, that’s a firm yes. Not just because we jump at the chance when we see ‘Island’ and ‘Getaway’ in the same sentence, but also because this game is from Nintendo’s Animal Crossing series. That means leisurely gameplay, jolly gibberish from townsfolk and cheers of joy and applause for simply setting up a tent. Ah, those good feelings are flooding in already.

That’s the real goal in Nintendo’s non-linear life simulation game – happiness. Ever since 2012’s New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS, gamers have been waiting for the day to build another community with the adorable Tom Nook (business racoon entrepreneur) and Isabelle (secretary Shih Tzu extraordinaire). This time though, it’s all about the semi-easy life, as when Tom Nook says deserted, he really means it.

Players will be plonked on a seasonally-changing island where all they get is a tent. After that, it’s up to you to shake a few trees to pick up branches, gather some stones and build an axe to enable you to chop down trees. Now you can make a fishing rod and pole vault to get over rivers. Keep building, get more equipment, build some more. The simple life.

Animal Crossing players know the drill, but New Horizons breathes new life into the series with its real-time Northern or Southern weather effects depending on where gamers are in the world.

Along with inviting what other animal townsfolk you want on the island, the player’s goal is to create what they think a dreamy deserted island should feel like.
Available March 20 on Nintendo Switch.

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