The world's burning, and it's not because hell is getting closer to Earth with Doom Eternal's impending release. But at least there's a sunny horizon beaming through all the pandemic panic: a new Animal Crossing game. On March 20, Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches on Nintendo Switch, giving us the first mainline Animal Crossing in seven years.
New Horizons further embellishes the traditional community simulator formula, introducing features ranging from terraforming to crafting. In our review, we write that crafting in particular "becomes a fun objective to work toward, effectively diversifying the usual chores of selling bugs and fish to pay your never-waning debts to that rascally raccoon. With real-world headlines more harrowing than ever, there's never been a better time to go on vacation within Animal Crossing: New Horizons."
Since everyone in the world is hunkering down and practicing social distancing (at least, the ones that can afford to) to stave off COVID-19, it's never been a better time to not just look forward to a new Animal Crossing, but actively prepare for it. Here's what you can do to get ready for your digital island getaway later this week:
Use This Fan-Made Tool To Plan Your Island
Many fans can't contain their excitement for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so one made a handy island-creation tool and called it Happy Island Designer. The tool lets you pave paths for rivers and ponds, as well as allowing you to plop down trees wherever. On the Animal Crossing subreddit, people have taken to sharing their island creations. One person even made everyone's favorite goose. While at the start of New Horizons, players will choose from random predetermined map layouts. Eventually, as we saw in the Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct, players will get a chance to shape the island itself, carving rivers' paths and making new cliffsides if they wish.
Peruse The World Wide Web For QR Code Designs to Summon Into Animal Crossing: New Horizons
While we haven't tested this functionality for ourselves yet, during the recent big Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct, Nintendo revealed that players will be able to scan in QR codes of their homemade designs from the New Leaf era.
That means all those designs we shared across the likes of Tumblr, Reddit, and Pinterest will live on in New Horizons. Functionality will be through the Nintendo Switch Online app, which also houses tabs for in-game perks for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2. Presumably, the NookLink subapp will launch on March 20, alongside the planned day one patch that will bring in online multiplayer.
Share Your Switch Friend Code Via This Animal Crossing-Inspired Passport Tool
One new addition to New Horizons is a cute "passport" for all the "Island Representatives." With it, you can choose a photo of your character, a special "title" (mine currently, for instance, is "Small Fry Influencer"—more unlock with each NookMiles task you complete), and a short slogan of sorts. The passport also displays your town's fruit (mine's cherries!), your island name, and your birthday and name.
It's a lot to take in, but a fan-made tool via the aptly named website Dodo Airlines has you covered. It lets you customize your own passport in advance to share via social media along with your Nintendo Switch friend code and even special stamps. The website also lets players customize their own boarding passes ahead of their trip to New Horizons, along with a "Getaway App" to "apply" for the island getaway and a greeting card. It's a robust website full of lovely tools to get you in the Animal Crossing spirit.
Jot Down a Jolly Tune For Your Town In Advance
Another Animal Crossing mainstay is back in New Horizons: originally composed town tunes! It's a great excuse to head back to the Animal Crossing Town Tunes subreddit (and elsewhere on the internet) for tutorials on how to compose specific themes.
For my town of Sunset in New Horizons, for instance, I called upon the internet to teach me how to compose the iconic jingle from Neon Genesis Evangelion, "A Cruel Angel's Thesis." It even caught my partner off guard when he was eavesdropping on me playing on my Switch—I broke his heart when I said that sorry, it wasn't a sly reference on Nintendo's part, it was some genius Redditor somewhere who taught me the way.
Stay Indoors and Stay Safe
Last but definitely not least: Please stay safe! Make food at home. Forego that Starbucks you've been craving. Learn how to mix a cocktail. Pick up a new hobby. Take up knitting or tie-dying. Binge a show. Build that Gundam you've had in your closet forever. Watch some movies. Watch reruns of Jeopardy, like me. Play a video game, like Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Or Doom Eternal. Or both. For the love of god, just do not go outside. As the cool kids say, don't be a spreader.