As a long time player I have made many lasting choices in Animal Crossing regarding my town, which would be my pride and joy for a long time to come. If you weren’t already aware, you will likely put hundreds of hours into this addictive series. This time around in New Horizons things are a little different, but depending on your play style there are a few things that are good to keep in mind as you go through the motions of starting your new holiday adventure. This feature contains basic information and nothing that should spoil your experience (this information is compiled from the Nintendo Direct and PAX).
In past games you’re asked a series of questions which would determine your appearance and set your name and town name. This time around you fill out your passport at the airport counter with Timmy and Tommy, including your player name and your initial appearance through a series of menus. You will have to choose a name for your island eventually, so mull on that, but first there is another choice.
Some map examples. The bottom right mirrored would be an example of one west and one south exit
Picking a map
In the past I have known players who have soft reset their game for hours just to get a town map in New Leaf that inspired joy. Once you chose it, that was it, unless you restarted. This time around we will eventually get to modify our island through an island development permit but there are a few limitations to keep in mind.
- You can’t edit or add new river outlets to your island, you will always have two. There are three general orientations: one south and one east, two south, and one south and one west.
- You also cannot edit the beach in any way. So make sure you like the location of the jetty, airport, the rocks on the beach and the section of land jutting over the beach.
- The plaza containing Resident Services is also immovable, so make sure you like its location.
- NOTE: In case you are planning your island from the get go, you can only build up four levels of land (ground level being one) and the top of the fourth is not accessible (i.e. the third layer of cliffs). A tile of grass must also be left between the beach and any water (except where there is an outlet).
There are four maps to choose from, if you don’t like any of them, restart the software for new ones. You also need to choose what hemisphere you want your island to be in, which will affect when each season will occur (do you want a white Christmas or a summer one?). Historically the game has always been set in the Northern hemisphere, but for the first time there is the option for the reversed seasons us Aussies all know here in the Southern hemisphere. Once you’ve made your choice, strap yourself in and take the seaplane to your new island escape.
At your new island
Once you hop off the plane you will go through an orientation of your new island, you will get to glimpse paradise for the first time, what kind of fruit your island has and the two new villagers who are moving with you. This event is sort of like a tutorial and will occur at a fixed time of day instead of the actual time of day you are playing (i.e if you start a new game at night it will be day during this section). Once the orientation is over the game will switch to following real life time as per usual. You get to choose where to place your tent (you can move it later), sort the housing arrangements sorted for your new neighbours and get familiar with your island. At the end of the tutorial you go through a ceremony of formally naming your island. Your island name can have up to ten characters.
The Bell to Nook Mile conversion is pretty sweet, allowing you to spend based on your play style
One of the big things to do in Animal Crossing is making moolah to pay off your debt to Tom Nook. Your mortgage is interest free but you’ll want to pay it off to progress. In New Horizons however, you can use Bells (the main currency in Animal Crossing) or Nook Miles (currency accumulated by completing daily and long term tasks) to pay off your Getaway Package and later on your house. It is tempting when you start to sell everything you get your hands on, but I highly recommend keeping the first of every fish and bug you catch so you can add it to the museum. This game plays in real time so if you sell everything you may have to wait a while to recatch something, especially if you play alone.
If you can, play at different times of day and every day. Things changed daily in Animal Crossing and an hour difference can mean different bugs and fish are available to catch. This includes different types of weather as well, which are even more dynamic in this game. Be curious, keep your eyes peeled for critters and experience something different every day.
Collect resources, be nice to your villagers and experiment with crafting items in order to unlock new possibilities. Crafting is completely free in New Horizons, and also completely optional, you can still buy things if you prefer. But you can save yourself a lot of Bells if you use the items readily available on your island, plus you will likely unlock items and tools faster, as well as potentially upgrades.
I hope, and I know Tom Nook does as well, that you enjoy your experience during the Deserted Island Package. Take off is tomorrow on March 20.