Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch Game Review

Animal Crossing Review
  • Performance
  • Ease of Use
  • Awesomeness


The hardest part of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is patience. But after a few days, it no longer feels as tedious. You’ll find yourself looking forward to when you can pop into your virtual island and build your creations. Even the routine activities become a source of calm and a worthwhile price to pay for the chance to keep customising your paradise.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the perfect escape for anyone who loves world building games. This laid back Nintendo Switch game transports you to an island that you can customise to your heart’s delight.

The game starts slow and forces you to build your island paradise laboriously based on the passing of actual days. But, as even the most impatient of gamers found out, New Horizons is a worthwhile labour of love, creativity and exploration.

Animal Crossing Review

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch Game

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What Are You Buying?

1. Laid Back World Building Game

If you have played any of the previous four Animal Crossing games (New Horizons is the fifth release), then you will be familiar with the casual nature of the game.

There is no fighting, no hunting down enemies, no dangerous side quests and there is no single time when you need to do anything to survive. New Horizons is a game that encourages, or rather strongly insists that you slow down and just be.

In fact, gameplay runs in real-time and mirrors the current real-life season (assuming you selected your current location during game setup). This means that things take time. At the beginning, it takes several days before you start doing any major stuff on the island. That’s because you have to build things from scratch.

And even once you get going, you’ll find that this isn’t a game you can spend the whole day playing. After a couple of hours, you run out of things to do and you have to wait till the next day to see the bridge you built or meet a new character you invited to the island.

If you want a game you can binge on for hours, this is not it. New Horizons is more suited to shorter periods of play like during commute, when you get home from work or when you take a 10 minute breather away from the kids. And since it is on the Nintendo Switch, it’s easy to play it anywhere.

Note: New Horizons uses the Nintendo Switch’s system clock to run in real time. You can adjust the clock to hack the game and make things move along faster. That said, there are minor penalties for time travel.   

2. Endless Customization

The strength and fun of Animal Crossing games has always been in their incredible level of customisation. That’s what New Horizons is all about. You go in, get a feel of the island and then spend the next several years customising it bit by bit.

There is so much stuff you can create including a swimming pool, zen garden, temple, maze, a cosy fire pit, a campsite, and whatever else you can imagine. There’s truly an insane amount of customisation options available that you can never truly run out of things to try in the game.

And it’s not just the island that you can customise, you can also decorate your house with a wide range of items including furniture, lights, a boombox, wallpaper and so on. Later on, you also get an option to expand your house and customise its exterior.

Your character is also customisable. When you are setting up the game, you can customise your face, hair and other features. Later on, when you are able to build a shop, you can buy different kinds of clothes and accessories (using bells, the in-game currency) and try them on.

3. A Game Based On Routine

Most of the gameplay in Animal Crossing involves doing a lot of the same stuff every day. Sure, there are new activities to do to build up to specific rewards. For instance, you have to turn your tent into a house before you can build the apparel shop and buy clothes.

But there are also things you do daily to keep earning bells and have fun like fishing, catching bugs, planting trees, watering flowers and talking to characters.

While sometimes these activities can feel repetitive and tedious, they are also a source of comfort and familiarity. As I said, Animal Crossing is not a game you play late into the night. Rather, it’s something you escape to for half an hour or an hour each day to relax.

That said, there are some out of routine things that happen on New Horizons like holidays, fishing tournaments, fireworks festivals and more. You can also visit other Animal Crossing islands (including a friend’s island) and invite new villagers to your island.

4. Multiplayer Modes

New Horizons has several multiplayer modes.

You can have up to eight people living on a single island, and up to four can play the game at the same time using a single Nintendo Switch. To be honest though, this can get chaotic and is not as fun as playing on your own. There isn’t much to do when you are a group (maybe take a few photos).

The other multiplayer mode involves visiting your friends’ islands and inviting them to yours. You can do this online or locally with up to seven other players. Again, there isn’t much to do other than showing off your creations to each other.

How Fun is Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

It depends on what kind of games you like playing. If you are into slow-burn world-building games where the focus is on creativity and exploration rather than excitement, then you’ll probably love New Horizons.

One thing we love about New Horizons is that there is no learning curve. The game is easy to play right from the beginning. But it’s slow. So even if you have never played Animal Crossing before, you’ll fit right into the island.

It will take some time to get familiar with crafting, accessing your inventory and other actions. But you’ll learn them in no time.

What Accessories Are Included?

You will receive a game card for the New Horizons game. Nothing else is included. Obviously, you need to own a Nintendo Switch to play the game.


  • Fun game with lots of customisation options.
  • Multiplayer modes.
  • Easy to play even for younger gamers.
  • Great if you are looking for a relaxing game.


  • Takes time to build up to the really fun aspects of the game.
  • Not ideal if you prefer action-packed games.

Anything Else You Should Know?

Here are answers to some common questions people have about the New Horizons game.

  • The New Horizons game is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. You can only play it on the Switch, Switch Lite or Switch OLED. You cannot play it on the 3DS, Wii or other consoles. There are different Animal Crossing games for those platforms.
  • You can play New Horizons online or offline. When playing offline there will be some limits on what you can do (e.g. online multiplayer mode).
  • Note that you can have only one island per Switch. So if you are sharing a single console with someone at home, you’ll have to share the same island. If you each want your own islands, you’ll need two switches and two separate game cards.
  • Because this comes as a game card, it doesn’t take up space on your Nintendo Switch. However, updates and other DLC will download to your console or SD card.
  • New Horizons is okay for kids 3 and up.


The hardest part of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is patience. But after a few days, it no longer feels as tedious. You’ll find yourself looking forward to when you can pop into your virtual island and build your creations. Even the routine activities become a source of calm and a worthwhile price to pay for the chance to keep customising your paradise.

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