As you can see from my villager, It’s been a while since I’ve logged on to Animal Crossing.
If you are already familiar with how Animal Crossing New Horizons works, feel free to skip to the “My Reasons” section.
Introduction To Those Who Are Unfamiliar:
What is Animal Crossing?
What is Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing New Horizons specifically, you may ask? Well, Animal Crossing is a game series that originated in Japan. Animal Crossing New Horizons is the newest addition to the game series that is exclusively played on the Nintendo Switch. In the game, a player’s character is plopped onto a deserted island, along with a raccoon (actually a tanuki) real estate agent and a few other characters, and together they assemble a village on the island. An important note: the player’s character is the only human in the game, and every other character is an anthropomorphic animal. Once a player has settled down onto an island, they are then given the title of “Resident Representative,” in which their duty is to make “critical decisions.” The title, holding so much power, is basically an excuse to allow a player’s character to modify the island entirely to their liking.
The restaurant that I worked very hard to build.
This is essentially what Animal Crossing is, a game where a player can entirely customize their island all while building friendships with villagers along their journey. The graphics of this game are impeccable and clean; simply put, everything is just so cute. I’ve noticed that “cute” is always brought up when talking about Animal Crossing. The game has plenty of clothing for character customization, as well as a wide variety of characters from distant islands, which are highly sought after so that they can become villagers on a player’s own island. On a daily routine, a player may hunt for resources by cutting trees for wood or by hitting rocks to extract minerals. These resources are then used to build furniture, which could then be used to customize a player’s island. A player can also buy furniture at the town shop, Nook’s Cranny, but before that, bells (the game currency) need to be earned. Bells can be obtained by reeling in fish, swimming for sea animals, catching bugs, and giving away excess furniture, all of which are sold to make money. Throughout the island, a player can use the terraform feature to build cliffs and waterways. There are many other aspects to the game, such as K.K. Slider who comes to a player’s island every Saturday to play great music, Dodo Airlines which allows you to travel to distant islands, a museum where you can donate your findings to Blathers, and so much more that I can’t completely list.
Why it’s so Loved
This is one of Animal Crossing New Horizons’ biggest appeals; the amble gaming experience is relaxing. This tranquil quality was what made the game especially popular during its initial release at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no exact objective to the game. There are no villains, no enemies, and no savage obstacles (other than paying a debt to that raccoon real estate agent), but the game entirely depends on the player and what they want to do with their island and villagers. Nintendo Life describes it as the “joy of finding things to do and just doing them.” At one point, this is what made me love Animal Crossing.
My daily routine. (from left to right: talking to my villager, extracting minerals, building furniture, and catching a butterfly to later sell)
However, the aimless wandering of the game provides me little incentive to keep coming back. At the beginning of the game, I was addicted. John Spencer, who has a passion for books, describes the build-up of such enthusiasm as a “sort of a hobby that turned into a business and became a little bit of an obsession.” I’d constantly log in to Animal Crossing New Horizons and play for hours so I could talk to my villagers, run small errands, gain resources, decorate my island, make money, and pay off my debt. I continued this routine for months, but eventually, the game began to seem repetitive. My villagers constantly repeated the same phrases, errands became mundane, I’d catch the same fish for the fifth time in one day, my island didn’t satisfy me, and the constant debt…..it’s just too much for me. Special events were also repeated yearly. The game began to feel limited and the island life began to lose its charm.
A notable feature of the game is that it works in real-time, meaning that if it’s 7:00 at night in real life, it’ll be 7:00 at night in the game, which can also make the game seem extra slow. Personally, I don’t mind it, and many people like this feature, but a couple of my friends have said that they don’t like it when all shops on the island open at 8 am and close at 10 pm. IGN, who made a video on the game, makes a good point that initiating an upgrade to a building requires having to wait an entire day for the upgrade to finish. Customizing my island to meet my envisioned standards was also tedious work. Blair Somerville, a tinkerer who goes by many names, perfectly states the development process: “Probably the most pleasure I get is the designing phase. I think that’s the fun part, where you see and expect it’s going to work and you can kind of have a giggle sometimes (and think it) looks good, and then you have that horrible phase where you know you have to make it.”
Updates to the game aren’t expected to come soon either. Last year, on November 5, 2021, New Horizons announced and released its biggest update yet. The update included characters that were popular in the previous Animal Crossing games, introduced a handful of entirely new characters, opened a shopping district island, added additional items, and included an extra paid DLC feature called Happy Home Paradise, which allowed players to design other homes outside of their own island. However, these features began to seem unrelieved as well, as new characters began to settle in, the shopping island required bells to develop, and not everyone had decided to buy Happy Home Paradise. After more than a year since that update, koramora, who reviewed the game, concluded that Animal Crossing probably isn’t going to get any more major updates other than the occasional new items. She continues, that like most Nintendo game series, the next greatest thing to come to Animal Crossing is most likely an entirely new game to add to the series, where new features are built upon the previous game. If any more significant updates were to come to New Horizons, it would most likely cost money due to the nature of game development costs.
Animal Crossing New Horizons is a wholesome game with cute characters, great designs, room for customization, and serene tasks. Like the game, the fanbase is also wholesome. I enjoy the adorable fan art, the cute merchandise, the people who share their island designs, and the debt jokes. But, like I’ve said, Animal Crossing New Horizons can be a tedious and eventually repetitive game, and after a year since the major update, new content isn’t likely to come. Because of these reasons, I think Animal Crossing New Horizons is now boring.