animal crossing new horizons guide

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Complete Guide for 2021

The Guide to Island Life

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the surprise breakout hit of spring 2020, and for good reason.

It’s relatively easy to play, approved for all ages, and it has a cuteness or lightness to it that are perfect for these times.

This open-ended social simulation game is produced by Nintendo, distributed worldwide, and rated E for everyone.

Plus, it is easy to play with friends or by yourself, and you can meet new people (other users) and make friends with other characters in the game.

And besides, the game’s graphics are super adorable for kids and adults alike.

This guide will focus on the newest release – Animal Crossing: New Horizons – but we’ll cover the previous iterations in the series too.


Let’s jump in.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is Animal Crossing?
  2. Is Animal Crossing Real Time?
  3. What is the Point of Animal Crossing?
  4. How to Play Animal Crossing
  5. Can You Play Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch
  6. What Do You Do in Animal Crossing New Horizons
  7. How Do You Earn Animal Crossing Bells?
  8. How Do You Earn Nook Miles In Animal Crossing
  9. How Do You Share and Trade Items in Animal Crossing?
  10. The Process of Trading in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  11. How to Customize Your Characters in Animal Crossing?
  12. What Are Amiibo Cards in Animal Crossing?
  13. Animal Crossing: Festivals and Holidays
  14. Animal Crossing Personalities
    1. Normal
    2. Lazy
    3. Sisterly
    4. Snooty
    5. Cranky
    6. Peppy
    7. Jock
    8. Smug
  15. Villager Hobbies In Animal Crossing New Horizons
    1. Education
    2. Nature
    3. Fitness
    4. Music
    5. Playing
  16. Key Characters In Animal Crossing
    1. Tom Nook
    2. Timmy and Tommy
    3. Mr. Resetti
    4. K.K. Slider
    5. Redd
    6. Lyle
    7. Rosie
    8. Isabelle
    9. Digby
    10. Lottie
    11. Celeste
    12. Blathers
    13. Rover
    14. Kapp’n
    15. Leilani and Leila
    16. Katrina
    17. Gracie
    18. Saharah
    19. Leif
    20. Reese
    21. Cyrus
    22. Kicks
    23. Sable
    24. Labelle/Label Able
    25. Mabel
    26. Harriet
    27. Daisy Mae
    28. Gulliver
  17. Animal Crossing Items That are Important
    1. Fruit
    2. Turnips
    3. Fish
    4. Bugs
    5. Fossils
    6. Clothing
    7. Hairstyles and Makeup
    8. Paintings and Statues
    9. Furniture
    10. Stones
    11. Wood
    12. Tools
    13. Workbenches
    14. Medicine
    15. Shells
    16. Nook Phone
    17. Passport
  18. DIY Recipes in Animal Crossing
  19. Essential Places in Animal Crossing
    1. Resident Services/Community Center
    2. Nook’s Cranny
    3. Museum
    4. Able Sisters Shop
    5. Shampoodle
    6. Happy Room Academy
    7. Campsites
  20. List of Animal Crossing Games
    1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
    2. Animal Crossing – 2001
    3. Animal Crossing: Wild World
    4. Animal Crossing: City Folk
    5. Animal Crossing: A New Leaf
    6. Animal Crossing Expansion Packs and Special Releases
    7. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
    8. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival
    9. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
    10. Animal Crossing in Other Media
  21. Latest Animal Crossing Updates

animal crossing switchImage: Amazon

What is Animal Crossing?

what is animal crossingImage: Gamespot

While each game has its unique factors, the series has some common elements and characters or villagers.

Each game involves a player moving into a village or island populated by anthropomorphic animals and they must make friends with the villagers and other players, collect loot like tools and food, and customize their homes on the island or village.

Is Animal Crossing Real Time?

is animal crossing real timeImage: Trusted Reviews

The game operates in real time using your console’s internal clock and calendar, so things such as plants growing, whether it is night or day, and other activities reflect your current location and status.

Moreover, there are in-game events like holidays, special launches, and more that happen on specific real-world dates.

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What is the Point of Animal Crossing?

what is the point of animal crossingImage: The Mercury News

Unlike most other games, there is really no “winning” at Animal Crossing in the traditional sense, but rather you can gain experience by socializing with the villagers and making friends, customizing your character, your house, and your part of the island, and planting and harvesting plants and other food.

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How to Play Animal Crossing

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Playing Animal Crossing seems simple, at first.

However, as you dive into these open-ended or open world games, the Animal Crossing universe becomes increasingly complex with layers of intrigue and finesse that you probably didn’t anticipate when you first began.

That said, part of the game’s popularity comes from the fact that is hardly linear; on the contrary, you can do whatever you want in Animal Crossing and generally make the experience your own – kind of like the Sims or SimCity games among others.

You start each version of Animal Crossing by establishing and naming your island, and from there you can customize your home, build a garden and tend to your crops, go fishing, get to know your neighbors (in-game characters and fellow players), and even throw parties.

You can also catch bugs, dig for buried treasure or fossils, trade items, and even date or marry once you get further into the game.

There are several ways to play or modes in Animal Crossing.

The primary one is Party Play, where four players form a house and one player serves as the leader or primary who chooses activities for the group; if you have a subscription to Nintendo Switch online, you can use Party Play with up to eight players at a time.

The first person to join a given island automatically becomes the leader, so if you want to be the head person in charge, you’ll want to start your own island instead of joining someone else’s.

Here’s a quick look on how to play Animal Crossing.

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Can You Play Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch

can you play animal crossing on nintendo switchImage: Gamestop

Yes, absolutely.

Animal Crossing New Horizons is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch (sorry PS4 owners!).

One thing to keep in mind –

That there can only be one island per Nintendo Switch (at the time of posting this piece) so if you have more than one Animal Crossing in your household and you don’t want to share an island, you’ll need an additional console.

What’s more, the progress anyone on the island makes is controlled by the lead player, so whatever they do, claim, build, or acquire – including the friendships they make with the game’s characters – affects the playing experience of the others on the island.

What Do You Do in Animal Crossing New Horizons

what do you do in animal crossing new horizonsImage: Usgamer

Making friends in Animal Crossing seems simple on the surface, but it can get more complex once you start interacting with in-game characters and characters outside your “house”.

You can definitely play along with your real-world friends, but you can also make friends in the game – both the actual game characters and your fellow players.

This all starts on day three of Animal Crossing play, when you can build an airport on your island and therefore are able to visit other houses and game locations and invite others to visit yours via private codes that you can share via chat.

One thing to consider is that you have to be careful who you invite to actually “live” on or share your island – they can seize the good loot and decorations for themselves or even vote you off your own island if you have a particularly dire argument about how to run your piece of the Animal Crossing landscape.

You can also host events like virtual parties (birthday parties are popular, especially now in this era of social distancing) and there are add-ons like Chat Log and Best Friends that allow players to chat peer-to-peer.

Note: parents who are concerned about who their kids are interacting with in Animal Crossing and other games can turn on safety controls with the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app.

Another way to make friends is through purchasing gifts in the in-game shops, which offer both recurring and one-time purchases that you can buy with real world currency or by earning currency or points in the game (more on that later in the article).

