First Impressions: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

My sister has been obsessed with Animal Crossing for years. She played New Leaf to death on the 3DS. I never really saw the appeal. I can’t explain why; I think maybe the slightly creepy animal pals weren’t doing it for me. It was something I was aware of- people are obsessed with Animal Crossing, but it had largely stayed out of my radar.

I’ve had a Switch since launch, pretty much. I have my other consoles and my PC for the more shooty games, and my Switch is largely used for Mario Kart and Stardew Valley. The latter was something I also really struggled to get into, but I am now sinking serious time into my little pixel farm.

When my sister got her Switch a couple of weeks ago, it was with the express intention of playing the new Animal Crossing. Needless to say, she nagged me into buying it, which I reluctantly did (can we talk about how new video games are £50?! I need to build up mentally to that sort of purchase).

Anyway, I am now obsessed.

I still don’t quite know what I’m doing- I’m bumbling around my little island, Luna, hitting trees until logs fall out and occasionally getting stung in the eye by wasps. Tom Nook seems to be running some sort of dodgy tax haven and I’m joined in my tropical paradise by a gorilla wearing a pink tracksuit and a bird that is obsessed with exercise (at least I think it’s a bird).

What is the point of Animal Crossing? I don’t really know. It might be to make beautiful houses; I keep seeing people’s gorgeous abodes on Twitter, but mine is currently a shed filled with pairs of shoes and cardboard boxes. It might be to fish, but honestly, that mini game is fun in exactly zero percent of video games. I think it might have something to do with a dog who is a musician.

What matters, I suppose, is that the game is soothing and fun. I like having a tiny quest (collect 30 bits of wood! Craft a fishing rod! Pick a place to build this shop!) and feeling able to accomplish it. The game is satisfying in a small, solid way.

Right now, my island is chaos, but I’m having an excellent time.