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The big Animal Crossing: New Horizons update has breathed new life into my daily routine

Animal Crossing: New Horizons
(Image credit: Nintendo)

For the majority of the year, each day is typically the same when I dip back into Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Isabelle welcomes me to my island and tells me there's no news to speak of. Maybe, on occasion, a visitor will be at the campsite, but for the most part it's just "I found my lost sock", or "I spoke to my parents". I go about my daily routine of saying hello to my villagers, watering plants, and popping into the shops before I leave to return the next day to the same things all over again. 

For the first time in a very long while, though, I feel the winds of change blow over me as I open up the game in the morning, as I always do, only to be greeted with a lot of updates from the beloved yellow dog. The early release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons update 2.0 sent the community into a surprised frenzy of excitement. My social media feed was flooded with players making new discoveries, and just like everyone else, I could hardly wait to download the patch and dive right in to see what awaited me on the sandy shores of my island. 

Making discoveries  

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)
Read More

Finding Brewster on a Kapp'n island in Animal Crossing New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Jumping into the update yourself? Here's how to get Brewster in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Understandably, a lot of people have stepped away from Tom Nook's island getaway since Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched back in March 2020. Many went all in on the game when the pandemic hit (just as I did), and when updates and new content dwindled, so too did players' interest. But I've continued to play for at least 30 minutes every day without fail, simply because of the comfort it brings. 

I'm certainly not playing as much as I did way back when, but visiting my island has woven its way into my daily routine, and each morning it gives a little slice of time to unwind and say hello to my fuzzy friends before I start my day in earnest. Since I'm so used to seeing the same greeting and the same old items in the shop day in, day out, the latest update already feels like such a welcome breath of fresh air. There's so much to do and discover that it honestly feels like Christmas morning to my Animal Crossing-loving heart. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

From the moment I leave my house after Isabelle's many announcements, I already feel a break from the usual routine when I check my mailbox. Jam packed with letters to inform me of Harv's island, the arrival of Kapp'n, and so much more, the long row of mail instantly overwhelms me with anticipation. I've accumulated over 800 hours on this island with my daily visits, and I'm so well acquainted with New Horizons that it truly feels like a second home, but in one fell swoop, the update takes me back to that magical sense of wonder and discovery I had back at launch. 

Just like the vast majority of the Animal Crossing community, the prospect of seeing Brewster again after so many years made my heart sing during the initial direct reveal. While Brewster, Kapp'n, and Harv's new setup are major new additions that I could hardly contain my excitement about, I've always gotten so much joy from the smaller discoveries. 

The update adds an impressive 9,000 new items to the catalogue, and on what is, as of writing, the second day of the update, I've already come across a handful of new additions that make me all too excited to see what else is in store. Honestly, just seeing a new shirt in Able Sisters after so many days and months of seeing the same threads appear is enough to make me emit an overly loud squeal (sorry neighbors). 

New seeds to sow 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If it's not the items that are making me grin with glee, it's the way the update has made so many of the activities I'm so used to feel like they have renewed sense of purpose. While I'm still in need of just a few more fish to finish my museum collection, the new Animal Crossing: New Horizons cooking recipes feature has given me another incentive to grab my fishing pole and cast my line. Certain fish will inspire new recipes, which scratches my collector's itch all over again. 

Cooking is exciting in and of itself. We actually get to make use of the stoves - finally all that work I put into making my kitchen just right has paid off. It's such a joy to see my little villager character cooking up a storm, and with so many different recipes to make, I just know it's a feature I won't get tired of. Not to mention you also create dishes with ingredients you can grow yourself in true farm-to-table style, which makes it all the more rewarding. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

It's so great to see the return of so many familiar fan favorite faces, too, and it's also wonderful to have your villagers come and visit you at home. Having spent so much time with my island residents, they really feel like friends, and the comeback of this feature really serves to strengthen the bonds you have with your lovable neighbours. 

What I appreciate the most, though, is the way the update encourages you to take things at a gradual pace. Of course, it's entirely up to you how you play, but the series has always had time-locked features, which is designed in such a way that it feels like you have something to look forward to or work towards. Harv setting up shops on his island, for example, presents you with seven stores to open and you can only open one each day. It's so refreshing to feel like I have something to work towards again, and I appreciate being able to take it at a steady pace that fits into my usual routine. 

The update is like the gift that keeps on giving right now. While I'm sure I'll still be playing much like I always have, it's beyond exciting to have some more excitement and variation during my daily island visit. And with the arrival and the first paid DLC, Happy Home Paradise, we're to keep on returning to our island getaways.  


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Heather Wald

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.