There are levels of friendship in Animal Crossing which can affect the types of gifts that you can give and receive.

Missing lemons in New Horizons?

How about a lemon Nintendo Switch carrying case!
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How Do You Earn Animal Crossing Bells?

animal crossing bells

There are several different ways to acquire items in Animal Crossing.

You can simply find them, you can be gifted them, or you can use “bells” or the in-game currency to purchase them. Animal Crossing: New Horizons also has “Nook Miles” that you earn by completing various tasks assigned via Nook Mileage Programs.

Bells in Animal Crossing are more like traditional currency – you can use them to pay off your mortgage, buy furniture or other items for your house, buy clothes and accessories, and other items you may want or need.

Basically, the Animal Crossing universe runs on Bells.

So how do you get Bells, anyways?

There are multiple ways to earn bells in the Animal Crossing games.
bells animal crossingImage: Ironmoin

In New Horizons, you can earn Bells by trading in Nook Miles (500 Nook Miles = 3000 Bells), by selling the “hot item” of the day at Nook’s Cranny, or by taking a risk and playing the Stalk Market.

Playing the Stalk Market in Animal Crossing involves buying turnips from Daisy Mae, who circulates the island daily selling turnips.

The prices on the turnips change daily, so you are betting or speculating that you can sell them to Nooklings for more Bells than you paid.

Other ways to earn Bells are completing tasks or doing favors for your fellow villagers – they may reward you with Bells or spare clothing or furniture.

You can also sell your own unwanted goods like furniture, or catch and sell fish from the well-stocked waters surrounding the island at Nook’s Cranny or Residential Services.

Finding and selling shells that wash up on the shore of the island or finding and selling fossils can also be lucrative, and so can catching and selling bugs (note that it is a good idea to donate the first bug of each type that you catch to the Museum).

animal crossing new horizons bellsUsgamer

If you are a fan of catching bugs, you can visit Tarantula Island, where you can find the rarest and most difficult bug to catch – tarantulas are worth 8,000 Bells each.

Locating the Money Rock – a rock that grants you money when you hit it with a shovel – is another way to earn Bells. Every day, a different rock on the island turns into the Money Rock, so you just have to hunt it down.

You can also look for floating presents, or presents attached to a balloon that you can shoot down with your slingshot.

Lastly, you can shake trees in order to find all sorts of things, including Bells, furniture, and wasp nests.

Ready to become an Animal Crossing millionaire?

There’s a video for that.

Here are 10 helpful ways to make some bells in Animal Crossing.

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How Do You Earn Nook Miles In Animal Crossing

fastest way to get milesImage: Nintendo

So how do you earn Nook Miles that you can convert into Bells?

You start by picking up your Nook Phone (your in-game communications device) and going to the Nook Miles app, where you can see the tasks that you can perform in order to earn Nook Miles.

There are several different types of tasks that you can perform to earn Nook Miles.

Here’s a quick tutorial to nook miles fast.

The easiest ones are short tasks or Nook Miles + quests, which are simple and quick and include things like collecting a certain number of fossils or talking to villagers.

Then there are regular Nook Miles tasks, which reward you as you perform daily tasks like fishing and crafting; examples include things like “angling for perfection” or “Island togetherness” along with bug catching, assessing fossils, using your DIY workbench to build new items, and planting flowers.

Regular Nook Miles tasks are divided into five progressive stages, with the difficulty as well as the corresponding amount of Nook Miles earned increasing as you continue through the game.

Completing these tasks also unlocks new keywords that you can display on your Passport in order to customize your title in the game.

What is another fast way to get miles in Animal Crossing?

This video shows you how to get 5,000 miles fast.

Because your Nintendo Switch isn’t complete without an Animal Crossing inspired shell cover.
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How Do You Share and Trade Items in Animal Crossing?

animal crossing tradingImage: Usgamer

Sharing and an animal crossing trade includes various items like food and other accessories or loot is one of the key features of the Animal Crossing series.

And since there are literally thousands of items to collect in the Animal Crossing universe, it is hardly surprising that a vast global marketplace of buying, trading, and selling has sprung up.

Almost all the items in Animal Crossing: New Horizons can be traded or swapped, with the exception of items that cannot be dropped like fish or bugs.

Anything you can drop, plant, or pick up including homemade or DIY furniture and other crafts can be shared or traded with other players.

what are all the items you can trade villagersImage: Dualshockers

What are all the items you can trade villagers?

You can trade villagers if they are ready to move, e.g. their stuff is in boxes, as well as furniture, clothes, flowers, materials, flowers, recipes, and more.

Also, when they are about to move and leave the island; in order to get a villager to pack up, they first must express the desire to leave their current home – and then you pounce and invite them to yours.

Finally, you can trade skills or services with other players and help them (and get them to help you) complete your tasks.

able sistersImage: Usgamernet

You can charge people to buy rare items at places like Able Sisters or Saharah, wish on meteor showers for star fragments, or hire others to water plants or pull weeds on your property.

Of course, in order to accomplish any of these swaps, you have to find trading partners.

There are a variety of ways to find trading partners in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

There is Nookazon, an online trading platform created especially for this game – it is the most widely used trading platform and there are dozens if not hundreds of new listings every minute from players around the world.

Other options include the official Discord server for Animal Crossing: New Horizons which has nearly one million members, along with hundreds of other smaller unofficial servers that have sprung up.

There is also an active Reddit community or subReddit for Animal Crossing players, and other social platforms like Twitter, Facebook (there are plenty of Animal Crossing groups), and some of the international social sites all have their own communities.

Finally, you can always reach out to your friends and family in the real world who also play Animal Crossing, or you can watch this animal crossing trading video.

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The Process of Trading in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

animal crossing itemsImage: Nintendo Enthusiast

The actual process of making a trade in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a little complex.

Since there is no one-to-one way of swapping items, you must first open the gates of your airport and make a Dodo code, which is your unique ID in the game.

Then your trading partner flies to your island with the desired item(s) in their pockets.

Upon landing, you go to an open area with your visitor and they drop the items and you pick them up.

Of course, it’s all vice versa if you are the one bringing the items.

If you are charging an entrance fee to a resource on your island, it works the same way, but your visitor drops their payment instead of the items.

Trading in Animal Crossing: New Horizons has the same rules as swapping or buying or selling an item in a peer-to-peer marketplace in the real world.

Check out their reputation, verify the authenticity of their goods, double check everything, and communicate well and ask all your questions via messaging before the transaction takes place.

No wireless Nintendo Switch controller is complete without K.K. Slider.
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How to Customize Your Characters in Animal Crossing?

can you customize your animal crossing characterImage: Usgamer

One of the things that users love about Animal Crossing is the ability to customize your character’s wardrobe, hairstyle, living environment(s) and more.

And it all starts at the beginning of the game when you create your character and build out your Passport.

Keep in mind that you can change your character’s look and style at any time, so don’t feel pressured to get it perfect right out of the gate.

Things you can specify include skin tone, hair style and color, eye color, nose and lip shape, and more!

And then you can get into the wardrobe – there are several options to choose from at the beginning, and you can discover, unlock, and purchase or trade for more options as you progress through the game.

