Paying off a mortgage may seem like a strange central narrative point for a video game, yet the Animal Crossing series has sent players scrambling to pay Tom Nook their hard-earned Bells for close to two decades. Much more than a life simulator that replaces humans with animals, the Animal Crossing games offer much needed respite from the hectic reality of working to pay off actual mortgages. The newest instalment will return players to the wild world to shake down trees and smack rocks to make money, which is why, after eight years of waiting, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of OnlySP’s most anticipated games of 2020.
New Horizons has been a long time coming and because of this, will deliver a variety of new features. One of the most prominent changes made to the newest addition is the heavy focus on crafting. Previously, players relied on trading or acquiring wealth to fill their homes with their favourite sets of furniture. In addition, a new form of currency called Nook Miles will be introduced. The way these three systems interact is yet to be seen and will definitely bring a new and exciting layer to the beloved franchise.
Customisation has been overhauled in New Horizons, allowing players greater influence over their worlds. The island paradise that will become home lends itself to extensive outdoor customisation and, from what has been revealed so far, players will be able to freely place exterior furniture, choose the location of villagers homes, and even dig dirt paths. Character customisation has also seen new additions which include gender-neutral hair and face options as well as the newly introduced back attachments to create an even greater sense of individuality.
Despite the many features that have been added to the franchise over the years, one simple joy always remains the same: Rover. Loading up the game for the first time to meet an old friend in a new world brings a sense of comfort that can often be lost in our globalised existence. The familiarity of the situation evokes a feeling that mixes nostalgia with the unknown and delivers on the key promise that our favourite friends from the past are still waiting for us.
What makes the new Animal Crossing game so exciting is not fancy new features or updated visuals. Instead, players are drawn back to the friendships that underpin every aspect of the game. The simplicity of the mundane actions remind us how important being a good friend is and that small actions can make a big difference to people around us. Sure, players will have more freedom to customise their worlds, but lots of games offer that experience. Animal Crossing is built on something far more special. That is why on March 20, I will begin my latest adventure in the Animal Crossing universe so that I may be reminded of the delight that the simplest things in life can bring us.