March 21, 2020
Animal Crossing New Horizons: Bug’s First Day
Bug proudly shows off the Tiger Butterfly she’s caught in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”Source: The Burgundy Zine
I’m not even going to bother explaining what it took in order to get my hands on a Nintendo Switch and a copy of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” in time for the release date. All that matters is I got it and I love it.
A Bit of Context…
For those who may be unfamiliar, “Animal Crossing” is a Nintendo series that’s been around for about two decades now (feeling old yet?).
In each installment of this casual life-simulator, you’re a human villager who’s starting their new life in a town full of quirky animals with a lot of personality.
Even in the last installment, “Animal Crossing: New Leaf,” where you serve as the town mayor, you start the game indebted to Tom Nook. This sly little tanuki swiftly swindles you into a home and persuades you to keep expanding it as you pay off your mortgage and loans.
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is no exception. After setting down your tent on this deserted island, Nook presents you with an itemized bill.
Tom Nook tells Bug that she owes him 49,800 Bells, which is equally to 5,000 NookMilesSource: The Burgundy Zine
Yeah, 49,800… Let that marinate for a while.
But, don’t fret. Tom Nook tells you he has a better plan in mind. Rather than paying him in bells, you can repay your debt with “NookMiles,” which are accumulated as you live out your life and accomplish different milestones around the island.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
“My new life is underway…Source: The Burgundy Zine
I can do whatever I want!
After you’ve named and created your character, you land on a deserted island with two random villagers, Tom Nook, and his nephews Timmy and Tommy Nook.
Unlike the other Animal Crossing games, your appearance isn’t determined by a personality quiz at the beginning of the game.
Instead, you’re allowed to choose your hair and facial features, which you can customize at any time in the game for free using the “wooden table mirror.”
The wooden mirror is unlocked on your second day of island living by finding the recipe in a “Message in a Bottle.”
Unlocking the DIY-recipe for the wooden table mirror in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
On your first day, there are various tasks that’ll familiarize you with the basic controls and allow you to learn how to easily essential tools.
That’s right – craft. Although you can buy tools from Nook Stop, crafting is a new and essential part of New Horizons.
Purchasing DIY-recipes and tools at the Nook StopSource: The Burgundy Zine
While crafting may sound a bit out-of-place for an Animal Crossing game, the feature integrates quite fluidly into the gameplay. It’s a refreshing dynamic that immerses you further into island living.
It’s also worth mentioning that your tools will wear and break as you use them, so you’ll need to keep crafting new ones.
“Oh no! I guess that’s it for my flimsy fishing rod…”Source: The Burgundy Zine
There are other additional features like pole vaulting and placing furniture outside that add another layer to the series.
New Horizons feels like the most customizable and diverse Animal Crossing without putting a damper on the charm the series is known and loved for. If anything, it enhances the game in ways long-time Animal Crossing fans have been craving.
A few new features in Animal Crossing: New Horizons: pole vaulting, painting your face, placing furniture outside, and downloading DIY recipes to your Nook PhoneSource: The Burgundy Zine
Of course, there are plenty of aspects that’ll feel natural to those familiar with Animal Crossing, like fishing, catching bugs, digging up bells and fossils, as well as bonding with your villagers.
While we’re on the topic of villagers, I began the game with “Diva” and “Sterling.” Diva is a sisterly frog who may not the easiest on the eyes, but she’s quickly grown on me.
Sterling wouldn’t have necessarily been my first choice either, but I’ve always found the jock-personality villagers pretty entertaining, so I don’t mind him.
Of all the villagers though, I’m really REALLY hoping I get Gaston to move onto my island, somehow. He’s held a special place in my heart ever since “Animal Crossing: Wild World” for the original DS, and it would be so endearing to have him join me in New Horizons.
Anyways, after the introduction – which is pretty long – the residents toast to the island you name and Nook appoints you as the “Resident Representative.”
The residents toast to the start of their new life on the islandSource: The Burgundy Zine
That’s right – my villager’s name is “bug” and my island is named “pickle.”
Bug’s Animal Crossing New Horizons passportSource: The Burgundy Zine
From there, you’re encouraged to explore and catch the wildlife that’s native to the island. In exchange for donating your finds to Nook, he’ll give you DIY recipes for the basic toolset.
Once you’ve unlocked all the tools, Nook will call Blathers and brag about how diverse the native species are. As a museum curator, Blathers is naturally inclined to join you on the island. You’ll be able to pick where he sets up his tent and he’ll move in the next day.
Catching fish, hermit crabs, and setting up Blathers’ tentSource: The Burgundy Zine
For convenience’s sake, I placed Blathers’ tent near the island plaza.
And if you’re wondering why my eye looks like that, well… I got stung by bees.
Getting stung by bees in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
Once you set up Blathers’ tent, you won’t be able to donate specimen to Nook anymore, so I’d advise holding on to what you catch until the next day.
If you wander around, you’ll also stumble upon “Dodo Airlines” and meet Orville, but you won’t be able to travel or use the post office feature until the next day, either.
Meeting Orville on your first day of Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
Time Traveling in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Time traveling is a well-known secret and often-abused “cheat” in the Animal Crossing series.
