Before Spring Break started, I was somewhat excited for “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” to release. Now that the rest of the school year has been moved entirely online, I don’t know what I would do without this game.
“Animal Crossing” is a video game series produced by Nintendo about moving to a new town and making it your home. After the player arrives, they get to make friends with the villagers of the town, decorate their homes and yards, buy and design clothes, catch bugs and fish, and more. New Horizons is the newest game, adding the twist of deserted island life and bringing the series to the Nintendo Switch.
Today when I was playing, I held a party with my villager friends to celebrate the opening of a new shop on our island. Under normal circumstances, I might have thought, “Why don’t I just go hangout with my actual friends instead of my virtual animal friends?” This shows the value this game has right now.
Don’t get me wrong— I’d probably adore this game whether or not the world was facing a pandemic the likes of which no one has seen for decades. The steady progression the game offers as you work your way from a tent to a furnished home and invite more and more villagers to live on your island is so satisfying. It manages to make something like catching bugs with a net something to be excited about, simply because the player can sell them to buy cool clothes.
However, the game is so much more appreciated now by the quarantine we’re all in. I personally haven’t seen any of my friends in days, and beyond that, this virus has made everyone nervous, unsure and scared. A game like “Animal Crossing” serves as the perfect distraction from and replacement for real life right now.
The game moves in real time, as in, when the sun is out in real life, it’s daytime in the game, and the same for nighttime. The game also moves through the seasons throughout the year. These features serve to let players fully forget about the upsetting world they live in now and immerse themselves in their islands. When I would be shopping in the daytime, I can shop in the game, and when I would be with my friends at night, I can sit around the campfire with my villagers in the game as well.
The game isn’t without faults though. It’s clearly made for one person. The limit is one island per console, so when my brother tried to start his own island, he was plopped right into mine. It’s my island, so all major progression can only occur when I’m playing. If he wants to open a shop or invite someone to live there, he can’t. The game's multiplayer is also lacking. What should be two players both having fun instead becomes one player being forced to follow the other around with limited abilities and actions.
Don’t let that discourage you though. This game is perfect for any quarantined person who is looking to get back to their normal life of working, hanging out with friends, and paying off their home loans.