Skip to main content

Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide - Everything we know so far

Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch

This year we're actually get a new Animal Crossing adventure. Yes, that's right, we're going to see Tom Nook and Isabelle again. We are truly blessed. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is set to whisk you away to deserted island you can customise however you wish. The already dreamy-looking island getaway lets us jet-set to our very own little paradise, and as we get ever closer to the release date, we're steadily learning more and more about one of the most anticipated upcoming games on Switch. 

So, while you wait for your departure in March, we've gathered together everything we know so far about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. And to get as prepared as possible for your upcoming trip to the island, we'll be continuously updating it with anything new, so be sure to check back often: 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch release date - When is it coming out?

Nintendo has confirmed that the Animal Crossing Switch release date is set for March 20, 2020. That's quite the change from that 2019 original pencilling, but it looks like it's going to be worth the wait. 

Every Animal Crossing: New Horizons trailer we've had so far

All the first teaser told us is that Tom Nook is back, and that Animal Crossing is coming to Nintendo Switch (originally in 2019), but it was enough to get us all super excited.

It's the start of a new year, and the thought of escaping away to a little Animal Crossing shaped deserted island is more appealing than ever. To welcome in 2020, Nintendo dropped an adorable short teaser trailer to remind us that new adventure truly is on the horizon now. Featuring Tom Nook giving a presentation to promote the Deserted Island Getaway Package, can see many familiar faces in the audience including Isabelle who makes an appearance being her adorable self. The teaser may be very short, but it does gives us our first look at the cover of the game. 

The latest Animal Crossing: New Horizon trailer comes courtesy of a Nintendo Switch Lite ad. It gives us a look at the game's title screen, some new gameplay footage, and oodles of wholesome cuteness. The only thing it's missing is that unreasonably adorable Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch special edition console.

All the Animal Crossing: New Horizons gameplay details we know so far

Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch

Set on a new deserted island, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will see you settling on a brand new world and working to build it out into a proper little civilisation. 

"Players embark on an ultra-exclusive Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package and enjoy a peaceful existence full of creativity, charm and the freedom to roll up their sleeves and make their new life whatever they want it to be," reads the official Nintendo press release. "Players can collect resources they can craft into everything from creature comforts to handy tools as they set up a homestead they can decorate freely, both inside and out."

The focus with Animal Crossing: New Horizons is crafting. By collecting all the things you're used to in the Animal Crossing series, like wood (soft and hard), weeds, flowers, rocks and more, to craft things like furniture and tools. In the above trailer you craft a 'flimsy axe', which you can use to chop down trees. You can still buy items from Timmy nook's shop though, so there are plenty of options for you to obtain new things. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch

The recipes for crafting themselves are hidden away inside your brand new Nook phone, via an app. You'll be acquiring new recipes through other animals, or by discovering new items, or just directly buying them from the store. There's also a new Nook Miles programme, where you can activities earn you miles, meaning there's a much stronger sense of progression in the game. 

You can also use the Nook phone to call an islander to come and help you out in your various tasks. Animal Crossing: New Islanders co-op confirmed! Up to four players can play together just by passing a Joy-Con, or via local wireless connection you can have up to eight players on a single island. 

There's also an adorable new Camera app that works as a Photo Mode, with the ability to choose your expression to ensure you get the best shot. 

In the September 4 Nintendo Direct, we got to see some new gameplay features coming to the deserted island. A shop set up by Tom Nook known as "Resident Services" sells tools and furniture and will also buy your unwanted items. But that's not all! As part of the "Island cleanup plan," you can sell any weeds you gather from the island to quite literally make a tidy profit. 

Nook Miles were also revealed, which is a new feature coming to the world of Animal Crossing. You can earn Nook Miles by doing various activities and then exchange them for special items and recipes. There will be set objectives each day for specific awards, such as collecting a certain amount of a certain resource like wood, or performing different tasks. It looks set to be a great way to add more incentive to collecting different critters on the island, such as bugs and fish. 

If you fancy a snack, you'll also be able to munch on fruit on the go, and the other villagers will also sit down and have a nibble on some tasty treats out in the world. It's all very cute. And speaking of fruit, you can even shovel up whole fruit trees and plant them somewhere else, and plant fruit you harvest. Handy trick, that. 

In the most recent direct we got a massive helping of features coming to the world of New Horizons. On your little island paradise, you'll be able to shape every inch of it however you wish, with the Direct showing off how you create edges, cliffs, waterfalls, bridges, and stairs. You can essentially terraform the landscape in a variety of different ways. 

We also got a proper look at the museum, where you'll be able to donate all of the wondrous things you find on the beachy shores. Complete with a magical aquarium and a delightful little fountain where you can sit and enjoy watching the butterflies soar through the air, it looks like a lovely place to spend some time getting lost in all of your finds.

Castaways were introduced for the first time, too. Castaways are villagers who have gotten into a spot of trouble and can wash up on your shores. You have the chance to come to their rescue by helping them recover and making sure they're okay. We don't know what will happen when you do rescue them, but saving someone is always worth doing, right? 

The island is teeming with life and more aggressive insects will come to bug you. You can see a poor villager being chased by wasps, scorpions, and tarantulas *shudders*. Oh, and there are g-g-g-ghosts on the island you can encounter too. Spooky. 

Other features such as more in depth look at crafting revealed that tools are breakable depending on how sturdy they are. Handily, you'll now have access to a quick-menu wheel to select your tools unlike past games, and items will now stack in your inventory. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has lots of character customisation options 

Gone are the days of having to determine your characters look and style by answering arbitrary questions. When you land on the island, you'll be able to customisation and create your villager from the get-go. Tom Nook himself recently took to Twitter to show off the creation menu, showing some of the hairstyles, skin tones, eyes, noses, little blushing cheeks, and mouths you can select. 