In previous installments, you had the option to change the date and time within Animal Crossing itself.
However, New Horizons doesn’t offer that – and if it does, I just haven’t figured it out yet.
Instead, you have to change the date and time on your Nintendo Switch itself.
I’m impatient and let’s be honest: if I were to actually play the game day-by-day I’d either end up glued to my Switch, or I’d put the game down and get so side-tracked by “adulting” in real life that I’d probably not touch Animal Crossing: New Horizons for a solid six-months.
So, I bit the bullet and time traveled.
Animal Crossing New Horizons: Day Two
Tom Nook makes an announcement on the second day of Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
Now that it was tooootally “March 21st, 2020” at 1:00 PM and some odd-minutes, I could get acquainted with Blathers and continue exploring pickle island.
Meeting Blathers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Blathers gives the player the DIY recipe for the vaulting pole and shovel, then explains what he’ll need in order to open up a museum on the islandSource: The Burgundy Zine
Upon meeting Blathers, he’ll give you the DIY recipes for the vaulting pole and shovel so you can venture to uncharted island territory and dig up fossils for his museum.
In order to unlock the museum, you’ll need to donate 15 specimens to Blathers. The specimen can be fish, bugs, or fossils after he’s assessed them.
Blathers: “And though bugs are the bance of my existence, rest assued the wretched thing will get the best of care here.”Source: The Burgundy Zine
“Bugs are the ‘bane of his existence,'” my partner XtaSeay turned and said to me.
“Yeah, the dude hates bugs,” I replied.
“No, no, I mean, bugs are the bane of his existence and your name is ‘bug,'” he explained.
In any case, it’s not too difficult to gather 15 critters for your new pal. But, you won’t be able to donate anything to Blathers once you accomplish this, so I’d advise holding onto your finds until the museum is open.
Blathers will continue to assess fossils for you until the tent closes for construction of the museum, but he won’t accept them.
Blathers: “Yes! Huzzah! Hooray! We have acquired the number of specimens required!”Source: The Burgundy Zine
Aw, he’s a real hoot, ain’t he?
Meeting Gulliver in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Meeting Gulliver and collecting his lost “communicator parts” on the beachSource: The Burgundy Zine
On the second day, I also met Gulliver, the dazed seagull who has a reputation for getting stranded from his ship.
Gulliver will ask you to find “communicator parts” for his Nook Phone so he can call for help and be reunited with his sea crew.
Finding the communicator parts isn’t very self-explanatory. In fact, it went right over my head, so I spent a good five-minutes running up and down the coast of pickle island before my best friend Google explained what I had to do.
In short, you have to keep an eye out for these tiny, little holes on the beach that shoot up water. Ordinarily, those holes are how you find clams, but when Gulliver’s on the island you’ll find communicator parts instead.
After helping Gulliver out, he tells you he’ll mail you a thank you gift.
Gulliver: Be sure to check your mail in a few days. I’m gonna send you somethin’ that’ll knock your flippers off!Source: The Burgundy Zine
Repaying Your Debt and Redeeming NookMiles
Repaying your debt to Tom Nook in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
As I went about my merry way on day two, I accumulated enough NookMiles to pay off my debt and begin building a house.
Once you become a homeowner, you’re entitled to “NookMiles+,” which is just another way to keep racking up the miles. Rather than completing specific goals, NookMiles+ are mini-objectives that award you for just going about and completing ordinary tasks throughout your day.
You also unlock the ability to redeem your NookMiles for different goodies at the “Nook Stop Terminal.” I chose to redeem the recipes for upgraded DIY tools and the tool ring.
Unlocking the upgraded tools and tool ring in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
The upgraded tools will allow you to craft a regular axe to cut down trees on the island. Then, you can remove the stump with any shovel.
Cutting down trees in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
Speaking of which, my in-game mom sent me some oranges in the mail that I’d like to plant.
Planting an orange tree in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
With Blathers busy, Gulliver saved, and my debt repaid, I had the rest of day two to enjoy fishing, designing custom patterns, and decorating my tent.
Fishing, designing, and decorating the tent in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSource: The Burgundy Zine
Why, I’d say my humble abode is coming along *cue Larry David voice* pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Bug’s Two Cents
5 out of 5 bells
So far, there isn’t an ill-word I can say about Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
I’ve grown up along with the series and often credit it for shaping me into the adult I am today: I love bugs, I write letters, and I love to decorate (especially with knick-knacks). Plus, this little video game is the whole reason I have my collection of 87 plants.
I’ve been waiting for a new Animal Crossing game since the Nintendo Switch was announced in 2016 and I have to say it was well worth the wait: the graphics are stunning, the gameplay is highly immersive, and the new features make the player feel more connected with the world of Animal Crossing than ever.
Overall, Animal Crossing: New Horizons delivers on its hype and most definitely lives up to (and maybe even beyond) its predecessor, Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of the series or just getting your paws on Animal Crossing, you owe it to yourself to dive into New Horizons ASAP.
“Look! I dug up 1,000 Bells!”Source: The Burgundy Zine
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