Video Game Review: “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”

acnhIn the era of social-distancing and self-quarantining, it’s easy to see why people might need an escape, and in an incredible bit of serendipity, Nintendo released the latest installment in the popular Animal Crossing game series on March 20, just as more and more people were finding themselves trapped at home. New Horizons sees players sign up to fly off to a deserted island and begin setting up a small village. Their community begins living out of tents and works their way up to more permanent structures, as the player is tasked with roaming the island in search of materials like wood and stone to build with, and wildlife that can be traded in for a currency called Bells which can be used to buy decorative items. In addition, players also earn Miles that they can trade in for special rewards, including tickets that allow them to visit other special islands for a brief time where they can find more items and even potential new residents for their own village. Between fishing, bug-catching, fossil-hunting, crafting, gardening, and more, there is quite a lot to do here, but to Nintendo’s credit it is never overwhelming. Everything is rolled out gradually and players can move at their own pace. As usual for this series, each sequel is more of an iteration of the core gameplay, building-on previous features and adding a few new ones rather than trying to completely reinvent the wheel. This can make some aspects feel very familiar to returning players, but as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And the ability to craft your entire island as you see fit, really makes this one more engaging than the series has felt since the beginning. An excellent way to slip away to your own tropical paradise, filled with adorable anthropomorphized animal neighbors, and forget about everything going on outside. ★★★★★ – Sean Farrell

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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