I Jumped On The Bandwagon… And I’m Underwhelmed

I’ve (finally) joined the Animal Crossings: New Horizons bandwagon!

[Edited to add: I’m publishing this as a legacy post. I’ve been playing for longer now and a lot of the problems have resolved themselves… but jeez, talking about a learning curve! Far too many assumptions are being made by the devs in the first few hours of playing.]

I was playing Pocket Camp on my mobile, and stopped when I ran out of space. So I do have some familiarity with Animal Crossings, but not on Switch, and not the full game.

So… yeah. Very, very underwhelmed.

(The Switch itself is great – we got a Switch Lite, and it is indeed light, easy to hold and nice to use! Multiple profiles too which is great for Otter and I.)

But Animal Crossings… hum. I’ve played a couple of hours, and got to the stage where I’m just upgrading from a tent to a house; I think I should get it tomorrow. So I’m withholding judgement a little in case that changes things, but…

  • The actions are not intuitive – I actually had to text a friend to ask how to sleep (which is ridiculous; you press a button to interact with literally every single other thing, and to sleep, you have to walk onto your bed. Seriously?)
  • It’s not particularly obviously what you have to do, and whether you can’t perform a certain action because a) it’s not possible, b) you’re doing the wrong thing, or c) you don’t have the tool yet.
  • There’s no help (that I can find) beyond some very unhelpful “have you done this activity yet?” from Timmy. So for anything like “how do I get those floating presents” or “how do I make a snowman”, it’s very much the above bullet point in guessing how to do it.
  • It’s also not clear how resources refill; bear in mind that I have come from pocket camp, where they refill on a set timeframe, and if things are just lying on the floor at the start of the game then my assumption is that more will appear on the floor at some stage in the future. Apparently, however, you have to whack trees and rocks. THIS IS NOT OBVIOUS.
  • On the same note, I gathered all of the fruit and weeds, because I got Moneys for them. I currently have no idea if I have to do something to get more, or if they’ll grow overnight/every week/every year. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.
  • The placement system for items is terrible (stand… vaguely near where you want it, and hope you’re not turned slightly too far to one side?) and it’s also very frustrating to not be able to move something once it’s been placed – you have to pick it up and try again…
  • And I’m finding the Switch controls hard too; trying to get my character at juuuuuust the right angle to get the fishing lure in front of the fish… forget anything that needs precision.

And I think the biggest thing for me… I’m bored.

There’s two animals to interact with, and they’re not interesting. Timmy, Tommy & Tom Nook are helpful, but going through the same scripts every time you want to sell a fish is frankly tedious. I can’t buy much yet because I either don’t want it, or can’t use it. I’ve dug up stuff and collected stuff and run around and…

Now what? I keep doing that? Grinding much!

Pocket Camp at least is interesting and interactive. There’s multiple animals, and multiple places to visit. There’s a wide variety of things to do and cute things to buy. You can decorate your house, or camp, and part of the fun is being able to collect multiple items and change theme. You have an obvious path to obvious goals.

New Horizons… not so much. I keep running around and get more money, and I… might be able to do something with it? Once I’ve paid back my house, of course. I dunno how many shells and fish that’s going to take. And is that it?

Also, it’s giving me anxiety that my character is running around in a t-shirt a jeans when it’s SNOWING! At least give the starting character some weather-appropriate gear! (I can’t find any in the shopping lists either, so I guess I’m going to have to stay anxious for a while.)

So… I’m going to keep playing for a bit longer, just to see if having a house makes a difference, or if Blather’s Museum gives any more options. But at the moment, it is very, very meh.

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.