You’ll want to start by getting a mirror early on so you can check out your character’s look and make changes as you see fit!
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Are you interested in making your own Animal Crossing Villager?

Now you can with this animal crossing character maker.

What are Amiibo Cards in Animal Crossing?

animal crossing amiibo cardsImage: Nintendo

Like the real world, there are some distinct personality types amongst the villagers in Animal Crossing; therefore, it only goes to follow that you’ll want to know which characters are which types so you can interact with them and treat them accordingly.

Amiibo cards and figurines are real world items that you can use to bring back old characters, invite them to your campsite and islands, and otherwise build out your profile in New Horizons.

Each Amibo card gives you the chance to unlock something special to help you build your dream island and community in the Animal Crossing games.

amiibo cardsImage: Gamesradar

New Horizons supports three different types of Amiibo, but not all of them can be unlocked right away – and the game’s developers have stated that support for new Amiibos will be released at later dates, possibly coinciding with holidays or special events.

The first type of Amiibo are the eighteen figurines that have been released so far featuring the most active and popular characters.

The second type are the 400 cards that feature various villagers who may live in your town as well as special characters who make appearances on important occasions.

Third, New Horizons supports the one-off set of fifty Amibo cards that were connected to Animal Crossing: A New Leaf, so players who progressed through that game can use their expertise and background for the latest release and bring characters from A New Leaf to New Horizons.

In addition, Nintendo released a limited edition of six Amiibo cards with Sanrio for New Horizons.

See how older amiibo cards work on New Horizons in the video below.

To learn more about Amiibo, check out Nintendo’s official Amiibo catalog.

Animal Crossing: Festivals and Holidays

animal crossing festivalsImage: Nintendo

The Animal Crossing games all operate on real world time, although there are some ways to speed things up a bit as we covered above.

That means there are events corresponding to actual real life holidays as well as in-game holidays or events that are specific to the game.

Players can also create their own events like virtual parties on their islands.

You can pay attention to alerts in the game and social media and its various Animal Crossing communities in order to keep abreast of these occurrences.

Or you can follow this animal crossing festivals and holidays calendar.

Animal Crossing Personalities

animal crossing personalitiesImage: Animal Crossing

Like any village or town, the population of Animal Crossing villager types and various locations is made up of different personalities.

Each personality type has its positives and negatives, and the mix of types will affect how they interact with each other as well as you and other players – and of course, a good blend of personalities is key towards maintaining harmony in the community!

Because your Switch needs a little personality.
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Each villager falls into one of these eight categories…


This is the most basic or neutral personality type in the game.

Normal villagers tend to be pretty benign and are generally nice to everyone, and they regularly comment on how normal they are compared to everyone else.

They are typically awake during daylight hours.


Lazy villagers are similar to normal villagers, except that they are even more easygoing and relaxed, and tend to profess their love of delicious food whenever it is relevant.

These types tend to be awake during daylight hours but sleep longer than the other villagers.


These villagers can be blunt to the point of being rude, but they can also be incredibly warm, helpful, and friendly.

Also referred to as Uchi, sisterly villagers usually stay up late and you are most likely to encounter them at night.


Known for having the most expensive and elaborately decorated residences, Snooty villagers are a little arrogant and self-centered (although their attitudes have been toned down a bit in New Horizons).

They tend to stay up late and you are most likely to come across them in the evenings.


Easily annoyed and rather grumpy, cranky villagers tend to get into fights with other villager types.

That said, these types get along well with each other – perhaps misery loves company, even in the Animal Crossing universe.

Cranky villagers are night people.


Super friendly and outgoing (if a little bit scattered and flaky), peppy villagers are welcoming and helpful.

They are early risers so you are most likely to find them in the morning ready to greet the day.


Obsessed with sports and physical activity, these villagers are constantly talking about working out and being tired from their workouts, Jocks tend to be the first ones awake in the morning and they sometimes come across as the stereotypical meathead or “dumb jock”.


A mix between all the personality types, smug villagers are often kind and chivalrous but may inadvertently come across as conceited.

Check out the animal crossing personalities video below to learn more details.

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Villager Hobbies in Animal Crossing New Horizons

Villager Hobbies in Animal Crossing New HorizonsImage: Twinfinite

There are a variety of hobbies that Animal Crossing villagers may engage in; when you are building your community, it can be good to include villagers with a mix of interests as well as a mix of personality types.


This hobby involves reading books, visiting the museum, and exploring the island, usually while carrying a magnifying glass.


This is a popular hobby amongst the female villagers, who visit the Able Sisters store and comment on players’ clothing, and even give them new ensembles.

Fashion hobbyists are typically Snooty or Peppy types.


These are flower children or hippie types of Animal Crossing; they are often found sitting underneath trees, watering flowers, and getting distracted by bugs.


Jock type villagers tend to be into fitness, and they can regularly be found doing yoga or exercising near their houses or in the plaza.


These villagers love to sing, and will be found singing near stereos or in the town plaza; they may be seen dancing idly when there is no music in earshot.


This is a rather silly-seeming hobby common where Lazy villagers run around pretending to be airplanes or doing the Naruto run, and sometimes they set up treasure hunts.

Key Characters In Animal Crossing

animal crossing special charactersImage: Nintendo

While every Animal Crossing game is unique, there are some key characters that exist in each iteration and knowing how to interact with them in order to accomplish your goals is an important part of game play.

Tom Nook

tom nook animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

The most important character in the Animal Crossing games, Tom Nook is a racoon or a tanuki in Japanese.

In the earlier Animal Crossing games, he’s the manager of the town shop; in A New Leaf and New Horizons, he’s the owner of Nookington’s, which is staffed by his apprentices Timmy and Tommy.

Starting with Animal Crossing: A New Leaf, he becomes a real estate mogul with Nook’s Homes, and in New Horizons, he’s the head of Nook Incorporated while Timmy and Tommy run the original store.

Tom Nook becomes a leader and task-giver as well as an island upgrader in Animal Crossing New Horizons.

He also serves as a travel agent and is the one who sells players their getaway package to the island at the outset of the game, and you must be on his good side (and Timmy and Tommy’s good sides) in order to build up your home and upgrade your portion of the community.

For everyone who can’t get enough of Tom – a Switch wrap.
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Timmy and Tommy

tim and tommy nook animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

Two young raccoons who are mentored by Tom Nook, Tommy and Timmy are identical twins who closely resemble their boss, despite not being actual relations.

They are friendly and helpful, and frequently echo each other’s sentences.

In New Horizons, Timmy buys and sells items in the Resident Services tent, while Tommy wanders around outside and provides users with tips and advice.

At night they will both be found in the Resident Services tent.

A Timmy and Tommy Nintendo Switch Controller. How cute!
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Mr. Resetti

Mr. Resetti Animal Crossing New HorizonsImage: Nintendo

This grumpy old mole character appears in all the Animal Crossing games and while he may be a curmudgeon, he will make sure that you remember to save your game play on a regular basis, so he may end up becoming a valuable ally!

What’s more, the more times you reset or turn off Animal Crossing without saving your game, the crankier Mr. Resetti gets – and there will be consequences and you may get threatened with a visit from his more vicious cousin Vinny!

