9 Things Returning Players Need To Know About Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo Switch)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons changes the classic formula for the better.


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animal crossing new horizons happy girl on boat with kappn relaxing
animal crossing new horizons happy girl on boat with kappn relaxing

As a returning Animal Crossing player myself, I can say there are loads of changes and additions made to the newest entry of the series returning players need to know about.

In total, Animal Crossing: New Horizons includes 9 main changes to the series’ formula returning players need to know about including how tools function, how storage and inventory systems work, where furniture can be placed, and even how villagers act. Returning players will find changes to almost every game mechanic in the game.

That’s a lot of changes to get used to, and I’m here to explain them to you.

Read on to find out all of the things that have been changed that blew my mind.

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9 Things Returning Players Need To Know About Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a brand new Animal Crossing game and changes, adds, and tweaks some of the core Animal Crossing formulas. Everything from crafting to the tools you use on a daily basis has been touched, making it a bit odd for for classic Animal Crossing players to jump into.

That’s why I’ll be going over the 9 biggest things returning players need to know about Animal Crossing: New Horizons before starting the game.

1) Crafting Is Brand New In AC:NH

I think the biggest thing us returning players will notice is New Horizons’ focus on crafting.

What is crafting?

It is the game’s focus on gathering and combining resources and materials found around the game world in order to make objects such as tools or furniture.

Yup. Everything from fishing rods, nets, watering cans to sofas, stereos, desks, and more can all be crafted.

And you’ll be crafting a lot since it is a core mechanic and focus of New Horizons’ gameplay.

In order to get a fishing rod in older Animal Crossing games, one would head to Tom Nook’s shop and buy a fishing rod. New Horizons allow you to do the same or to craft your very own fishing rod from parts found around the village.

As a returning player myself, I get it: you may be worried reading this. You may even be asking yourself, “Will there really be enough materials to craft everything I need?”

For the most part, yes. Rest easy!

Most basic items can be made from common materials such as wood, rocks, and tree branches.

Chop a tree with an axe in previous iterations and you will eventually cut the tree down. Chop a tree with a basic axe in New Horizons and you will receive wood material for crafting.

Need stone and branches? Hit a rock with your shovel and you’ll receive more than just hidden Bells. And simply shake trees to get tree branches.

You’ll find resources everywhere you look. Even garbage (such as tires) that you’ll come across while fishing can be turned into furniture. Neat!

Crafting can be a startling addition to the Animal Crossing formula for us returning players. But, I want you to know that it’s a fun new mechanic that provides depth, strategy, and deep levels of customization to the relaxed game world.

I for one fell in love with crafting the moment I made my first fishing rod.

And I think you will fall in love with crafting, too.

2) Weeds Are No Longer The Enemy In AC:NH

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You know those pesky little things that would grow around your town, preventing you from getting a perfect village in City Folk or New Leaf?

Yeah. Get ready to have your mind blown.

Weeds are no longer comparable to in-game house roaches: they are not something one simply wants to get rid of.

In New Horizons, weeds are just another resource you’ll want to get more of due to their relatively nice selling price and ability to earn you in-game reward points that can be spent on swag and upgrades.

Picking up and pocketing a weed in New Horizons blew my mind the first time I did it.

I’ve been trained for nearly two decades to think that picking up weeds will get rid of them.

When I plucked that first weed from the ground to see it land in my inventory as a resource material . . . well, I felt giddy.

I knew at that moment that this was going to be an entirely different Animal Crossing experience.

And I should let go of everything I thought I knew and just enjoy the ride.

3) Tools Are Very Different In AC:NH

Tools are no longer separated by three specifications. Those three classifications being normal, silver, and gold.

Tools now have more forms due to the game’s focus on crafting items from scratch.

The fishing rod, for example, has a basic form. This rod is called a “flimsy fishing rod”. The same goes for the net.

The shovel, watering can, and axe all have multiple basic forms outside of Animal Crossing’s staple three classifications.

