One of the biggest components of Animal Crossing games is designing and expanding your home. The latest addition to the series, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, gives you a huge amount of control from the very beginning of the game by letting you choose the island layout and where to pitch your tent. Here's what to keep in mind when deciding.
Choose your island
One of the first decisions you'll be asked to make in a new game of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is to pick the layout of the deserted island you'll be moving to. You'll get a choice of four maps that all follow a similar basic layout, featuring a river, beach, open grasslands, some elevated areas, and some rocky sections along the shore. You'll be moving into the largest open area, which also houses Resident Services, a hub for crafting, commerce, and other activities throughout the game.
Resident Services can't be moved, so make sure you like where it is. It will always be in a fairly centralized spot, but you'll want there to be plenty of open space around it for other buildings you'll be adding later as your deserted island turns into a bustling village. You won't be able to cross rivers initially, so you should also make sure you have everything you need in your starting zone. The biggest thing you could miss out on is a pond, which is the only place to catch some of the game's fish. You should be able to find a winner from the four choices you're given, but if you're really picky, you can restart the game and get a fresh selection.
Pitch your tent
Once you've picked out your island map, it's time to choose where on it you'll be living. When you visit the entrepreneurial raccoon Tom Nook at Resident Services, he'll give you a tent you can place anywhere in the starting area. The tent will be converted to your home once you performed enough tasks to earn the Nook Miles required to pay off the loan Nook gives you for all your starting supplies.
Like with Resident Services, you'll want to leave plenty of room around your tent to expand. You're probably going to want space for a bunch of outdoor furniture and a garden, and it's certainly nice to have some water and trees nearby for easy access to a fishing spot and resource gathering. Those features, and the location of Resident Services, are the only things you really need to be worried about.
While two other residents start on your island, they won't pitch their tents until you've chosen your spot. They'll pick out tentative places for themselves that are about equidistant from you, but they're happy to take advice if you want to choose a location for them. You can leave them be or bring them closer to make it more convenient to visit.
Don't worry too much
By upgrading Resident Services, you'll eventually be able to move your home, so these decisions aren't really permanent. The moving fees are fairly high, especially in the early game, so choose wisely, but don't stress too much about getting things perfect. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch for a reason since it's so chill and relaxing.
Start from scratch
Relax and spend time turning a deserted island into a thriving village by gathering resources and building tools. Upgrade your tent into a house and decorate it to show off your style.
Nadine is a freelance writer for iMore with a specialty in all things Nintendo, often working on news, guides, reviews, and editorials. She's been a huge Nintendo fan ever since she got to pet her very own Nintendog, and enjoys looking at Nintendo's place in the video game industry. Writing is her passion, but she mostly does it so that she can pay off her ever-growing debt to Tom Nook. Her favorite genres are simulation games, rhythm games, visual novels, and platformers. You can find her at @stopthenadness on Twitter, where she'll more than likely be reposting cute Animal Crossing content.
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