Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Game Poster Image
 Popular with kidsParents recommend
The island life is idyllic in this latest adventure sim.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 111 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Violence & Scariness
Language

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.

Consumerism

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.

What 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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDarkness1003 May 11, 2020

Awesome

This game is amazing I play it with my friends all the time
Adult Written byhallemayes May 7, 2021

acnh is my fav!

i got it just before i turned 17 (release day)
and honestly, i've gotten over 350 hours on and it brings me so much happiness. its chilled and relaxing, no... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old May 4, 2020

This Game is Really Good but not Fun in Multiplayer

This game is awesome but only the player who is the Island Representative which is the person who first opens get to really play it. What I mean by this is that... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKRLUKE March 20, 2020

Let your kid buy this game!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a simulation video game where you move to an island and form relationships, build a house, and partake in many fun activities t... Continue reading

What's it about?

Nook Inc. cordially invites you to leave the doldrums and tensions of your daily life behind to live the island life of ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS for Nintendo Switch. You'll enjoy a new, stress-free life on your personal getaway, building a new home away from home for yourself and creating a community filled with fun and friendship. You'll shape your island and your life on it however you see fit. You'll explore your surroundings and craft tools to discover the hidden treasures your island has to offer, and then channel your inner zoologist by catching and cataloging the island's various wildlife. You can also be an archeologist, digging up and piecing together fossils from the past, or maybe you want to unleash your creativity with new styles as a fashion designer or interior decorator. You can also take a tour on Dodo Airlines to visit other islands and discover new flora and fauna native to these new areas. Finally, you can invite your friends over to check out your little slice of paradise and share your community on a global scale.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about using games as escapism. How can games like the Animal Crossing series give a stress-free way to decompress and relax? Can games like this, with so many outdoor activities, encourage players to go outside and enjoy the fun the real world has to offer?

  • How can games influence how kids interact with others in the real world? Can games with positive themes of friendship and community carry those themes outside of the game and into real-world interactions?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love simulations

Themes & Topics

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