Why, you ask?

Because, tools in this game behave very similar to weapons in, say, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Tools in New Horizons have durability and break after being used a certain number of times.

Durable tools that break (along with a crafting system that requires players to gather resources) add even more to do day-to-day.

Luckily, crafting the basic tools requires common materials. The basic form of tools can also be bought from the Nook family.

You don’t have to worry about obtaining a fishing rod if you want to go fishing or a bug net if you want to catch bugs. There are many ways to acquire tools in this game, more so than before.

But as a returning player, it did take me a moment to adjust to this new brave world of Animal Crossing tools.

4) Storage Has Been Upgraded In AC:NH

I still remember filling up my wardrobe and home storage spaces in the original Animal Crossing and City Folk faster than I could say “Tom Nook”.

Well, returning players, I have a revelation for you: you have hundreds of storage spaces in New Horizons and your storage is accessible without having to interact with a wardrobe.

Mind blown, right?

New Horizons does away with the previous storage convention and replaced it with a more robust, efficient, and expanded option.

Your home storage can now be accessed at any time while you are inside your home by tapping on a single button.

Doing so causes the storage menu to fill the screen, allowing you to peruse everything you’re hoarding by category.

Also, storage automatically expands as you get more items which is great to hear for us long-term players of the series. We no longer have to worry about “cleaning our wardrobe” and tossing things out as often as before.

Finally, the home’ storage feature is there from day one. No waiting for a wardrobe to appear at Tom Nook’s shop.

Every player has the storage from the start. Such a blessing.

I do have one thing to note about the storage. It seems the reason the storage is accessible from the beginning and why it’s so large in size is due to the over abundance of items in this game compared to past Animal Crossing games.

This game adds hundreds of crafting materials and crafted goods to the already deep catalog of thousands of furniture one can collect. Therefore, ample storage space is needed to store everything.

Luckily, New Horizons provides a much needed, modern storage solution that’s better than anything before it.

5) Furniture Can Be Placed Anywhere In AC:NH

You already know the drill, returning player.

Acquire furniture by shaking trees, getting them from villagers, or by buying furniture at a shop.

Then, hope that it’s a feng shui item or something cool; if not, sell it or gift it to another villager in hopes of getting something better in return. And if all else fails? Sell it to Tom Nook for a pittance.

To the point: furniture has always been something you either place in your house or get rid of it. Two options.

New Horizons adds a third and does something no other game in the series has done yet. And it is amazing!

Furniture can now be placed anywhere outside. I repeat, furniture can now be placed anywhere outside of your home.

Yes! You now have use for all of those odd items like torches, stone carvings, and even the boxing/wrestling ring. Imagine placing that random bonfire on the beach, placing chairs around it along with a couple of plants, to make the perfect island atmosphere.

Those random, unwanted, and odd items you may have collected now have a purpose in New Horizons.

For example, you could do what I did. I placed my telescope (that I would have normally sold off or tossed in my basement) onto a rock cliff on my beach and pointed it straight at the stars. Place benches and chairs throughout your village, garbage cans, picnic baskets, and statues wherever you like to create the village of your dreams.

Traversing my town is a lot more fun and lively thanks to being able to place furniture outdoors.

Simply put, placing furniture outside is a game changer that adds a level of customization and personality to the world never before seen in Animal Crossing.

And, as a returning player, I can never go back.

6) Villagers Are Three Dimensional In AC:NH

What is Animal Crossing without villagers? Not Animal Crossing. Fret not, returning player. Villagers are back and better than ever.

These neighboring animals are more lively, interactive, expressive, and likeable than ever before.

Villagers in the past are one dimensional in comparison.

In New Horizons, villagers will water plants, go fishing, and catch bugs on a regular basis. They will inform you if a neighbor is feeling sick and needs medicine. You’ll spot them singing songs in the town square with other animals acting as an audience.

Some animals will even be doing yoga, lifting weights, crafting items at their workbench, lounging on chairs you’ve placed around town, and along with doing so much more.

