Animal Crossing 101: What is it, and will I like it?

It’s been almost a decade since the last Animal Crossing game was released and a lot of have things have changed.

Since then we’ve seen the Wii U come and go and now with the success the Switch is had it’s brought a lof people back to Nintendo. Not only that but it’s brought Nintendo to people for the first time and some of may never have heard about Animal Crossing, never played it and wondering just what we’re frothing at the mouth about.

What is Animal Crossing? 

Nintendo calls Animal Crossing a Social Simulation game, and technically while that’s a very apt description, it gives you no idea what you do in it. Animal Crossing is always compared to games like Harvest Moon, The Sims or more recently Stardew Valley. While it’s close, Animal Crossing isn’t about a farm or a single house; it’s about people. Those people happen to be animals, those animals you’ll befriend and along the way make a villager that’s perfect for you and them.

How do you play Animal Crossing? 

Each day you’ll play the game and learn a little bit more about your residents, gain new ones, and see ones leave. You’ll feel sad when they do.

Each of the characters has a different personality, some are gruff, some sugary sweet, some like to work out, and some like eat. You’ll learn all about them, and them about you. All of the villagers remember your birthdays (without Facebook), compliment you on your style and help build up your town. As more and more people move in and time progresses, your village will go from a backwater to a little town with stores, visitors and activities.

Tom Nook gives you a loan to build a better house (an upgrade from a tent really), you gain bells by doing tasks, planting trees and selling the fruit, playing the Turnip market and trading items with people. Stores are only open certain times of day; some visitors are asleep at night, others not. There’s fishing, gardening, bug catching and more.

It sounds all a bit simple, a bit easy, and that’s the whole point. Animal Crossing is a relaxing, uncomplicated experience, and the joy comes from the connections your to your villagers and also your in-real-life friends who you can invite to your village.

Is Animal Crossing for me? 

Animal Crossing is a very long-form game if you pick up the game on Friday you’ll probably find the first couple of days a little slow. There’s only so much you can do per day. That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of things to do, but you won’t have the resources or bells (the in-game currency) to do everything you want. While we don’t have New Horizons to compare to past games, the new crafting mechanic may help speed this up.

If you want a game that you can play every day, just for a bit, and later a little bit more than Animal Crossing is for you. If you want a game with a story, a game that you’ll be done within three months and move on – it’s probably not for you.

You set your own goals with the game, and you can play as little or as much as you like. If you don’t play for a couple of days, your village will start to succumb to the weeds, villagers you love might have left, and you’ll have missed all the significant events and activities littered throughout the year.

But what about all the big games Nintendo has announced for the rest of the year (ha!). What about when they come out, and I want to play something else Animal Crossing respects your time, you don’t have to visit often, but it’s better when you do.

Animal Crossing New Horizons won’t be for everyone, for some people it’ll be slow, cumbersome and could even be boring. For others, it’ll be a release, a joy and an outlet for anxiety, creativity and being social. Animal Crossing is what you make it, and that might take years – but that’s the point.

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About The Author
Daniel Vuckovic
The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all. Please understand.
  • Phantom Ganon
    March 22, 2020 at 9:22 am

    I’m one who has never played an Animal Crossing game before and it’s on Day 3 but I’m loving the vibe of this game, something I really need at this point in time. I didn’t know doing menial chores and tasks could feel so compelling but the charm really drives it along, the community factor with the NPCs and online and the slow growth of the island, it feels like a really well crafted experience. Not for those who want a one and done game though for sure.

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