Animal Crossing: New Horizons gets a wealth of new content in 2.0 update
I originally wrote this article for Gamenana.com — an online used games marketplace — in November 2021. I was hired to promote their business on their blog, and was independently responsible for choosing and researching the topics for each article. Since Gamenana’s website is currently unavailable due to technical issues, I’m republishing it here for use as a sample in my portfolio.
After a timely release in March 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ cutesy aesthetic and relaxed atmosphere have been giving Nintendo Switch owners across the world some much-needed escapism throughout the pandemic. There’s been plenty to keep players entertained, with a whole island to decorate, thousands of items to collect, and online social features that allow you to visit your friends ingame. Now, Nintendo have released even more content for the game in its free update to version 2.0.
The update introduces many features and characters that players of previous games in the series may remember. Kapp’n — the turtle sailor who first appeared back in the very first Animal Crossing game — has made a return, this time to ferry players to far-off islands where they can find exotic flowers and trees that may not grow natively on their own island. Islands found via Kapp’n may be in a different season or time zone to the player’s own, meaning they can find items that would usually be inaccessible without waiting for real-life clocks and calendars to change.
If you speak to Blathers before embarking on your first journey with Kapp’n, you may run into another familiar face on the island he takes you to. Brewster the pigeon bartender is looking to open up a new café, and if you talk to him he’ll set up shop in your island’s museum. There, players can sip a coffee, meet with residents — either at random, or by using Amiibo figures and cards to invite villagers of their choice — and kick back with any friends they’ve invited to their island. Some villagers may even bring visitors of their own!
The update to 2.0 also introduces a number of features that have never been seen before in an Animal Crossing game. One such feature is the introduction of cooking; players can now use Nook Miles to buy a collection of recipes that can be used to make food at a Stonework Kitchen (which can itself be crafted at a Workbench). Some ingredients — such as fruit and fish — will be familiar, but the update also adds crops that players will need to grow and harvest before they can use them in cooking. Players can then display the food in their house or on their island like they can with furniture, have their character show it off with a pose, or eat it to gain boosted shovelling powers for digging up rocks and trees.
Players who work long days or like to get up early will welcome the introduction of ordinances: island-wide rules that players can activate to ensure businesses and villagers stay open and awake later in the day or earlier in the morning, depending on the player’s preference. A separate ordinance makes villagers spend more time doing upkeep like removing weeds and watering flowers, freeing up more time for players to do other things. The need to fit New Horizons around a real-life daily schedule and keep up with chores jarred with the game’s otherwise relaxing gameplay in the previous version, so these changes are a welcome improvement. There’s even an ordinance to increase the prices for buying and selling on the island, for players who’ve racked up big bucks in the past year and want their Bells to feel like they’re still worth something. You can activate these ordinances for the price of 20,000 bells each, by talking to Isabelle at the Town Hall.
For players who love shopping, Harv — who runs the photo studio — is accepting donations to expand his island, and as players contribute their Bells new vendors will move in. Some — such as Sahara the carpet merchant — will be familiar to New Horizons players, as they can already appear as occasional visitors (although this update enables them to create a fixed stall at Harv’s island, making it more convenient for the player to find them). Others — like Cyrus and Tortimer — are new to New Horizons, but some gamers may recognise them from previous Animal Crossing games. Nintendo’s Direct video on the update suggests there will be a wide variety of vendors with all manner of services to offer.
Nintendo have clearly been thinking about the need to get people exercising, because players can now engage in a group stretching minigame by interacting with the tape deck outside the Town Hall. This minigame asks players to join the villagers onscreen as they stand up straight and stretch, using the Joycons’ motion controls to control their avatar as they stretch in real life. It’s a cute and engaging way to give yourself a break, which will hopefully encourage players to remember to look after themselves during long play sessions. There is also an option for players to use ordinary button controls to play the minigame, for those who can’t exercise safely but would still like to watch the group stretching scene.
Other new features include gyroids, larger storage expansions, new fences, villager visits, an updated camera app, and a whole host of new items, quality of life updates and customisation options. You can see a full rundown of the update in the Nintendo Direct video here.
With so much new content, there’s never been a better time to get into New Horizons. But it can be expensive to buy new, at a price of £49.99 in the Nintendo online store. If you want to use the online features to visit your friends and write them letters, you’ll also have to pay for an online subscription on top of that. If you’d like to play New Horizons for the first time but aren’t so keen on the expense, buying a preowned copy could make it much more affordable; why not head over to our Marketplace and find someone to trade with?
However you choose to play, have fun decorating your island and exploring all the new features in this update!