However, Mr. Resetti is “retired” from his previous role in New Horizons thanks to the game’s autosave function; instead, he operates Nook, Inc’s rescue service in partnership with Tom Nook.

This allows lost players to return to their homes for a small fee without using Nook miles.

Mr. Resetti also is the “voice” of the error screens in the online version of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

K.K. Slider

kk slider animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

K.K. Slider a.k.a. K.K. a.k.a. DJ K.K. is a guitar playing dog who appears in all the Animal Crossing games. He played near the train station in the earliest games, then moved onto Cafe Roost, and in A New Leaf and New Horizons he plays at Club LOL. K.K. is a prolific musician who has played a total of 386 unique songs throughout the Animal Crossing series.

This dog is a mellow hippie-type of rocker who’s a little rebellious and wants to be liberated; his desires and story are told through the content of his songs.

Players can purchase his music or enjoy his weekly live sessions.

K.K. Slider also appears at the beginning of the game to help explain the rules and get players started on their journeys.


redd animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

Redd is a sly kitsune or fox, also referred to as “Crazy Redd” or “Jolly Redd”.

He runs two ethically questionable furniture shops where players can find pieces to decorate their island homes.

They are called Jolly Redd’s Treasure Trawler and Crazy Redd’s, which sell both authentic and counterfeit paintings and overpriced furniture, some of which are considered “special” Redd items and carry and Happy Room Academy or HRA bonus.

Note that Redd charges admission to his shops and entry occurs on an invite only basis, and he tends to be a high pressure seller who spins complicated yarns about his pieces.

This enigmatic fox views competitor Tom Nook with disdain and refers to him as that “raccoon in an apron”, and in New Horizons he runs his Jolly Redd’s Treasure Trawler out of the back of an old fishing boat on the secret northern beaches.

Redd pops up early on in the game to sell new players a painting – the first one is always genuine – and from there opens up his boat with more pieces of art and furniture, some of which is fake and some of which is real – it is up to the players to make the right choices.

Redd wasn’t initially present in Animal Crossing: New Horizons but was introduced as part of the Earth Day update in April 2020.


lyle animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

An be-whiskered blue otter who is an insurance agent, Lyle appears in Animal Crossing: City Folk, Animal Crossing: Wild World, and Animal Crossing: A New Leaf.

He can provide various types of insurance (health insurance to cover falls and other injuries, home insurance, and more) and give refunds on counterfeit art, for instance, and it is rumored that he used to be a fossil hunter or grave digger.

He has yet to appear in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but given the way that previous characters have been reintroduced via special events and updates so far, we’re not ruling out his return in the fifth installment of the series. He’s known to appear at the Roost Cafe and has potential ties with Redd, although that has yet to be confirmed in the games.


rosie animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A beloved blue cat with huge eyes who is widely used a symbol or icon for the Animal Crossing games,

Rosie is lighthearted, welcoming, and peppy to the point of being overly excited at times.

She has different but brightly colored and feminine houses in each version of Animal Crossing; she also appears in the manga and there is a lot of Rosie merchandise available for sale in the real world.

By becoming Rosie’s friend, players will earn gifts and items like new outfits, sparkle stones, makeup cases, and more based on their levels of friendship with this popular cat.

Want Rosie on your island?

Grab her Amiibo card on Amazon.


isabelle animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A bright yellow dog who resembles a shih-tzu, Isabelle is a nearsighted puppy who assists the player who becomes the town mayor and serves as a secretary and assistant.

She’s eager to help and encourages players to participate in Public Works Projects around town; a consumate politician, she treats the entire town as a family and has the influence or clout to get things done.

Being friends with Isabelle leads to gifts of fruit.

In fact, Isabelle is so helpful that she takes over the role of mayor temporarily if that player is absent from the game for a while.

She and her brother Digby have humble beginnings – they grew up in a cardbox but Isabelle went on to get engineering degrees from nineteen different universities and become a leader in the Animal Crossing realms. Isabelle’s character has also appeared in other games including Super Smash Bros, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Mario Cart 8, and Miltopia.

Amiibo Isabelle for Nintendo Switch
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digby animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

Isabelle’s brother Digby is a brown shih-tzu with white patches and pink freckles, and he’s a designer and judge in charge of the Happy Home Showcase.

He’s friendly and straightfoward, and has a crush on Lottie, the receptionist for Nook’s Homes.


lottie animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A pink otter, Lottie has design expertise and works for Nook’s Homes; she’s also Digby’s love interest.

The Lottie character makes a guest appearance outside of the Animal Crossing world in Super Smash Bros.


celeste animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

Celeste is a pink, red, and white owl who’s name represents “celestial beings” or the sky and stars.

Often caught snoozing, she gets a little defensive and claims she never sleeps on the job.

She tends to visit players on clear nights after meteor showers, staying from 7pm to 4am.

She’s always found wandering the island and will give players the instructions to create a Star Wand the first time she encounters them; upon subsequent meetings Celeste will teach players how to create other types of wands and Zodiac furniture.

She can only share one DIY trick per day per player.

If you present Celeste with a Zodiac Star Fragment or a piece of Zodiac furniture, she will impart a mythological story about the relevant constellation.


blathers animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

Celeste’s brother, a brown and white owl who wears a green bow-tie, is an assistant to the director of the town’s Museum.

Players can visit the Museum by bringing donations of fish, insects, fossils, and paintings.

He’s a true academic with multiple degrees but has a strange phobia of insects, which can make his job complicated at times.

Blathers assesses fossils and takes donations; note that he does play favorites, preferring fossils most of all, then fish, and is horrified if an insect is presented.

After a player makes sixty donations, they may be able to hang a painting or install a sculpture in the Museum.

Blathers will always reject invitations to the Campsite because there are bugs there.


rover animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

Rover is a traveling cat who plays different roles but is always hospitable.

He’s an inveterate traveler, popping up on trains, buses, and even airplanes in New Horizons.

While his welcoming role is taken up by Nook’s nephews Timmy and Tommy in the latest release, he makes a special appearance during the game’s May Day event where he pops up at the end of a maze – and it seems likely that won’t be the last time New Horizons players see him.


Kapp’n animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A green turtle who serves as a driver of buses and taxis or rower of boats, Kapp’n is a sort of singing chauffeur who ferries players and villagers around the islands.

He likes the ladies, singing sea shanties, cucumbers, and has a notable bald spot. Kapp’n often refers to players as various sea creatures like sea bass or scallop, and sometimes appears at the Roost Cafe. Kapp’n has yet to appear in New Horizons but as history has proven, that doesn’t mean he won’t pop up during a special event or update at some point.

Kapp’n 8″ plush doll
animal crossing stuffed animals

Leilani and Leila

leilani animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

These two turtles are Kapp’n wife and daughter respectively, and while they have only appeared in A New Leaf thus far, we can’t count out the possibility of a future appearance in New Horizons.

Leilani works at the information desk on Tortimer Island, helping to guide visitors.

Leila is too young to work and speaks in baby talk.


katrina animal crossings new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A fortune telling navy blue panther who wears elaborate robes and jewels, Katrina has a hidden shop where she tells players their fortunes.