At PAX East 2020, a demo of Animal Crossing: New Horizons showed off some the features included in the game, including the fact that customisation options for characters won't be gender locked, meaning you'll be able to pick whatever hairstyle and look you wish without being limited to certain options. In a video posted by YouTuber GreatFairyCari, you can see how you're able to change up every aspect of your look and style (including your gender) by going to a vanity. There's also the option to create your own custom designs for face paint. 

The demo gives us a a glimpse inside the Able Sisters store, too. With a whole variety of different clothing items to choose from, you can even try on clothes in a changing room before you commit to making a purchase.

An image also surfaced on Reddit showing off different hair packs you get, which confirms you'll be able to unlock more hairstyles and colours to add to the ones you start out with. You can also see a phone case in the inventory, which suggests we'll even be able to customise our phones. How adorable. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons brings back the museum 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Yes, the museum is well and truly back, and it looks even bigger and better than ever before. As shown off in the February 2020 Direct, the museum is filled to the brim with various displays and places to house all of the little creatures you find out in the wild. In the glorious aquarium, you can see big sharks swimming around in huge tanks, and there's also a pretty, picturesque fountain where you can sit and admire all of the colourful butterflies you've caught. 

Given the size of the museum this time around, we'll no doubt be seeing some new catchable species on the sandy shores of the island in New Horizons. We can barely to see just everything we'll be able to find. 

You be able to choose the layout of your island 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Before you arrive on your new island, you'll be able to select the layout and hemisphere of the new abode. You can choose from four preset layouts, not unlike the way you can pick from preset farm layouts in Stardew Valley. 

Tom Nook took to Twitter to give some more explanation about the hemispheres.  At the check-in counter, the first big choice you'll make will be whether you're island is on the northern or southern hemisphere, this will affect what season it will be at what time of the year, so Nook recommends choose the hemisphere you're on in the real world, so the seasons will match up.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons won't support cloud saves 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo has recently confirmed that Cloud saves won't be supported for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. You can also only have on save file, so that means one island per copy of the game. 

Your friends won't be able to destroy your island, hurray! 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Putting so much time and effort into making your island just right as we inevitably will means you definitely don't want any of your pals to pay and visit and wreck the place up. Thankfully, your buddies won't be able to do anything unless you give them the power to. If you make another player your best friend, they'll be able to use tools on your island, so make sure you only give those rights to someone you truly trust. After all, your island is a sacred place. You can't be having anyone just coming in and making changes to your pretty landscape. 

Animal Crossing Switch wishlist - Everything we want to see

After the fantastic Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing fans (ourselves very much included) are eager to see what Nintendo brings to the home of Isabelle, K.K. Slider, and the increasingly greedy Tom Nook. Here are a few things that we’d like to see in a new entry on Switch. 

Completely re-do furniture sets

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

Decorating your humble little abode has always been at the core of quiet village living, but seeing the same sets of furniture has gotten tiring. Every game has included the same lovely, modern, and exotic furniture sets without adding a whole lot of new pieces. Even finding ways to mix and match them has worn out it’s welcome. There’s so much room for new sets and individual pieces, especially with the improved graphical capabilities. Nintendo could really expand and include more types of furniture giving players more opportunity for customization.

Expand the Mayor feature

Animal Crossing

New Leaf introduced the ability to actually be mayor (so long, Tortimer), giving players the ability to place and fund public works projects that ranged from a stylish cafe - where town folks can get a brew - to a light-up replica of the Eiffel Tower. Many took advantage of the new features to plan their town down to the tile with designs and public works projects laid from coast to coast. 

It added a big new layer of interactivity to the series, but fell short in a few spots. Public works projects couldn’t be placed in predesignated parts of the town around the city center, retail shops, and the beach, and new towns folk often ruined town plans by moving in in the middle of a pathway. Being mayor should give you the power to choose your town’s overall layout from the beginning of the game, place public works projects almost anywhere in town including the beach, pick designated spots for new neighbors to move in, and choose from a far bigger list of public works projects to fill your town with.

A more diverse cast of animals

Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch

It’s not called Animal Crossing for nothing. A big part of the franchise is interacting with the charming characters that occupy your little virtual slice of life. We’ve seen the cast of neighbors grow entry to entry, but things took a step back in New Leaf. Villagers lost a bit of charm they had in previous games, the variety of the interactions decreased and relationships became repetitive. A lot of this has to do with localization, New Leaf had localized Japanese text instead of full English dialogue like the earlier games. A lot of the conversations that weren’t completely kid-friendly got cut, and a lot of the charm got lost in translation. Even Rossetti, the reset-without-saving mole, got toned down for the 3DS entry.

The Switch version should give the characters more lines of dialogue, including some frustration and crankiness that adds a bit of spice to town. Combine this improvement with more species and ways to interact and then watch the new relationships blossom.

Continue the polish

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Each entry of Animal Crossing has continued to improve the series, including new features that expand on the original concept and quality of life improvements. But things can get much, much better. Features that we see in Pocket Camp and Nintendo’s other spinoff, Happy Home Designer, should get implemented into the main series.

Happy Home Designer never felt like a complete game, even though it introduced a lot of cool concepts that we hadn’t seen before. Bringing the furniture placement system and ability to place items outside the house to a main series title would make decorating each room easier and more enjoyable. Fishing, bug catching, fossil collecting, and fruit are all overdue for a makeover, and the Switch’s graphical capabilities could kick Animal Crossing’s visuals into the current generation. Adding more colorful detail to these elements would make every moment spent in game much more engaging and charming.

What would you love to see in Animal Crossing on the Switch? Let us know in the comments below.