A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Game has some light educational elements on different topics -- e.g., the Critterpedia gives some information about various wildlife. Game's economic structure can help develop skills such as math and understanding of basic commerce.
Features positive themes of friendship, helping others, developing strong community. Players are encouraged to use their creativity and ingenuity to craft items, catalog wildlife, and design their custom experience, from layout of their island to decor of their home to individual fashion sense.
Positive Role Models
Most characters players meet are upbeat, friendly, have a positive attitude. Even notoriously money-hungry Tom Nook has mellowed out for this trip to the islands. Players also are encouraged to be a positive influence on the island, to build lasting friendships with characters.
Ease of Play
While Animal Crossing games have never been particularly difficult to play, New Horizons adds little tweaks and refinements to make it the easiest and most intuitive entry in the franchise to date.
Game in and of itself doesn't contain any sort of profanity or offensive language, but its online features could potentially open up players to inappropriate content (chat, images, etc.) from visiting players if it slips past Nintendo's filters.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The game continues building on the Animal Crossing franchise, which has already seen a number of games, collectibles, and more. New Horizons includes features that allow players to import content from Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designers, and compatible Nintendo amiibo figures and cards.
Parents Need to Know
Parent need to know that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a life simulation/role-playing game available on the Nintendo Switch. Players begin their journey by setting out for a deserted island, where they work to create a thriving community while also simply enjoying the day-to-day slice-of-life activities the island has to offer. The residents of the island tend to be helpful and friendly, encouraging players to have fun and offering sincere gratitude for the players' help. The game is easy to pick up and play, with no "winning" or "losing." Players instead simply live life on their island as they see fit. Players have the option to play by themselves, on the same system with up to four players, or by local multiplayer or over the internet with up to eight players. The game supports importing content from previous Animal Crossing games, New Leaf and Happy Home Designer; it also includes support for Nintendo's amiibo figures. While there's no profanity or offensive language in the game, its online features could potentially expose players to inappropriate content created by other players.
Is It Any Good?
It's been many years since Nintendo first invited gamers to pack their bags and make a new virtual home for themselves in the world of Animal Crossing. Now, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Nintendo has fine-tuned the franchise's formula to the point of near perfection, offering gamers an island vacation that's easy to pick up and almost impossible to put down. The game offers up all the core mechanics that have appealed to fans since taking out their first mortgage with Tom Nook. Once again, there's no winning or losing. Instead, the game is essentially a personal Zen garden, encouraging players to simply have fun and enjoy life on their island as they see fit. For some, that might mean raising a colorful garden; others might enjoy passing the time near the water with some fishing. There's no wrong way to play here, and that's the best part about it.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons brings with it a number of upgrades and additions that fans of the series should appreciate. Right off the bat, players have more customization options for their characters, including choosing their characters' skin tone. This might seem minor, but it adds a much more personal touch that can make the game more relatable to players. It also introduces a robust crafting system to the series. By visiting a bench, players can use materials collected from the island to build all kinds of items, from handy tools to festive decor. Being able to craft tools is a welcome change, as players no longer have to hope certain tools are in stock at the shop. Another interesting addition are Nook Miles, a new kind of currency that players earn alongside the usual Bells. Unlike Bells, which are earned by selling off items, players earn Nook Miles simply by playing the game. The Nook Phone app lists different challenges for players to accomplish; accomplishments earn Nook Miles that can be used to pay off home improvements or for other shop exclusives. By doing this, the game removes a lot of the "greed" element of previous games, rewarding players for things they'd likely be doing anyway.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.