Some villagers speculate that she works illegally, perhaps in conjunction with Redd.

Katrina gives six different fortunes: “Popular/Fortune Upon Love” which means villagers of the opposite gender will be interested in the player, “Support/Fortune Upon Friendship” which tells players that villagers of the same gender will be helpful, “Unpopular/Disaster Upon Love” which says all villagers will avoid that player, “Lucky Fiances/Fortune Upon Wealth” so the player will find and earn more Bells than normal, “Lucky Materials/Fortune Upon Items” so that player will find rare items more easily, and “Unlucky/Disaster Upon Health” meaning that the player will fall down and trip up often.


Gracie animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A fashion-designing giraffe who is appropriately taller than everyone else in the village, she is the face of Ms. Nintendique magazine and is rumored to be connected to Fauna magazine as well. She’s highly pampered and very glamorous.

Gracie has yet to appear in New Horizons but we can’t rule it out – maybe she’ll pop up around Fashion Week?


Saharah animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A camel who trades in rare carpets and wallpapers, Saharah is a merchant who sells three different sizes of rugs and various styles of flooring wallpapers; users can also trade in their current pieces using Saharah tickets that they receive upon their initial purchase. Saharah has a fractured style of speech and appears randomly on the island – if players are lucky, they will see her.

Players cannot purchase duplicates but there is the option to buy Mysterious rugs and Mysterious wallpapers with randomized designs.


leif animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A chilled-out gardening sloth, Leith provides seeds for saplings and flowers to the villagers.

He can also be found pulling weeds when an area has fifty-plus weeds (or asking a player to do it if he’s dozing – he is a sloth after all).

In New Horizons, he appears as a traveling vendor at Residential Services during the day and will share his Hedge DIY recipe if a player purchases three or more items from him.


reese animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

An affable alpaca who works at Re-Tail with her husband Cyrus, Reese buys items from players, sells merchandise, and can provide info on the latest Turnip prices.

In New Horizons, she and Cyrus appeared in the Wedding Season on Harv Island where players could exchange Heart Crystals for special wedding-themed furniture.

How about a soft and cuddly Reese?
reese plush animal


Cyrus animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A sleepy aplaca who generally lets his wife Reese run the show (users have to spend a certain amount with Reese before he even gets up), Cyrus is a skilled craftsman who can customize and even crystalize furniture, miniaturize fossils, and even turn one of K.K. Slider’s songs into a special music box made from a giant clamshell.


kicks animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A traveling peddler who sells rare socks, shoes, and bags at the Residential Services plaza, Kicks is a skunk who also shines shoes and helps players customize their look.

He appears once a player constructs the Able Sisters shop on their island.

Kicks 8″ plushie
animal crossing plushie


sable animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

A brown hedgehog who is the shy co-owner of the Able Sisters shop, Sable is the eldest of three sisters who all love fashion and style.

She is rather reserved and likes the slow pace of country life, and is usually found in the back corner of the shop at her sewing machine while the sisters do the talking.

The three Able sisters are all very close due to losing their parents in a car accident when they were young and they rarely speak about their past.

Labelle/Label Able

Labelle animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

One of the more fashionable villagers, Label Able or Labelle is a special visitor in New Horizons who rewards players that model clothing for her – she hangs out in the Residential Services plaza and offers players free clothing from her Labelle label if they model an outfit based around a specific theme.

If the player manages to come up with a look that fits the theme, they get to keep the freebie and get two Tailors Tickets; if they fail, they only get one Tailors Ticket. These tickets can be redeemed at the Able Sisters for items that cost 3000 Bells or less.

Labelle is a purple hedgehog who has studied fashion design and the middle sister of the Able family.

How about some Nook brew?
animal crossing merchImage: EasyAsPiCo


mabel animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

The youngest Able sister, Mabel is the most outgoing and charismatic and is known to chastise Sable if she is too shy with customers.

She is first spotted at Nook’s Cranny hanging out with Timmy and Tommy; upon a third meeting, players can upgrade to the Able Sisters shop where she works as a clerk.


Harriet animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

Harriet is a girly pink poodle who works at Shampoodle, located directly above the Able Sisters shop.

She can be positive to the point of enabling crazy looks, but she does give excellent makeovers that start with a series of questions and end with your character looking updated and refreshed.

Daisy Mae

daisy mae animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

An orange boar who was introduced in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Daisy Mae appears on the island every Sunday morning to sell turnips.

She took over the role from her grandmother Joan of “Sow Joan’s Stalk Market”, who appeared in earlier iterations of the series.

She sells white turnips that must be sold by the following Sunday to have any value; the price of these turnips varies twice per day Monday through Saturday (ask Timmy and Tommy for the latest updates) and of course, the goal is to sell the turnips for more than what one paid for them and make a profit on the Stalk Market.


gulliver animal crossing new horizonsImage: Nintendo

Gulliver is an enigmatic explorer seagull who can be found washed up on shore, looking for parts to his “communicator” in New Horizons.

He may ask players to help him find the five parts so he can get back to his ship and crew; these parts may be buried or scattered along the beach in small holes with jets of water spurting out.

After helping him, players will receive a thank you letter with a gift attached, such as rare furniture or exotic clothing and accessories.

Once players have assisted Gulliver thirty times, they will receive a DIY recipe for a golden shovel.

Nothing is more fun than the Animal Crossing Official Sticker Book!
animal crossing official sticker book

Animal Crossing Items that are Important

animal crossing itemsImage: Lex18

There are a bunch of different items that players can purchase, grow, gather, give, and receive.

They vary in usefulness, value, and have different special abilities depending on how they are acquired and where they are used.

Here are some of the more and common important items in the Animal Crossing universe, although you should keep in mind that there are thousands of items and elements that come into play…


animal crossing new horizons item listImage: Nintendo

Each Animal Crossing town begins with one of five types of fruit – apples, cherries, oranges, peaches, or pears.

The native fruit sells for 100 Bells, but other types cost up to 500.

There are also coconuts available, which are not native to any given area but cost 250 Bells.

In New Horizons, eating a fruit gives players the stamina to shove a fully grown tree or break a rock; players can eat up to ten fruits at once before they need to harness that energy by doing the aforementioned tasks or sitting on toilet furniture.

Fruits are also used for DIY recipes for housewares, furniture, or clothing.


Turnips are the center of Animal Crossing’s Stalk Market, where users can speculate on turnip prices and hopefully make some serious Bells.

New Horizons players purchase turnips from Daisy Mae in orders of ten on Sundays, and they have all week to sell them for the best price possible (prices fluctuate twice daily) in order to earn some Bells on the margin.

Note that if you don’t sell your turnips by the next Sunday, they rot and attract flies and ants.


animal crossing items idsImage: Nintendo

There are eighty different types of fish and aquatic animals in Animal Crossing: New Horizons including mahi mahi, snapping turtles, rainbow fish, various types of sharks, and more.

The type of fish that you encounter depends on your location and the weather; there are river fish, pond fish, and sea fish, with subtypes depending on the areas of the island that you are in (e.g. the river’s mouth versus the clifftop).

