Aim to get your little islander paws on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons ladder as soon as possible, because your brand new deserted island is actually split across several different levels. A brand new tool for the game, it's an adorable little extending ladder that allows you to hop up to higher levels – a bit like the pesky versions in Death Stranding actually but much more sturdy. You're going to need it too, as your island will have at least one other level upon which to find more resources and expand your little settlement.
However, there's a catch. You don't get the ladder for quite some time in the game, meaning those upper levels both on your own island, and those you'll visit using Nook Miles Tickets, are completely off-limits at first.
How to get the ladder in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If like me, you're ready to do anything Tom Nook says as soon as he asks for it, you'll be able to get access to the ladder around Day Four of your island adventure. But, you'll need to have done a few things first. Here's a little checklist to work through:
1. Invite at least one new villager to live on your island
As soon as you possibly can, you'll want to head off on your adventures using the Nook Miles Tickets. These can be purchased from the Nook Stop terminal in Residents' Services as soon as you pay off your moving fees, for 2,000 Miles a ticket. These give you a temporary pass to fly away from your own island and explore a much smaller, and totally randomly generated alternative deserted island.
Here, you can gather crafting materials, foreign fruit and more to take back with you, but also potentially discover a little castaway who will be willing to move to your island. If you spot one, all you'll need to do is talk to them a couple of times, and they'll express an interest in making the move. Reply with an affirmative – you can decline if you don't like the cut of their gib, of course – and they'll make a call to Tom Nook about the arrangements.
At this stage, I'd been a bit greedy and already invited three new residents to come live on my island, so it's unclear whether you need to invite three for the next stage to unlock, or whether one new face will suffice.
2. Wait for Tom Nook to offer you a bridge construction kit
Before any of these fresh faces can move to your island though, Tom Nook will need to give you the green light. You'll know that the process is starting when he offers you the recipe for a bridge construction kit. You'll need to gather the resources to actually build it - four log stakes, four bits of clay, and four stone lumps - and when you've done that you can pick a spot to open up the island. That will give you more space to put down the holding lots for your new residents.
3. Prepare plots for your incoming new residents
For these new island dwellers, Tom Nook promised fully kitted out homes - inside and out - so to achieve this goal you have to craft six items of furniture for each new household. Thankfully, Mr. Nook will give you a selection of new recipes that will help you furnish each of the new homes. Interestingly, one of the items you'll need to craft requires flowers you won't have come across yet, flowers that just happen to reside on the higher levels of your island. If only you had a ladder.
So first, place all three plots for your new residents and then you'll receive a phonecall from Tom Nook. He'll explain the flower access issue, and finally give you a recipe for the ladder.
Then it's just a case of heading over to Residents' Services and crafting one. You'll only need four wood, four hardwood and four softwood in order to make it.
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