Like many, many others, I kicked off quarantine in March of 2020 with the newest installment of the ever popular Animal Crossing franchise, Animal Crossing New Horizons. I loved everything about it: the updated graphics (I hadn’t played since the original version on my Gamecube!), the island setting, the calming music, and the sense that here was something I could control when everything in life was so out of control with the pandemic. Now that the first year is more or less over, I thought it would be fun to recap some of my favorite elements of the game and memorable moments as well as talk about what I struggled with and/or hope changes in future updates!
What I Loved
There are so many things to adore about ACNH, from the unlimited potential for creativity to the adorable villagers, the special events to the changing seasons. Below are some of my favorite highlights from my first year playing:
- Cherry Blossom event (though I didn’t love how it overlapped with Bunny Day)
- Starry nights with Celeste.
- That super calming music that plays right around sunset in the summer.
- Shopping for new outfits at the Able Sisters (I LOVE clothes shopping in games whether it’s Animal Crossing or Pokemon lol).
- Fireworks shows in August.
- Bug-Off event and the cute prizes you can get.
- Diving for sea creatures (I loved this update and it’s definitely more fun for me than fishing/catching bugs!)
- Everything about the Halloween event… the ease of getting the DIYs, the costumes, the pumpkins, making my island have a cottagecore aesthetic…really just anything about the Halloween/fall time period in general.
- How magical my island looks blanketed in snow in the winter, coupled with the glowing lights on the trees and the subtle changes to the music to make it have a more winter-y vibe.
- Seeing my villagers having spontaneous BBQ parties in the plaza
- Adorable villagers- my favorites I have are Marshal, Fauna, Stu, Cookie and Whitney
- Getting to play with my husband and taking cute holiday pics with him in the game since we didn’t actually DO anything for any holidays this year.
- Celebrating pretty much all holidays in general on my island. I literally spent my Halloween, Thanksgiving, and NYE playing this game lol.
What I Struggled With
As much as ACNH brought me joy in 2020, there were also things about the game that frustrated me or things about the external community that just made me feel inadequate:
- DIYs- I mentioned above how I loved the Halloween season and a large part of that was because of how accessible the seasonal DIYs were…you could get them from villagers every day, and Timmy and Tommy often sold the actual items in their stores so you could buy/catalog them. However, with most of the other seasonal events the DIYs have been beyond frustrating to obtain. Especially for the maple/mushroom/winter DIYs, where you basically have to shoot them down in balloons (or deal with the Snow Boys…don’t event get me started on them). I don’t have a lot of time to play ACNH during the work week and it would be frustrating to play in a 2-3 hour session on a Saturday and shoot down countless balloons and not even get one single seasonal DIY…
- Design FOMO- Honestly, sometimes the game stresses me out because I see so many INCREDIBLE islands on social media and mine doesn’t event come close. I have certain pockets of my island that I really like but most of it is still definitely a work in progress and/or I don’t have the items I want/need to design it. It sometimes takes the enjoyment out of the game for me when I feel like my island is so barren and I don’t have countless hours to invest in updating my island design seasonally.
- Villagers- Don’t get me wrong, I love my villagers but I feel like they can be kind of dull sometimes? I remember in the OG AC that the villagers would ask you to do tasks for them way more and have a wider variety of dialogue, and aside from the occasional treasure hunt or feud between villagers I feel like 85% of the time they say/do the same things when I interact with them.
- The amount of things to do- I feel like ACNH is very dependent on island design to attract players, because outside of decorating your island and special events there’s really not that much to do. I’ve started playing some farming sims (Harvest Moon, My Time at Portia) and those games have so much content that it really emphasizes how little content there is in ACNH by comparison in terms of daily tasks/things to do.
Despite some of my qualms, I adore ACNH and it’s definitely brought a large amount of joy to my life, especially giving me seasonal events to look forward to while I’m stuck inside my house due to the pandemic (and likely will be for at least another year if I’m being honest). This year I definitely want to focus on continuing to develop my island but with less stress (which will probably mean not tearing things down season to season- I love my pumpkin patch and it was a lot of work so it’s just going to stay year round lol). I also want to trade out some of my lackluster villagers for some of my highly coveted ones (like Beau and Roald) and work on my home’s interior design. I also need to find a way to obtain the seasonal DIYs that I really wanted but missed (RIP mush lamp).
Do you play ACNH? What are some of your loves and pain points surrounding the game? Do you struggle as much as I do with obtaining seasonal DIYs?
Oh man, I did not enjoy balloon farming either! And totally agreed about the cherry blossom event. I missed 3 DIYs and I’ve been waiting all year until the event comes back so I can get them! I got the mush lamp DIY so if you have materials, I would happy to craft some for you! We should visit each other’s islands at some point! I’m in the middle of a redesign at the moment!
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