What’s more, some types of fish show more in cold or rainy weather, while some prefer the heat and sunshine.

In order to catch fish in Animal Crossing, you need to acquire a fishing rod and then go to a body of water and cast their line and bobber near a shadowy fish and grab it when it nibbles.

It is also possible to use a net or shovel to catch a fish that is near the shore.

Players can earn Bells by fishing for others – the rarer the fish, the more its worth.

If you are into fish, here is a definitive guide on Animal Crossing New Horizons fish.


ac new horizonsImage: Nintendo

The Animal Crossing islands are filled with various creepy crawly critters, including various types of moths, beetles, and dragonflies.

Bugs or insects are collectible items, and players need a net to nab them.

Once players have a bug in their possession, they can donate it to the Museum, sold to Tom Nook, or kept inside a bug cage in your home.

Bugs tend to be worth more than most fish, with the exception being particularly rare or hard-to-find types.

This Animal Crossing New Horizons bug guide is updated every month.


animal crossing fossilsImage: Video Games Chronicle

Fossils are one of the more intriguing collectible items in Animal Crossing.

Up to five fossils are generated each day starting at 5am local time once a player has engaged Blathers to visit their island by supplying him with five fish or bugs to give to Tom Book; once the fossils appear they are hidden under starfish shaped rocks and must be dug up with a shovel.

There are seventy different types of fossils you can find in New Horizons, ranging from small pieces of ammonite to large multi-piece fossils belonging to creatures like mammoths and tyrannosaurus rexes.

These blue stars with celestial etchings must be identified by Blathers at the Museum before players learn their value.

Larger standalone fossils can be used as furniture and smaller ones can be displayed on stands in houses. Fossils can be donated to the Museum via Blathers, and he’ll give you a short presentation on the history of the fossil when you do.

Players can also sell fossils at Nook’s Cranny.

Here’s an Animal Crossing fossil guide to get you caught up to speed.


animal crossing clothesImage: Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons players can customize almost any aspect of their appearance, including their wardrobe of bags, fans, hats, shoes, socks, tops, bottoms, dresses, umbrellas, helmets, masks, and more.

There are nearly 5000 (and counting) clothing options in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

There are a variety of ways to acquire clothing and accessories in New Horizons – players can purchase pieces from Nook’s Cranny or the Nook Stop, from the Able Sisters, and various special events.

Players can also design their own clothing via the Nook Phone or use DIY recipes to craft individualized pieces.

Clothing that is not being worn is stored in the player’s house.

Players can also give villagers clothing to wear, although they may not accept it or wear it for more than a day.

If a player has lots of different clothing options, they may need to increase their storage capacity in their home.

Check out how to unlock all the cute clothes in the quick video below.

Hairstyles and Makeup

animal crossing hair guideImage: Reddit

Of course, if you can customize your clothing in Animal Crossing, you can customize your hair and makeup (and eye color) as well.

There are hundreds of hairstyle and color combinations to choose from, and you can change things up at Shampoodle salon, located above the Able Sisters clothing store.

Need a tutorial?

Check out this Animal Crossing New Horizons makeup tutorial below.

Paintings and Statues

animal crossing artImage: Animal Crossing World

Every house needs some artwork, and the Animal Crossing homes are no exception.

Paintings and sculptures or statues can be acquired through Redd, although players must exercise caution in order to ensure that they get real artwork and not counterfeit pieces from this villager known for his questionable ethics and interpretations of the truth.

When you choose pieces from Redd’s shop, you get a selection of four options, and it is up to you to determine which pieces are real versus fake.

Paintings and statues can also be donated to the Museum or sold or traded to others in the game.

Redd the art dealer doesn’t show up until after you’ve broached the subject of art with Blathers; once that happens, Isabelle will pop up to warn you about shady art dealers wandering the island, and the quest for art will continue on from there.

Once you dive into this part of the game you’ll want to follow this Animal Crossing paintings & statues guide on real vs fake.


animal crossing furnitureImage: Animalcrossing Fandom

Of course, your home on the Animal Crossing needs furniture.

There are multiple ways to acquire furniture – you can build it on your DIY workbench, you can buy it from Nook’s Cranny, or order it from the Nook Stop catalog. As the game progresses, there will be other opportunities to purchase, trade, or sell furniture as well.

The types of furniture available include housewares (which covers everything from musical instruments to tables, chairs, armoires, and beds), wall-mounted pieces like plaques and wreaths, rugs and flooring, wallpaper, and other miscellaneous options like electronics and cooking tools.

If you want to customize your furniture, you must first join Tom Nook’s workshop in order to unlock this feature.

Then you’ll receive fifty customization kits to take to your workbench and start building out and designing your dream Animal Crossing home.

Check out this very detailed Animal Crossing furniture guide.

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animal crossing new gameImage: Nintendo

There are several types of stones in Animal Crossing that can prove to be useful, such as iron nuggets, clay, and other types of rocks.

These can be used to smash things and find other items, or might be useful in DIY recipes for building various types of tools and more.

Here’s a video gameplay to get you starting on finding stones in Animal Crossing New Horizons.


Useful for crafting and DIY recipes, wood is obtained by chopping down trees with your axe.

New Horizons players can find three types of wood – regular wood, hardwood, and softwood – each of which has different valuable applications.

Wood is useful for making tools like various types of axes, shovels, watering cans, ladders, and vaulting poles; wood is also needed to make DIY workbenches.

Players can also purchase wood from Nook’s Cranny or sell wood for 60 Bells per piece.

At the outset of the game, players will be asked for 30 pieces of hardwood, soft wood, and regular wood to help build Nook’s Cranny.

Here’s 1.5 minute video tutorial on how to get wood.


animal crossing toolsImage: Usgamer

You’ll need a variety of tools to successfully build out your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Some of these tools can be crafted or upgraded with your DIY workbench, of course, and some of them can be purchased – it all depends on your handiness and willingness to grind it out for tools versus accumulating Bells and therefore stocking your toolbox that way.

Players start collecting by collecting tools once they obtain a Tool Ring after accumulating 800 Nook miles.

This ring has eight slots for different tools, and they can be swapped out depending on what tasks or activities need to be performed.

There are dozens of variations and customization options for your tools in New Horizons, but the main types are Fishing Rods, Nets, Shovels, Axes, Watering Cans, Slingshots, Navigation tools like ladders and vaulting poles, and Wands, which are powered by star fragments and let players switch between outfits and even put on silly costumes.

Here’s an excellent write-up on animal crossing tools.


animal crossing workbenchImage: Nintendo

There are five different kinds of workbenches – the simple DIY workbench, the mini DIY workbench, the ironwood DIY workbench, the cute DIY table, and the standard DIY workbench.

Each has its own uses and as the game progresses, players can build them all.

There are also workbenches available at the Community Center, on mystery islands, and in villagers homes that you may be invited into, but of course you’ll have to wait for these to become available.

Ready to become a DIY pro?

Check out this quick video on how to craft a workbench.


animal crossing medicineImage: Nintendo

Medicine in Animal Crossing is typically used to heal villagers from wasp or bee stings.

