In the midst of the biological chaos going on in the world, two games have come out at the same time that couldn’t be anymore polar opposite if you to shipped one off to Antarctica. The first is Doom Eternal which looks to continue the bloody carnage from the cliffhanger of the 2016 surprise hit. The other is the highly anticipated new entry in the Animal Crossing series on the Nintendo Switch. To any newcomers, Animal Crossing centers around living in a town of animals and making a life for yourself. There’s a shop-owner/landlord (the kind you want to befriend) who will give you all the time in the world to pay off your debts as long as you help him build his empire from the ground up. Said empire includes his own offspring managing his store, an owl who curates a museum, and an assistant who’s been referenced so much that she might as well be a new Smash Brothers character. There’s a village full of animals to befriend as you try to expand your cozy little home.
On paper this sounds like the most boring game in the world, but when coming back from the stresses of life, it’s as therapeutic as a back massage or sitting in a hot tub. The simple tasks of growing trees, fishing, catching bugs, and talking to your neighbors are so peaceful it could give meditation a run for its money. Especially in a time when normal is but a diminishing reality with each passing day. It’s also the most sociable entry in the series with online play in the form of an airline company run by dodos of all species. You can use their service to visit any random islands for additional resources or visit the islands of your friends. And the results are more than meme worthy in how much creativity is flexed on each town. The chat options with your chosen family are easy to pull off without using a headset. Sometimes you don’t always need big guns or a complicated story to draw a crowd in, you just need.
Unlike other high budget games, the graphics aim for a more bright and colorful approach. And it really sells the simplicity of the game itself. All the animals look like Beanie Babies come to life with varying personalities whenever going about your daily routine.
Now the only downside is that like past games in the series, this only offers one island per console. And that’s not a good thing for people who want to catch fish, find fossils, make their houses bigger. Having your own island puts you in charge of everything while sharing it takes away the value as one person becomes the leader without a democratic decision. Half the bells and whistles can be finished in just a week by one person, while the other is left to pick up the remaining scraps. This could easily be fixed with a patch so that there’s more gaming responsibility to go around. And I’m sure Nintendo can implement it without people abusing the system to cheat farm resources, and we can all be good neighbors with our own town goals.
That is unless you’re PETA wasting away your life complaining about the game not being vegan or accusing an owl for being the second coming of satan. “How dare he preserve species for the sake of survival” (sarcasm). “How dare he try to save an entire ecosystem when in reality the environment is collapsing under the government repealing environmental regulations. Screw real life and everything important about it, Animal Crossing is bringing the end of the world upon us. Look, if you want to fight for animal rights, fine, but do it as a god damn adult you embarrassing excuse of a movement. And animals rights includes defending animals that aren’t just herbivores, but also omnivores and carnivores: creatures that serve a purpose in balancing nature be it providing food or other materials for one another in the animal kingdom: Besides, how can it be animal cruelty if you’re technically living with animal neighbors? In other words…
Ranting aside, Animal Crossing: New Horizons couldn’t have come out at a more opportune time. So many people from extroverts and introverts can use this game as an escape from the outbreak going on or as a new social circle. The tasks are simple enough to get used to, the designs are very appealing with its simplistic approach, and best of the online play helps reconnect with those you haven’t seen since the beginning of quarantine. Should Nintendo decide to allow more than one island per console, this would accumulate a perfect score. But as of now, it’s become the best selling title in the series for a reason. There’s so much content in this game that I’m not able to describe it all without encouraging others to buy a copy if you have cabin fever and want to try out a new kind of socializing. Like the title itself, it’s a new spin that brings the franchise to new horizons.
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