Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide

Sometimes, all I want is to be a diddly darn farmer in a quiet village; tending to my carrots, feeding my chickens…you know, the peaceful life. But because adulthood beckons me with a life of responsibilities, I’ll have to put my villager goals on hold. 

Luckily, we live in a world where we can virtually live out our wildest fantasies. So if you’re like me, Animal Crossing is one of those games that offers respite from the real-world. 

The game has just released its latest series, New Horizons – if you’re just starting out and wanna upgrade your villager skills stat, here are some tips and tricks to get you on your way.

1. Pay off your moving loan debt ASAP

animal crossings new horizons housing loan
Image credit: Nintendo

One of the first things that happen when you get to your island is Tom Nook giving you a sweet sum of 5,000 Nook Miles to cover your moving costs. You’ll have to pay this back, and it’s best to do it quickly. 

Once you’ve settled your loans, you’ll be able to upgrade from a tent to an actual house – this means extra in-built storage for everything you’ll go on to collect while playing the game, instead of carrying it with limited space. 

animal crossings new horizons house
Image credit: Nintendo

So if you want to join in the fun of decorating and showing off your new pad, O$P$!

Other things you’ll unlock after paying off your debts include Nook Mile Rewards, which includes special items and recipes, as well as Nook Miles+. These are tasks that earn you miles once completed – plus, they always refresh, meaning it’s an easy way to have a lil side income.

2. Time travel to make days go faster

In case you haven’t already realised, time in Animal Crossing is unlike other simulation games where a “day” in the game is a mere few hours IRL. In fact, the game runs on real-world time – meaning the digital sun sets only when it’s evening for real.

animal crossings new horizons seasons
Different seasons = different perks
Image credit: USGamer

This also means that the seasons in the game come and go as it does in real life, which requires quite a bit of waiting. Unless you want to go all out and mess with the fabric of time and space itself, that is. 

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Under system settings, select “Date and Time” and turn off “Synchronise Clock” 
  2. Change your date and time settings according to preference
  3. Restart the game

But if time travel movies like Butterfly Effect and Donnie Darko have taught me anything, it’s that everything has consequences. Messing around with the settings leads to time skips in the game itself, with results like villagers leaving your island.

Some users also recommend going back in time instead of forward, as it’ll give you a chance to “catch up” with real time.

3. Harvest Money Trees for free bells

animal crossings new horizons money tree
Image credit: Nintendo/Polygon

Our parents might say money doesn’t grow on trees, but anything is possible in Animal Crossing. Money Trees are trees that grow bells instead of fruit, and it’s a pretty neat way to get some extra moolah.

animal crossings new horizons money tree 1
Image credit: Nintendo/Polygon

Just follow these steps:

  1. Look out for the golden light beams that shine from the ground
  2. Dig up the space to attain bells
  3. “Plant” a bag of bells in the same spot by selecting a portion out of your inventory. Planting a bag of 10K bells will get you back 30K bells in return (if you do the math, that’s a 20K profit)

4. Unlock the museum by trading bugs and fish

animal crossings new horizons museum
Image credit: Game Breaking News

Trading bugs and fish with Tom Nook will prompt Blathers to drop by for a visit, which is your key to unlocking the museum on your island.

animal crossings new horizons tom nook
New players – this is your cue to start looking for critters!
Image credit: Nintendo

All you need to do:

  1. Trade 5 bugs and/or fish with Tom Nook
  2. Set up a construction space for the museum
  3. Donate 15 more items to Blathers. These can be anything from fish and bugs to fossils

animal crossings new horizons blathers
Image credit: Jake Green/USGamer

5. Make your own fish bait with clams

animal crossings new horizons manila clam
Image credit: Animal Crossing Wiki

Fishing is one thing you’ll be doing a lot of in Animal Crossing, so make sure you know how to craft your own Fish Bait. You’ll be able to unlock the recipe for this after digging up your first manila clam.

Manila clams can be found by looking out for black dots on the beach that shoot out jets of water. Shovel ‘em out and use them to craft Fish Bait at the DIY Workbench. If you want to sell them, they are worth 100 bells.

6. Swap fruits to avoid wasting Nook Miles

Different fruits in the game can be found on specific islands. Your island’s fruit trees can be shaken and sold for 100 bells, and “exotic” fruits that aren’t native to your land can be worth up to 500 bells. 

The tricky part is finding them – that means travelling around and using up lotsa Nook Miles in the process.

animal crossings new horizons fruit trees
Image credit: Nintendo

Instead of jet-setting around, share them with your friends instead. If you have buddies that play Animal Crossing, befriend each other within the game so that you can visit each other’s islands and check out what fruits the other might have.

Then, plant these fruits on your island and have them flourish in your own backyard.

7. Eat fruits for extra power-ups

Fruits aren’t just useful for getting extra bells – they provide some pretty cool power-ups too. 

animal crossings new horizons fruits
Look out for your fruit metre on the top left of your screen
Image adapted from: Nintendo/Polygon

Munching on a fruit will make a little counter appear on the top left of your screen – the higher the number, the more effective the power up. Perks include getting stronger and being able to destroy rocks and dig up whole trees with an axe and shovel respectively.

However, these “fruit buffs” aren’t always a good thing. For example, being too swole and breaking an entire rock means spawning “less useful” resources. 

