Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a laidback game for Nintendo Switch that lets you spend an enormous amount of time building the perfect home on a deserted island. You'll gather plenty of resources, craft furniture, and eventually invite animals to move in too. If you haven't played an Animal Crossing game before or want to get familiar with the new features and a refresher on starting strategy, here are a few tips that will improve your experience.
Choose your friends
Up to eight players -- four locally and four more online -- can share the same island and play at the same time. Make sure everyone is involved when you start up so you can look at the map and pick a layout you all like. You start with a tent and will eventually upgrade to a home. Choose where to pitch your tent — options include the beach and a garden-ready grassland. You'll also be picking out homes for a few AI neighbors. Make sure you have enough room to build out and develop your island dreamhome.
Check your phone
One of the primary new features in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the NookPhone, which effectively acts as the game menu. The phone will provide you with a constant steam of challenges like pulling weeds, catching fish, or crafting tools. Complete them and you'll earn a currency dubbed Nook Miles that will let you purchase certain items and travel to other islands. These are things you're going to be doing anyways, so you might as well be efficient and get paid! The phone is also the way to initiate multiplayer sessions, view the map to figure out where you are, and find out what DIY and crafting recipes you've unlocked. That last one will be key to upgrading equipment and items. You'll gather recipes by going about your regular business on the island.
Pretting much everything has a use in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and you'll want to grab tons materials for building items, some of which will enable you to gather still more materials. Your NookPhone tells you what materials you need for whatever you want to craft and ideally you'll sync up your search for weeds, branches, stones and other goods with a challenge so you're also getting currency. Once you've gathered everything you need, swing by Tom Nook's workbench and get crafting. You can also collect bugs, fossils, and fish and bring them to the scholarly owl Blathers, who will let you know what you've found and put it on display in his museum.
Meet the neighbors
Check in regularly with the other residents of the island as they might give you items, teach you recipes, or have tasks that they want you to accomplish in exchange for payment. Eventually the island will also have shops with changing inventories, so make sure to stop in on those regularly as well since they might be the only way to get some items while you're building up your recipe collection.
Take your time
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is based on a real clock, with projects sometimes taking hours to complete. The encounters you can have also change based on whether it's night or day or the season you're in. This is a game that encourages checking in regularly rather than binging all at once. Luckily its relaxing tone is sure to make it perfect for when you need a little break from reality.
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