“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” game review

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"Animal Crossing" game graphic

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” was released for the Nintendo Switch in March of 2020. This marks the fifth game in the series of “Animal Crossing” games that started in 2001. The game has received high praise from critics, boasting a score of 91 on Metacritic.com.
The release of “New Horizons” could not have come at a better time as so many are looking for a way to de-stress while stuck inside for the foreseeable future. Whether you are a longtime fan of the series or a newcomer to the world of “Animal Crossing” ( as I was), the game has tons of features that make whiling away the hours a little easier.
The premise of the game is that you are a pioneer on a new island village, and you are there to help develop it. The main progression of the game comes from upgrading and customizing your home as well as the island.
In order to upgrade your home you have to take out a loan each time. You pay back these loans by selling things that you collect on the island like fish, bugs and fruit. The idea of doing chores to pay back loans may sound a little more like the drudgery of real life than a relaxing escape, but there is so much more to the game than the normal path of progression.
The beauty of “Animal Crossing” is that you don’t have to progress. You can take things at your own pace and play how you want to play. You can grow flowers and trees, collect unique fish, bugs and fossils, interact with other villagers or just customize the island with furniture and decorations that you craft. The atmosphere provided by the beautiful visuals and fantastically cozy soundtrack only adds to the chill experience.
There is also an online feature, which means you are able to visit your friends’ islands or have them visit yours to show off the new birdhouse you just built or an apple orchard you planted.
At its core, “Animal Crossing” is more like a relaxing marathon than an energized sprint, which makes it perfect for unwinding during these stressful times. If you own a Switch and haven’t picked this game up yet, I can’t recommend it enough.