Even if you are not into video games, you may have heard something about Animal Crossing New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch. It released on March 20 – just as Illinois (and many other places) were ordered to shelter in place.  

Conceptualized and developed before the pandemic, New Horizons is the newest in a series of relaxing life-simulation games. You play as a human character on an island inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. The game synchs to your system’s internal clock and reflects real-time, so the seasons and time of day in the game match real life. There’s no real goal in Animal Crossing – you pass the time as you please, catching bugs and fish, crafting furniture and other items, decorating your island and home, socializing with your villagers, and more.  

The game has exploded in popularity and many people have discovered the joys of the series for the first time. Here’s what some of the staff at O’Fallon Public Library have to say about the game: 

No social distancing required! My dad, my mom, me, and my cousin watching for shooting stars. 

As a longtime fan of the Animal Crossing series (since the GameCube!), I have been looking forward to this game for years. Little could anyone have predicted the state of the world when this game finally hit the shelves – but the timing was almost too perfect. New Horizons promises to be an escape to your own island paradise. It’s quirky and cute and not particularly demanding or difficult. The game has been a blast! My mom is absolutely hooked and plays it more than I do, and I was beyond shocked when my dad bought a Nintendo Switch just to play it! I was supposed to visit my cousin in Michigan this summer to see her high school graduation – that didn’t happen. But I still get to “hang out” with her in the game. It’s really amazing. — Shawnna 

Loading up the game for the first time I was so nostalgic! My first Animal Crossing game was Wild World, and I played that game for hours upon hours so I was incredibly excited for New Horizons. It definitely didn’t disappoint. There are so many new things they added to the game, and while a couple haven’t been my favorite (like the Egg Day events, SO MANY EGGS), most of the new features make the game stand out so much. I love the new museum, the new stores, all the visiting characters who have fun challenges, and the ability to move things around and shape my island however I want. The game is always peaceful, excluding the rare, panicked sprinting away from wasps or scorpions. I can just turn it on and go fishing, catch butterflies, plant flowers, craft, or visit other islands without worrying about typical video game things like enemies or health. Just about everything about the game is adorable! If anyone was wondering if they should get this game, I’d definitely encourage them to at least try it. —Annie 

Animal Crossing New Horizons was a game I’ve been excited for over two years. When the release date was pushed back last year I was super bummed. That was a blessing in disguise, because it helped me get through this pandemic! I’ve been a fan of the animal crossing series since it’s original release in America on the GameCube. So to say I was pumped for a release on a main console was an understatement. I really think this game is fun for everyone. With as much customization that was added to New Horizons, you can really make your island into anything your heart desires! There are also many different collectibles in the games, like various species of bugs and fish, which you can only catch on certain times of the season, and fossils that appear every day. Whether you’re spending long hours customizing your island, or just checking in on your fruit trees and watering your flowers, there’s something to do each day in the game. I think this really adds to the game’s charm. Speaking of charm, this game reeks of it. Your island is populated with cute animals, which are your islands “villagers.” Everyone gets unique villagers on their islands, and you can even recruit the ones you’d like to come live on your island. The best part of playing New Horizons over quarantine was being able to hang out with my friends, but on our islands! You can invite people to your island as well as visit people on theirs, which helps motivate you to keep your island looking nice. New Horizons is a game I’ll probably play for quite some time, and I’m very grateful for its release.  — Katie 

Request your copy or try out one of the older games in the series! 

Stay tuned for a tour of Kasey’s island… 

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