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Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Video Game Review

Summer June 26, 2020

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a life simulation and the fifth installment of the series, which spans almost twenty years and a variety of platforms. The focus of the game is the maintenance of your island, growing it from a deserted island of three campers to a bustling village—or whatever else you want it to be.

New Horizons was released in the early days of the global pandemic when people were desperate for a distraction, and I think this lends—at least partially--to its popularity. The notion of an idealistic escape from reality is even built into the game: the onset of New Horizons is your character purchasing a “Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package” which is why you find yourself on a deserted island in the first place.

Probably the best part of the game is its versatility. Barring a few examples early in the game, New Horizons lets the player do what they want. I, for example, was particularly obsessed with terraforming my island and getting that coveted 5 star rating, but I still only have a B rating from the Happy Home Academy for my barely decorated house. Although I like fishing and make an effort to get all new types of fish available each month, the game is not forcing me to do so.  Between the freedom of gameplay and the extensive customization of your character, items, and even the island itself, New Horizons is whatever the player wishes it to be.

The only real criticism I have is the game’s compulsion to make you wait for just about everything, drawing out what is genuinely a very simple game. From the nuisance of terraforming, to the excruciatingly long conversations with Orville for online game play, almost everything takes just a little too long. However, even as frustrating as this can be, I don’t really find this an unforgivable flaw. Animal Crossing is all about slowing down and enjoying the journey, and there is a beauty in that.

Overall Rating: A

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