Really, these animals rock. Villagers even run up to you if they see you out and about at times.

The animals in this game are a breath of fresh air for us returning players. They are the lifeblood of this series and they allow New Horizons to truly feel alive.

7) Rare Events Are A Lot More Common In AC:NH

I know this may be a sore point for returning players, but evolve or step aside. Because rare events are not so rare in New Horizons as much as they were in past Animal Crossing games.

I know. We know the struggle of having to wait for the balloon present to come to town or to find that elusive glimmering of gold beneath the ground that signified a Bell Tree spot. And we felt better because of that struggle.

But, sometimes struggles don’t have to be struggles. New Horizons thinks this to be true.

Floating balloon presents are plentiful in this iteration and fly by what feels like every other minute. And Bell Tree locations? Yeah, those pop up every other day.

New players don’t get to experience the struggle we had as we waited for these rare events to occur. Us returning players may even hold how many rare events we encountered as a badge of honor. I know I felt special when I shot four balloons in one day with my slingshot in City Folk or saw my first golden glimmer in the original Animal Crossing.

These moments were special. They still are, but are now more common thus allowing everyone to experience the awesome events more so than before.

I quickly retrained my mind, got rid of what I expected Animal Crossing to be, and just enjoyed the abundance of balloons and shining spots in my town.

Win-win for new and returning players alike.

8) Inventory Space Can Be Upgraded In AC:NH

Limited inventory space is the bane of all returning Animal Crossing players. But, that is no longer the case.

New Horizons supplies ample inventory space that can also be expanded as the game progresses.

Yes. Our small pocket that would often get quickly filled with tools, fish, bugs, and fossils in the past has now expanded.

New Horizons Inventory space starts with two rows of ten spaces, allotting 20 item slots in total. Two additional rows of ten can be obtained at certain points of the game which add another 20 items to carry.

It might not seem like a lot for new players, but us returning players are drooling right now over the prospect of carrying 40 total items at a time. That is a heck of a lot of fish we’ll be carrying back to Tom Nook’s shop, that’s for sure.

I, for one, am enjoying my big new inventory and would not want to live without it.

9) AC:NH Is A Complete “Game” Now

More than ever before, New Horizons plays more like a “game” than past iterations of Animal Crossing.

Usually, there is no real point to Animal Crossing besides paying off your house. Other than that, you can fish, catch bugs, collect fossils, talk to villagers, furnish your house, grow trees, and do any or none of these things until you’ve had your fill.

New Horizons, however, adds progression and story elements that make this game so compelling and addicting.

Animal Crossing now has a story to it: Tom Nook is trying to turn a deserted island into a bustling village and you are one of its first residents.

Because Tom Nook is starting a new business venture on a deserted island, this means that the Animal Crossing staples are nowhere to be found on day one.

We have to work for the Museum, Tom Nook’s shop, the Able Sisters, and more to come to our island. The popular characters that run these shops are introduced by story bits that returning players will enjoy.

Having a story and a sense of world progression gives New Horizons a feel like no other previous entry in the Animal Crossing series while also keeping the open ended approach the series is known for.

You can still pick and choose what you want to do and ignore the rest, but there is now a reason why we are doing what we are doing. And purpose provides so much more to do in the world and much more fun day-to-day, fish by fish, and fossil by fossil.

New Horizons is the most fleshed out Animal Crossing experience there has ever been, it is the definite Animal Crossing experience for new and returning players, and it is my favorite in the series by far.

Read More Great Articles

Now you know the 9 things returning players need to know about Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

There are many changes that only add to the great Animal Crossing experience, from more fleshed out villagers to being able to place furniture outdoors along with so much more.

Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date with even more Nintendo guides.

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(Screenshots taken by me. Images sourced from product pages, websites, or social media and are credited appropriately. Logos, images, etc. belong to their respective owners. All information current at time of publication.)

SOURCE: Nintendo

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