New Horizons Expands Animal Crossings’ Features, Giving Players More Than Ever Before

With PAX East ending earlier this week, everybody under the sun is releasing new gameplay footage from their time with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We already knew about many of the features that will be in the game, but seeing them all in action really does prove that this is going to be the biggest, most feature-complete title in the franchise.

One of the best new additions is Nook Miles, an achievement-like system that gives players tasks to accomplish such as catching fish, planting trees, or getting into other shenanigans around the island. It doesn’t seem like much, but it gives players a sense of direction and immediately rewards their actions. So much of Animal Crossing is a slow burn — befriend your villagers, pay off your debts, and incrementally complete your fossil collection. Nook Miles is an excellent way to reward players on a daily basis and help out villagers who might need a little guidance.

Another short-term task is the collection of resources for crafting. Tools in New Horizons will break after extended use — a mechanic that is bound to be unpopular with some fans — and players will need to stockpile logs, rocks, and weeds to replace their old gear. Crafting is also a long-term endeavor since you’ll be able to create furniture, and these items require a boatload of resources.

If crafting furniture isn’t your thing, then maybe you’ll enjoy reshaping the land instead. You’ll be able to build roads, carve out rivers, create waterfalls, and even add bridges and stairs for easy traversal. The mechanic is very versatile, allowing players to go nuts and make their island really feel like home.

And at long last, Animal Crossing finally has a worthwhile multiplayer mode. Players can invite seven other players to run around their beautifully terraformed island. There’s even local co-op, so your friends and family can join in on the fun using a single console.

Animal Crossing games are always meant to be players over several years and are purposely low stress. It’s good to see that Nintendo has added plenty of content for gamers to tackle on a day-to-day basis, but only time will tell if this is a step in the right direction.

Animal Crossing will release on March 20 for the Nintendo Switch.

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