Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the best games you can play on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a charming, relaxing experience that places you on an island with anthropomorphic animals as you catch fish and insects, craft furniture, and build amenities.
If you’re new to the Animal Crossing series or have just started playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, we’ve got the essential tips and tricks you need to ensure your island flourishes…
1. Don’t Rush Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons plays in real-time and isn’t the sort of game that you can rush through to completion. It reflects the seasons and time of the real world, which means that sometimes you might have done everything possible for that day.
For example, trees and flowers take a few days to grow and some fish and bugs will only appear in specific months. If you’ve dug up all the fossils you can find and chatted to all of the villagers (the best Animal Crossing villagers!), it’s OK to save the game and come back the next day when things have progressed naturally.
2. Pay Off Your Home Loan
Tom Nook is the mastermind of your island and owns its economy. You will need to pay him to cover your moving costs. Do this as soon as possible, payable with Nook Miles, then take out a loan to upgrade from a tent to a house. Tom Nook will immediately begin construction (even before the loan is paid off) which takes 24 hours to complete.
Having a house grants you access to lots of important features. You can buy recipes and items from the Nook Stop machine, earn additional Nook Miles for completing daily tasks, and put extra items in your house’s storage.
3. Collect Everything You Find
Your island is packed full of valuable resources. Look out for the crosses on the floor, which you can dig to find fossils. Grab your net to catch bugs and use your rod to reel in fish. Shake trees, hit rocks, and pick weeds. If you see something, pick it up.
This is important for several reasons. First, resources like clay and wood can be used to craft items to decorate your island and home. Second, Timmy and Tommy at Nook’s Cranny will buy pretty much everything, so you can start building up bells to plunge back into their store or paying off your loan.
Selling items is also one of the essential Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp tips .
4. Donate to the Museum
When you first start Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you won’t have a museum. Instead, you need to donate bugs and fish to Tom Nook in order to lure Blathers, the museum curator, to your island.
You can only donate one of each item. Use your Nook phone’s Critterpedia to see if you’ve donated it before—if there’s an owl icon next to the bug or fish, it’s already part of the museum’s collection. Blathers will also accept fossils, but you need to take them to him so that he can identify them.
There’s no financial benefit to donating things to the museum (you can sell any duplicates at Nook’s Cranny and the fossils usually net high amounts), but it’s immensely satisfying to wander around the populated exhibits and admire your hard work.
5. Talk to Your Fellow Island Inhabitants
At first, you will have two fellow inhabitants. These are randomly chosen from a selection of almost 400 possible characters. More will start moving in over time when they hear how great your island is.
It’s important to cultivate these relationships, so don’t forget to have a quick chat if you bump into them or simply visit their house. They will give you tips, recipes, items, and generally brighten up your day. You can also send them letters and give gifts to improve your friendship.
On the other hand, if there’s someone you’re not particularly fond of, you can ignore them and they will eventually move off the island and be replaced by someone else.
6. Scan the Sky and Beach
There’s obviously a lot happening on land, but don’t forget to look up at the sky and roam the beaches.
If you hear a whooshing sound above, get your slingshot out because it means there’s a balloon floating past with a present attached. Fire at the balloon and it’ll pop and the present will fall to your feet. It’ll contain a recipe, an item, or some bells. Be careful not to let it drop into some water, though you will earn some consolation Nook Miles the first time this happens.
Meanwhile, check your beach every morning and you will find various things washed up. Look for any message bottles because these will contain recipes from far-away islands. If you already have the recipe, don’t worry, just sell it to the Nook twins or gift it to a resident.
7. Upgrade Your Inventory
You’ll quickly discover that your inventory doesn’t hold many items, especially when you account for all the tools.
Once you’ve paid off your tent loan to Tom Nook, access the Nook Stop and visit the Nook Miles shop. Here you can buy a Pocket Organization Guide for 5000 Nook Miles. This will upgrade your inventory from 20 slots to 30, which makes a world of difference.
Later in the game you can upgrade the Resident Services tent into a building. At this point you will be able to buy the Ultimate Pocket Stuffing upgrade, which costs 8000 Nook Miles and boosts your inventory to 40 slots.
8. Visit Other Islands With Nook Island Tickets
Use the Nook Stop and you can buy a Nook Miles Ticket for the price of 2000 Nook Miles. These are delivered immediately and valid for one trip. Head to the airport, talk to Orville, and you can use the ticket.
The ticket will send you to a randomly generated island that could be full of fruit and wildlife that isn’t native to your personal island. As such, before travelling, clear your pockets of everything except your tools, and then stock up on the exotic goodies so you can plant them when you get back home.
Don’t leave anything important behind because once you fly home you won’t ever be able to return.
9. Look Out for Visitors and Events
Your island will often play host to visitors. Some will arrive on specific days, like turnip seller Daisy Mae on Sunday morning, while others like shady artwork seller Redd have a more flexible schedule. Take some time to roam your island to see who’s there on any given day.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons will often host season events that reflect the real world. For example, past events include Bunny Day for Easter and Nature Day for Earth Day. These are limited events that reward you with items or Nook Miles. Isabelle will announce them in her morning updates.
10. Play With Friends
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is great fun to play offline, but it’s even more fun when you play with friends. You can visit other people’s islands from the airport to check out their islands, mingle with other residents, and fish and catch bugs as normal.
Each island has its own native fruit, so get a group of friends together and share the goods out. Then plant them so that they grow on your island. Exotic fruits will sell for higher prices at your Nook’s Cranny; you can quickly build up a fruit farm for lots of bells.
Download the NookLink app on your smartphone to make it easier to chat with others, since the in-game chat keyboard is slow and cumbersome.
More Great Nintendo Switch Games to Play
Remember, take your time with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and it will reward you. This is a game to pace out and enjoy over the course of weeks, months, or even years.
And if you want some more gaming fun, check out the best local multiplayer games for Nintendo Switch .