One way to fix this is to dig up and replant a tree – keep repeating the process until your fruit metre goes back down to 0. It’s tedious, but it gets the work done.

8. Avoid breaking rocks for resources

animal crossings new horizons digging rocks
Image credit: Hold To Reset

On that note about being a lil too strong, avoid breaking rocks for resources. When hitting a rock, you can get one of 3 items: iron, clay, and stone. Rookie mistake is assuming breaking an entire rock will drop them all – well, that’s not the case.

Breaking rocks will still give you only 1 item, but with the additional task of having to wait for them to re-spawn. Only break them if you need to make way for a new construction, or have the intention of having them spawn closer to home.

animal crossings new horizons rocks
Image credit: Game8

Pro-tip: Rocks run on a timer, so make full use of this to get as many resources out of the rock during this time. 

To make sure you’re maximising your time, dig 2 holes behind your character to avoid “bouncing back” when you hit the rock. This will allow you to get all 8 items within the time limit.

9. Catch bugs easily by being slow and sneaky

animal crossings new horizons bugs
Image credit: Unpause Asia

One of the most frustrating things that can happen in this otherwise peaceful game is getting sooooo close to catching a bug, only for it to buzz away in the last second.

The trick is to keep low and go slow. Creep forward by pressing down the “A” button and slowly inching forward. Remember to pause in order not to scare the bugs off – then resume till you’re close enough for a catch.

This is especially useful when catching more dangerous creepy crawlies like scorpions and tarantulas, which will attack if provoked.

10. Always hold your net when shaking trees

animal crossings new horizons wasp sting
Image credit: Nintendo

So you’re minding your own business, shaking a tree to get some tasty fruit or gather sticks. 

And then the unthinkable happens – a friggin’ wasp nest falls to the ground.

Your instincts might be to RUN  – but that’s the last thing you want to do. That’s going to end up in a nasty sting. 

Avoid this by having your net ready every time you go to shake a tree, instead of fumbling around your inventory to retrieve it afterwards. This will act as your “battle weapon” for when the stingers appear.

animal crossings new horizons catching bugs
No stings!
Image credit: TheGamer

After a nest falls to the ground, simply stand still and press “A” in its direction to catch those sneaky bugs.

Do take note of how you’re positioned, as the net might end up hitting the tree instead of catching the wasps. One handy tip is to shake the tree from the front, as the nests fall out on the side of the tree. This will allow your character to automatically turn to face the nest and catch it in a jiffy.

But if you do end up getting stung, just head over to Timmy and Tommy Nook to get some medicine.

11. Keep track of turnip prices in the Stalk Market

animal crossings new horizons daisy mae
Image credit: Nintendo/Polygon

The stock market might be facing an economic crisis IRL, but New Horizons will let you get ‘em bells worry free with its very own Stalk Market.

This is done via buying and selling turnips with a wandering character called Daisy Mae, who shows up every Sunday morning. She’ll sell you turnips, but the prices change all the time. You can then sell your turnips at Nook’s Cranny to Timmy and Tommy.

animal crossings new horizons turnip stalk market
Image credit: Nintendo/Newsweek

The game is simple: make a profit by selling your turnips at a higher price than you paid for.

Now, there’s always a risk involved when it comes to investments, but the most important thing is never hoard your turnips. They will spoil and become worthless after a week – so selling them off at a small loss is better than losing it all.

Luckily for us, some players have done up a Stalk Market Tracker that lets you track and “predict” turnip prices for the week.

12. Travel to mystery islands and invite special characters

Animal Crossing’s latest series has tonnes of villagers you can meet. And we mean tonnes. However, you can only have 10 villagers on your island at a time, so it’s important to invite the ones you want.

Recruiting new villagers is pretty simple. All you need to do is buy a Nook Mile Ticket for 2,000 Nook Miles and travel to other islands. Once there, you can talk to villagers and invite them over.

animal crossings new horizons invite villagers
Image credit: Ordinary Reviews

Make sure to do this by the end of the day once your plot of land is ready, or else a random villager can move into the lot.

As the game progresses, it’s time to make some tough choices, like making a resident leave. 

This easiest way to get this done is to:

  1. Ignore them for a few days
  2. Look out for a cloud above their heads – this means that they’re thinking of leaving
  3. Ask them to leave (politely, of course!)

animal crossings new horizons villagers
Image credit: iMore

But don’t worry – with over 400 villagers in the game, there are lots of new animals to meet and befriend!

Upgrade your skills in Animal Crossing

With everyone being forced to stay home amid lockdowns and quarantines, Animal Crossing provides a wholesome new world to immerse ourselves in. 

So whether you’re a pro or just a newbie, we hope these tips will help you become the very best villager you can be!

And if you’re not able to get your hands on New Horizons just yet – don’t worry. There’s a mobile version of Animal Crossing that you can play for free too, called Pocket Camp. It’s available on both iOS and Android.

animal crossings pocket camp
Image credit: Nintendo

Stay safe and stay indoors, dear readers – unless you’re hopping around islands to get some fruit, of course. 😉

Other things to keep you entertained indoors:

Featured images adapted from: Nintendo/Polygon, GoNintendo, Game Breaking News, Hypebae

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