It can be purchased from Nook’s Cranny and is a useful thing to keep on hand – especially because you may receive a gift in exchange if you help out an ailing villager.

Find out how to get the menu recipe in the video below.


animal crossing shellsImage: Nintendo

Shells can be used as a valuable form of semi-currency in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and they are most likely the way that most players build up their initial stash of Bells, since all kinds of shells wash up all over the beaches and don’t require anything in particular to unlock.

Shells range from inexpensive cowries to rare giant clams, so they can be sold for various amounts of Bells depending on their rarity.

Shells also play a key role in many DIY recipes, so amassing some shells is a good idea in general.

Here’s a resource for how many bells your shells are worth.

Nook Phone

nook phone animal crossingCredit: Inverse

The Nook Phone is your in-game smartphone that lets you check all kinds of things via various apps, such as your Bells balance, your Passport, your DIY recipe collection, various design tools, and more.

You can also call friends, maintain a best friends list, and check Critterpedia to identify items and creatures you discover.


Your passport in Animal Crossing is similar to an actual real world passport – it has all your identifying info, your picture, the name of your island, ID number, and other useful info.

You can also use keywords or comments to describe yourself, which can be helpful when making new friends.

Ready to go shopping?

Check out this video tutorial on how to unlock the shopping app.

DIY Recipes In Animal Crossing

animal crossing diyImage: Nintendo

DIY recipes are one of the most popular aspects of the Animal Crossing games.

These recipes are crafting mechanics that allow players to use items they’ve gathered to build new items like tools, housewares, wall-mounted decorations of various types, wallpaper, rugs, flooring, tools and equipment, and other useful things or decorative objects like candleholders and lunchboxes as well as significant structures like fences and bridges.

It all depends on the items that you have at hand the DIY recipes you acquire (note that all your DIY recipes in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are stored in your Nook Phone, so you can access them whenever you are ready to get crafty).

DIY recipes can be purchased or players can learn them from villagers and via encounters with various characters.

What’s more, every day that you log into New Horizons will result in two messages in a bottle containing DIY recipes and a letter will wash up on the shore of your island; they will show up six hours apart and it is your job to find them and save the recipes.

Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing New Horizons Aloha Edition Travel Case
nintendo switch travel case

Essential Places in Animal Crossing

animal crossing new horizons secretsImage: Usgamer

As you build out your island and home in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll start to encounter a number of important and secret places or locations as you progress through the game.

These are some of the most important…

Resident Services/Community Center

new animal crossing gameImage: Nintendowire

This complex of stores and open plaza is the main hub of the island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and other Animal Crossing games.

It starts off as a small tent in a clearing, but as you progress through the game, it becomes a built-up plaza complete with a variety of stores and various vendors and meeting places for various characters.

It is also the place where many special events are hosted and where villagers tend to hang out when they are awake and not at home.

Nook’s Cranny

animal crossing (video game)Image: Nintendo

This store has appeared in various forms in all of the Animal Crossing games, so it is somewhat of a fixture in this universe.

It is a sort of general store and trading post, where players can buy and sell almost anything.

In order to unlock the Nook’s Cranny store in New Horizons, you must upgrade yourself from a tent to a house, pay off your initial 5000 miles worth of Nook miles debt, donate five unique bugs or fish to Tom Nook, and place Blathers tent.

You also need to supply thirty units each of hard wood, soft wood, and regular wood along with thirty iron nuggets.

Nook’s Cranny is staffed by Timmy and Tommy, and they offer a daily hot item that you can produce from a DIY recipe that they will buy for double the normal amount of Bells, so it is good to keep an eye on what they are up to in their store.

The video guide below shows you how to unlock Nook’s Cranny.


animal crossings online gameImage: Nintendo Life

Run by the persnickety Blathers, the Museum displays every fossil, bug, fish, painting, and other donated by players.

It is where you go when you want to learn more about the critters that inhabit your island as well as capture some of Blathers’ wisdom. In order to unlock the museum, you need to give Blathers ten bugs or fish after you convince him to move to your island.

Once the museum is built, you can start donating items including all kinds of critters as well as artwork – just watch out for Redd’s clever forgeries!

Ready to unlock the museum?

Here’s a video guide to show you.

Able Sisters Shop

animal crossing humanImage: Nintendo

This is the primary place where New Horizons players and villagers go to get their fabulous wardrobes.

Run by three Able sisters, these stylish hedgehogs will set you up in style.

How to unlock the Able Sisters shop.


Want to change your character’s look?

Then it is time to head to the Shampoodle salon over the Able Sisters’ store and meet Harriet to update your hairstyle and more.

Happy Room Academy

Fancy yourself a great interior designer in New Horizons?

Then show your home to the Happy Room Academy and be judged by the experts.

If your home is ranked highly, then you will receive letters and gifts from Happy Room Academy.


Image: Nintendo Wire

These are outdoor or temporary structures that allow villagers to check out your island without moving in.

Animal Crossing humans / camping villagers can be invited to stay if there are vacant lots on the island, or they may just hang out for a bit and leave if their personalities don’t mesh.

Generally, players should be hospitable to camping villagers.

An Animal Crossing water bottle for your long sessions.
animal crossing merchandise

List of Animal Crossing Games

There are five different games in the Animal Crossing series, which was initially launched in 2001.

The series has also resulted in plenty of non-game spinoffs, including collections of manga (comic books) released in Japan as well as mentions in mainstream mass media in the U.S. and beyond.

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Newest Animal Crossing Game – Animal Crossing: New Horizons 2020

Animal Crossing Release Date: March 20, 2020

The fifth and most recent game in the Animal Crossing series and playable on the Nintendo Switch, New Horizons is also by far the most popular – it sold over five million copies in the first month it was released and broke the console game record for the most units sold in a single month.

Like the other Animal Crossing games, it is a non-linear open-ended social simulation game that takes place in a realm populated by anthropomorphic animals that runs on real time. Users can customize their living environments and their character’s appearance, collect a wide change of items, make friends and establish domiciles with other players, and more.

Up to four players locally and eight players online can be living on one island at any given time; only one account per Nintendo Switch is permitted.

Some of the new features offered in New Horizons include the ability to choose your character’s skin color.

They can also invite animals to live on their islands and decide where the animal gets to construct their own home.

In addition, the game’s weather adjusts to the northern or southern hemisphere depending on where the player is located, and the leaves on the plants and trees blow in the wind if it is windy outside in the player’s area as well.

The Telegraph called Animal Crossing: New Horizons “the perfect DIY recipe for the most chilled out, relaxing, and engaging life simulator ever” and the game has received plenty of praise, although limiting player profiles to one per Switch has resulted in some negative commentary.

Some of New Horizons’ success has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and people looking for escapism and a solo activity; the game has been used as a platform for get-togethers like birthdays and reunions and even weddings and funerals.

It was also used as a way to communicate during the Hong Kong protests and mentioned in multiple mass media outlets and programs.

Ready to dive in to New Horizons?

Grab the Animal Crossing New Horizons official game guide below.
animal crossing new horizons official game guide

Animal Crossing 2001

Animal Crossing Release Date April 14, 2001

The original version of Animal Crossing or Dōbutsu no Mori (Animal Forest) was released by Nintendo in Japan in April 2001, and the open-ended open world quickly became popular and was released worldwide later in the year.

In this version, players are newcomers to a town filled with anthropomorphic animals and are led around by a cat named Rover while they build a house, interact with villagers, and otherwise develop a social life in the game, which operates in real time.

The original Animal Crossing is available on Gamecube, Nintendo, and Gameboy Advance; players could also collect a number of other NES games via Animal Crossing including various Donkey Kong titles, Punch-Out, and Wario’s Woods.

Animal Crossing received considerable critical acclaim including being named the seventh best Gamecube game of all time by X-Play on G4 and it still holds a 9.1 rating on IGN.

Animal Crossing: Wild World

Release Date December 5th, 2005

The sequel to the popular initial Animal Crossing game for Nintendo DS (later released for the Wii U), Wild World operates on similar principles – players arrive in a land populated by talking animals (the villagers), and have to build a home, develop relationships, and otherwise make a life for themselves in this wild new world.

Until it was shut down in 2014, Animal Crossing: Wild World used the DS console’s WiFi to allow players to visit different player’s villages and more.

Unlike the first Animal Crossing, Wild World uses the dual screen capability of the DS to allow for players to manage inventory and view scenes in the game from the sky or top down or from ground level (the first game only had a top down view).

The game also had leaderboards and matchmaking capabilities.

Wild World received positive reviews including a score of 86 out of 100 on Metacritic and some characters appear in Super Smash Bros Brawl for the Nintendo Wii.

Once Animal Crossing: City Folk was released, players could transfer their characters to the new game.

Animal Crossing: City Folk

Release Date November 16, 2008

Also referred to as Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City in some markets, City Folk is one of the best-selling games of all time on the Nintendo Wii.

Like the previous games, Animal Crossing: City Folk is an open-ended social simulation game that takes place in real time and involves interacting with other users as well as a group of lively anthropomorphic animals.

Some of the key aspects that differentiate City Folk from the other Animal Crossing games include the use of the Wii remote to handle tools like axes, slingshots, and bug catching nets.

Each player has their own house (provided by Tom Nook) that they can decorate and furnish as they please.

Another new feature is the nearby city that players can visit to buy furniture and decorations, get their hair done, go to the theater, and more.

City Folk received mixed reviews – while it was praised for its design and game play, some critics felt that it wasn’t updated or changed enough to appeal to Animal Crossing veterans.

Animal Crossing: A New Leaf

Release Date November 8, 2012

The highly anticipated version of Animal Crossing for Nintendo 3DS, A New Leaf retained the common features and characters of the previous iterations of the game, but added some clever new twists.

These include requiring players to live in a tent before upgrading to a house, increased customization abilities for player’s wardrobes, hairstyles, furniture, and home decor, an ability to swim in the ocean, and the ability to visit other islands and network with other players, including participating in mini-games and winning medals on Tortimer Island.

Snapshot capabilities with the Nintendo DS camera are another new feature, so players can share screenshots of their game on social media.

Another new game mechanic introduced in Animal Crossing: A New Leaf is the ability of players to become town mayor and control two new features: Public Works and Ordinances.

The mayor uses Public Works to collect funds to build things that are useful to the townspeople like bridges, fountains, light poles, cafes, and campsites.

What’s more, there is a DreamSuite option where players can view other people’s homes, and Streetpass so they can explore other towns.

There’s a Happy Home showcase where players can show off their properties, and a way to create QR codes of their designs at the Able Sisters sewing shop.

A New Leaf features two new animal types, hamsters and deers, along with two new personalities, “smug” (self-explanatory), and “uchi” (a sort of big sister attitude). Several new characters are introduced as well, including Isabelle, Leith, Digby, Reese, Cyrus, and more, and A New Leaf gives K.K. Slider a job as a DJ at Club LOL.

Animal Crossing: A New Leaf received high praises from critics and is one of the best selling Nintendo 3DS games of all time.

Animal Crossing Expansion Packs and Special Releases

In addition to the five main Animal Crossing games, there have been three special releases or expansions available around the world.

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (2015, Nintendo 3DS Only)

This is a sandbox or closed-garden style game where players get to design homes for the various Animal Crossing characters.

It focuses only on the interior design aspects of Animal Crossing – players serve as employees for Nook’s Homes and create houses for their clients.

They can unlock new design elements as they progress through the game, visit houses they’ve created, and use Amiibo cards to visit homes other characters have designed.

The game was reasonably well received; Nintendo Life called “the sheer amount of content staggering” but also said the game lacked any real challenge.

Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival (2015, Wii U Only)

This Animal Crossing spinoff is a virtual board game similar to the Mario Party series that supports Amiibo cards and requires the use of the eight Amiibo toys to play (these are bundled with the release).

It involves eight key characters including Tom Nook, K.K. Slider, Isabelle, and Mable received some criticism due to being somewhat cumbersome but was ultimately considered “charming, relaxing, and best played with friends” by IGN magazine.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (2017, Mobile Devices Only)

Released for mobile only, this Animal Crossing spinoff allows players to interact with small groups at a campsite where you need to perform various tasks, buy, sell, and trade goods and craft materials (that can then be turned into things like furniture and pools), and decorate your living area.

Players can befriend each other as well as the animal creatures in the game, visit locations like Sunburst Island or Saltwater Shores, or go to a market that sells furniture and clothing.

Pocket Camp players can customize their character’s appearance and their vehicles, and as they interact with neighbors and complete tasks, their experience level increases, allowing them to unlock new game mechanics.

Players can also participate in various mini-games like fishing tournaments, scavenger hunts, and garden vents; there is an in-game currency called Leaf Tickets that allows users to buy items like special event furniture, reduce in-game timers, and more. Special events and limited-time items are planned for the future.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has won multiple awards, including Best Mobile Game of the Year from IGN and the SXSW gaming awards.

Play while charging in an Animal Crossing angled stand.
nintendo switch stand

Animal Crossing In Other Media

Several tie-in manga series related to Animal Crossing have been released in Japan, with the latest one – Atsumare Dōbutsu no Mori: Nonbiri Shima Diary – scheduled to be released in the June 2020 issue of Coro Coro comics.

The publishers also release English language versions of the Manga as serials via Twitter.

You can also purchase Animal Crossing plushies or stuffed toy versions of the game’s most popular characters as well as other merchandise like clothing, accessories, stationary, tech cases, and more.

Animal Crossing characters have also made appearances in other games, including Mario Kart, several incarnations of the Super Smash Bros series, and Miltopia along with some popular Japanese video games.

Naturally, there is a lot of Animal Crossing fanfic or fan fiction out there too, since many players tend to develop an attachment to their characters and the game’s cute animals, and therefore extend their story beyond the limits and scope of the games themselves.

Latest Animal Crossing Updates

As of this writing, Animal Crossing: New Horizons players are able to go swimming.

As part of the first summer part 1 update, players can now put on a wetsuit and dive into the ocean, meet new characters, and more.

Watch this space for future updates, or sign up for the Gaming Endsights newsletter.

And on one last note, you can leave with hearing some Animal Crossing music.

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