Ten minutes into the end game of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and honestly, this new terraforming power feels like too much responsibility. In a series where failing to arrange the flowers in my front yard neatly enough is all I need to feel a panic attack tingling in my extremities, the idea of creating cliffs and carving rivers into the earth is nerve-racking.
Sure, it all looks adorable. Slipping into construction mode is as easy as bringing up an app on your new Nook phone and slipping on a delightful hard hat, and there are only three options to play with, but doesn't Nintendo understand what utter trash humans are? What horrors we could create with the ability to lay paths, dig, and fill water features and raise or lower the terrains levels like some sort of DIY deities? Do they know how many people are going to immediately create penis pools?
As if sensing my discomfort, the kindly Nintendo spokesperson hosting the demo did her best to explain that this option only opens up in the later game of New Horizons, once you've settled in to island life, and you'll need the right permits to unlock them. Unfortunately, this low-level therapy was somewhat sabotaged by the other spokesperson who generously – or mistakenly, depending on how you look at it – seemed to have offered up her own end-game save for demo purposes. "Please don't mess it all up," she pleaded, before mentioning how someone had trampled her black roses with a look in her eye suggesting she was ready to shiv the next disrespectful tourist. So I did my best to be a polite houseguest.
I dug a pond – which automatically curved in all the right places to avoid that square, Minecraft look – and then quickly watered the aforementioned black roses. I built a fence around my pond, safety first, and then switched to the paving option to lay a cute stone path through the front yard. There were a few options for the style of the path, and a tantalizing design your own option for budding landscapers.
Next, I tried the more advance terrain option, allowing me to carve off parts of a cliff or build higher ground wherever I wanted. You can't go full Mount Rushmore, but there's an option to seriously change the whole look of your island. Constraints help, you can build around a tree for instance, lest you bury it, but you can make things look pretty crazy. It's a great power, and with that comes great responsibility. And I just can't cope with that right now.
Leave no trace
As if to prove my point, our demo was cut short by the save-owning Nintendo spokesperson – dapper in her standard-issue Animal Crossing: New Horizons shirt and chinos – announcing the end of the demo, and in a voice usually heard for fourth-grade teachers pleading for us to be quiet, had us spend the last three minutes of our time putting everything back EXACTLY THE WAY WE FOUND IT.
Can't wait to set off on your island getaway? Here's what time you can start playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons.