Animal Crossing Review

The latest installment of the Animal Crossing series, New Horizons expands greatly upon the features of its predecessors. There are bountiful insects, fish, and fossils to hunt down and plenty of furniture to find. For the creative types, new tools can be found in the game, and a wide variety of furniture items are available for players to craft and customize. Animal Crossing: New Horizons features an island that is 100% customizable, allowing your creativity to flow well beyond the confines of your in-game home. With so many customizable features available, there are near-endless possibilities for users to design, decorate, and change their islands within the game, drawing comparisons to games such as Super Mario Maker 2 or Dreams.

A Slow Start

Though the amount of customization is tantalizing, it takes some time for the player to get to a point of unrestrained creativity in the game. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a game with a slow start, causing some to question Nintendo’s decisions while developing the game. Animal Crossing games are often known for their slow-to-start beginnings, but New Horizons takes it to a whole different level. The premise of the game at the start is that the player arrives on a deserted island, inhabited only by a trio of raccoons and two animal villagers. With no mainland, it’s just the player, the other islanders, an expanse of natural reasons, and buildings that slowly accumulate over a span of real-time days. Unlike previous installments where the player starts off in a bustling community with shops and a museum, New Horizons begins with very little to interact with, with some buildings and parts of the island inaccessible for several real-time days.

Similar to past games in the series, New Horizons’ in-game clock syncs with your system’s real-time. Due to this, many features of the game are locked behind a “sleep well”. This system of gameplay is reminiscent of paywalls found in mobile games – instead of paying extra money to unlock more features, New Horizons players must wait literal days before unlocking different things within the game. Requirements must be satisfied before the player can fully explore their island and utilize the game’s new features, leaving little to do during the first few days of owning the game. However, these wait times can be expedited by changing your system clock.

Time Traveling in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

For those who don’t wish to wait in real-time for opportunities to arise within the game, there is a method to alter the times in-game, referred to as “time travel”.

To do this, follow these steps:

1. Enter the settings menu on your Nintendo Switch and scroll down to “Settings”

2. Choose “Date and Time” and turn the Synchronize via Internet Feature OFF

3. Click on “Date and Time” and change the date to at least a day later

4. Return to the home screen and open the game

It’s worth nothing that Nintendo has in-game penalties in place against time traveling, an act they lightly discourage – think of it like using cheat codes in games like The Sims 4 to acquire more money, or quick-saving frequently in Fallout 4. For those who find Animal Crossing: New Horizons unbearably slow to start, time-traveling is a highly recommended method of speeding things up, allowing you to get a head start are unlocking the real, more exciting gameplay and features that come with this latest installment in the series.