I was befuddled, confused, and surprised. How can a game about picking up apples, listening to irritating voices, and doing menial tasks be so compelling? But as I kept playing, I realized that I was addicted, and I now finally understand the appeal of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Weary, I woke up in the wee hour of 6:00 a.m. one morning, and instantly picked up my Nintendo Switch Lite. I usually fall back to sleep at this time, but I instinctively grabbed the system and collected materials in this bright, colorful world. I didn’t grab breakfast or a cup of water like any sane person would; all I did for the first few hours of the day was Animal Crossing, and that’s when I realized, “Shit, I’m addicted.” I never thought I’d be one of those people. The concept, since the series’ inception, seemed like a chore, but I finally learned that the progression of the Nook Miles and improving the island made playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons incredibly satisfying.
The bright and beautiful graphical art style of the game welcomes you to a world that isn’t so daunting or troubled. The sound of the waves calms your soul as the light shimmers on the water. The townsfolk are really happy to be on the island. And, you are given the freedom to design the island however you’d like. It gives you that sensation of growing your own plants/fruit or finishing a D.I.Y. project without having to go outside. And as someone with anxiety, it’s nice to just turn off my brain and relax in this cheerful world.
It’s not only a set of chores. There’s a constant progression to make your home look better and better, and it’s so rewarding. It’s great to see your bells (the currency in the game) and your Nook Miles steadily increase as you finish tasks. And with bells, you can buy new furniture, tools, and clothes for your Villager. You’re building shops out of materials you find in the environment, you’re finding bugs, fish, and fossils to collect for the museum, and the island continues to grow. It’s the best feeling to get new rewards and see the island flourish with your efforts. And once you have the island looking exactly the way you’d like, you can show it off to your friends.
I also feel like you’re cheating yourself if you time skip in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Feel free to do it, of course, but as each day passes, you see the fruits of your labor as a building is erected or a new feature is added. Try to reject that instant gratification nature of today’s society, relax, and learn to be patient. I think that’s the message the game is trying to give you. Like a really addictive mobile game, it’s nice to have something to go back to every day for a few hours.
To quote Frank Cross from Scrooged, “I get it now!”, and I’m glad to be a part of the fun. For someone who prefers a good story over repetitive gameplay, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has surprisingly hooked me on its ever-reaching fishing rod. Nintendo will continuously add new items throughout the year with themed events, and the shop has new things on offer daily. I’m still surprised as to how this game has affected me, but I will be playing this for weeks… nay, months to come.
Are you in the same boat as me and are you enjoying the game as much as I am? Let us know in the comments below! If you can’t afford Animal Crossing yet, I wrote a feature on the cheaper alternatives, so go check that out!