Animal Crossing expands its horizons through the release of its newest updates


Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Three of the new features introduced in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

During the quarantine of my sophomore year—via one of the many Sims YouTubers I follow—I discovered the web of worlds that is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. 

A top-rated game dating back to 2001, Animal Crossing was by no means a new name to me. Many of my sister’s friends played the renditions of its expansive franchise, and I can recollect watching them tour their islands—the sort of distant memories that barely feel real.

However, alongside millions of others, the release of ACNH piqued my interest, and for my 16th birthday, I asked for one thing: a Nintendo Switch.

Since then, I’ve been following the ebbs and flows of my interest in the game, going through phases of playing every day for a month only to become bored and give it up for an overwhelming stretch of time. Yet, my excitement was recently reignited by the October Animal Crossing Direct. In this live stream, they announced an enormous final update and the first downloadable patch for the game, both of which brought back old characters and gameplay features that the fandom had been begging for.

The update:

Being the final free addition to come to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Nov. 5th release brought a boatload of content that exceeded most people’s expectations.

Most notably, this patch promises the reintroduction of many familiar faces, including Brewster and Kapp’n.

After installing the content, one can head on over to their museum where Blathers will speak to them about his dream of opening a cafe within his already fine establishment. Prompting you with a photo of his old friend Brewster and a mission to convince him, you are sent on your way to the pier where Kapp’n the turtle now waits to bring you on mystery expeditions to unknown islands.

After handing over 1,000 Nook Miles, one can venture to find the quiet by wise Brewster, and soon a coffee-driven oasis will open up within their museum.

Not only can you befriend the coffee connoisseur and gain new recipes and objects from him, but you can also sit down for a cup of joe with your villagers and other Animal Crossing-playing friends. As well as this, you may get to see Isabelle or Mable and Sable within the shop. Before this update, they were characters that were not free to exit their consistent workplace environment.

Moreover, the excitement that the direct and the update ignited in not only my heart but those of others goes to show just how meaningful a release like this is within the Animal Crossing community.”

And if that wasn’t enough greeting as the game opened, you may also receive a letter from Harv—the zen dog photographer with his own island to explore—asking you to stop by for a visit. Upon heading over to your airport and hopping on a flight to his archipelago, a new plaza and a new face will greet you.

Hoping to start his own natural co-op and asking for your help to do so, Harv and his old pal Harriet now offer up a space where your favorite vendors and visitors can permanently peddle their wares. For a price of 100,000 bells per stand, the area will slowly expand into a bustling agora, and Harriet will eventually begin to offer fresh haircuts that will transfer to your vanity back on your own island, adding a spice of creativity and freshness to your look.

Minor additions—such as group stretching, island ordinances, and fresh building features—were all added to the game as well, promising a sort of return to many of the factors prevalent within past games. Players can now fine-tune even further for their style of play, making the game all the more enjoyable for those who prefer one method over the other or can only log on during certain hours of the day.

Furthermore, the Nook Miles store has drastically expanded, and islanders now have the ability to garden additional crops and use their produce for cooking homemade meals. An entirely new feature—I haven’t gotten the chance to play with it much, but by catching fish and collecting crops, the possibilities are endless.

All of this—including many new in-depth aspects involving villager relationships and island life—re-sparked my deep love for the game. Not only that, but acquiring these attributes entirely for free allows for a more inclusive experience in the world of Animal Crossing.

Playing through, one can tell the time and effort that went into crafting this experience for people worldwide. Each new feature is fabricated to a picture-perfect degree that makes the game all the more enjoyable.

Moreover, the excitement that the direct and the update ignited in not only my heart, but those of others goes to show just how meaningful a release like this is within the Animal Crossing community. While minor updates are impactful, an expansion of this size can significantly influence someone’s gameplay for the better, and being able to experience that, even if just through a screen, is so much fun to watch and enjoy.

The downloadable content:

Building up one’s home and island has and always will be an integral part of the Animal Crossing experience, one that the team has expanded upon with the new DLC, Happy Home Paradise. Sold for around 25 dollars USD, the expansion is now available for download via the Nintendo eShop.

Upon waking up on your next in-game day, you’ll receive a call from Tom Nook asking to see you down at your airport. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by Lottie, an old friend of Tom’s, ready to offer you a job at her vacation home renovation and decoration company. By selecting the new “go to work” tab in the airport menu, players can head off to an unknown collection of islands and expand their already massive horizons.

Alongside other animal co-workers, new interior and exterior design options will open up as you renovate homes tailored to the wants and needs of your clients. From building dividers to adding ceiling decor and accent walls, you can learn new skills that will carry over not only to future jobs, but to your own island as well. Furthermore, you can help grow Lottie’s archipelago, refurbishing old stores and developing it into a bustling hub for both business and relaxation.

Though I have not tested these features nearly enough—and am not usually a design type of player—I am most undoubtedly ecstatic to keep working towards success with Happy Home Paradise. I can already tell it’ll be a divergent but intriguing new universe of gameplay that will captivate my attention thoroughly.

Overall, Animal Crossing blew expectations out of the water with these new additions and updates, opening players’ eyes to the reasons they fell in love with the game in the first place.

Just like the excitement of my sophomore year self, I am greatly anticipating the next few months of slowly exploring these new features, finding that sense of escape within the game that drew me to it in the first place.