Question Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Jan 14, 2020

I know, not a PC game. Sue me.

Way back in 2005 I was 17 years of age when Animal Crossing: Wild World first launched on Nintendo DS. I loved the game's visuals and picked it up on a whim, not really knowing what to expect from the game. It was first party Nintendo so it had to be good. Spoiler alert: I didn't like it very much. It looked lovely and I really enjoyed interacting with the villagers, but the customisation felt a bit lacking and the activities you could partake in were fairly uninspired. Young me didn't really care for a slow-paced life sim, I was too busy playing my Diablo 2's and my World of Warcrafts. I put Animal Crossing aside and never went back for future generations of the game.

Fast-forward to 2020 and a new game in the series is on the horizon (har-har). I just watched yesterday's Nintendo Direct on the game and I'm suddenly feeling the urge to jump back in. I am 31 years old now and sitting down with a laid-back life sim seems like it will be the highlight of the day in a busy adult life. Suddenly the fishing and the bug hunting on a deserted island seems like a fantastic way to spend an hour or two. There's so much more to do now, though! You can set up camp where you want to instead of where the game tells you, chop down some trees to build yourself furniture, customise your island and terraform to your heart's content while you're ticking off goals on your NookPhone and racking up Nook Miles so you can pay off that Getaway Package and buy yourself a proper house.


You get to decide which villagers will live with you on your island and there's only about 400 of them to choose from, no big deal! You can finally place furniture and props outside now, and customising your house can be done through a proper editor! You can even fill up an entire museum with fantastic exhibits of your exploits and catch an expeditionary flight to a nearby island where you will be able to find goodies and animals that aren't native to your own location. There's so much to this game now and it looks absolutely fantastic.

I guess I'm going to grab a key for this game and preload, 'cause I can't wait to look over that New Horizon. What about you?
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: Zoid and B4ssT1tan
May 2, 2020
Unfortunately for me, I didn't know anything about Animal Crossing until this year when one of my friends was excited about ACNH coming out. I saw a glimpse of the headlines about it but didn't really pay attention. My friend started bringing her switch playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a couple weeks before the lockdown. I didn't really see a reason for getting a switch in my life. (prior to the lockdown.)

Till all hell went loose. Right now I regret not having a Switch and ACNH during the lockdown and I'm currently losing my insanity. While I lay awake in front of the PC, my friend post pics of her adventures in the game. Don't worry, I'm getting a Switch and ACNH around the end of this month so it's all right, I can still hold on. From its trailers and little bits of gameplay, it's my kind of game and I can't wait to play.
  • Like
Reactions: Zoid


Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
Thanks for doing this write-up, @Rensje

I bought New Horizons a couple of weeks ago as my introduction to the Animal Crossing series. I wanted something that could help me relax in a time when I'm feeling stressed from long hours working remotely, grieving over the loss of a family member, and feeling generally beaten-down by the state of my country and the world.

Animal Crossing New Horizons has been the perfect game to provide that relaxing escape for me. When I turn on my Switch and jump into my island I take a vacation from stress. I've played very few games that are so wholly peaceful. I'll spend a half hour just wandering around my beautiful museum, admiring its exhibits as they slowly come to life.

I could quibble with some of the mechanical game design, but I find that I don't want to, because it seems to go against the positive spirit of the game, so instead I will highlight one of my favorite aspects of New Horizons: the sound design. Since my discussion includes some mention of early/mid game features, I'll put it in a spoiler warning just in case you want to discover all of these things for yourself.

Whether its the gentle sound of the breeze blowing through trees, the soft drone of a fan in resident services, or the way that the game music becomes quieter and faintly distant on the beach to leave room for the wash of waves against the sand, the sound effects in ACHN are consciously designed to put the player at ease, even if the player doesn't recognize it.

Each musical track and variation on the animal crossing theme also serves a deeper purpose in addition to simply providing a pleasant soundtrack. The tranquil acoustic guitar "camping" music that wafts across your island when you first arrive grows subtly richer and more confident as you explore and new residents join your community. The soft steel drum in the mystery island theme takes your mind right to the tropics and perfectly suits your mini-vacations away from your home island. The museum theme's variations change subtly to suit each exhibit, moving from a stately, floating piano and bass clarinet melody in the lobby to a covered, echoing variation in the dimly lit fossil exhibit.

I love the way the musical backdrop of your island reflects your progress in the game. As your island village grows and develops, so does its musical soundscape. After you unlock resident services, the music in your town will change throughout the day, with jaunty-mid day melodies reflecting an increasingly active island, and softer, jazzy tunes in the evening bringing the activity of the day to a close. Residents will begin to congregate in the town plaza and sign along with the game music, harmonizing dynamically with it and with any instruments you have crafted. As you progress, you can also create your own piece of music that will play from resident services, reflecting the identity you're creating for your town.
I think the sound design in Animal Crossing New Horizons is masterfully done and a wonderful example of how conscious design can faithfully serve a game's core purpose.


Latest posts