Animal Crossing: New Horizons successfully released worldwide on the Nintendo Switch. On this occasion, Tom Nook has designed a building strategy to populate a set of islands and transform them into a whole civilization. The road is longer than it seems, and Rome wasn't built in a day, but with effort and some skills, we'll get the virtual home we've always dreamed of.
Our adventure begins with a small axe to chop wood, a flimsy fishing rod and a net. At first, all we have is a tent in the middle of nowhere, but soon, by collecting materials, capturing animals and with the help of Tom's loans, we'll get the opportunity to live in a luxury house surrounded by shops and bridges and to enjoy the company our many neighbours. We'll even have access to a museum! You can design the island of your dreams, and now we'll tell you how to do it in a pleasing way with a series of essential tips.
As soon as you start, you have to make a tough decision: what should the shape of your island be? Where do you place the tent? Of course, you want to think about it carefully: your tent should be near the river, or maybe close to the sea, and the waterfall should be located in a beautiful place... take it easy. You can change the position of your house, the other tents, the rivers and the roads later on. Choose whatever you want, and if you are not happy with your choice or if there's something you don't like, you'll eventually have the chance to modify it. Just enjoy, you're on an island, after all!
Although you have total freedom on your island and can even visit other islands, there's a "story mode" or "campaign" in the game without which you won't be able to progress. Every day at 6am a "real day" begins, where new events will take place as long as you have completed all of your pending tasks. This is why it's important that, at first, you visit Tom and talk to him until you're clear on the next step you must take. For example, until you catch a certain number of insects and fish, Tom won't call Blathers - a key character - to come to the island; until you visit other islands and convince some animals to come to yours, Tom won't teach you how to build bridges, and so on. Bear in mind what the tanooki expects from you and focus on completing his tasks and you will progress.
Crafting in Animal Crossing is a vital part of the game, as we'll constantly create the tools, furniture and other objects without which we won't be able to make any progress on our island. There are some basic tools and some more advanced ones that will be very helpful. For example, we need a shovel to dig up fossils and to move trees, a vaulting pole to jump the river... It's important to collect the materials needed to craft these tools as soon as you can, and as you unlock them you can create them or buy them later in exchange for bells.
However, there is a little "trick" in order to get the tools sooner: travelling to another island paying 2,000 Nook Miles. When you get there, apart from discovering new flora and fauna, you can take the opportunity to speak to the pilot and buy some tools from him; this way, you can obtain them faster.
Of course, having our own tent on a desert island isn't free. Good old Tom warns us from the beginning that we have to pay him the loan he's given us for the tent, which is 49,800 bells; luckily, he gives us another option, which is to pay the debt with 5,000 Nook Miles. We highly recommend doing so, since it's very easy to collect them while you are completing the first tasks. Although Tom won't be pressing you, try and pay this loan as soon as possible, as the next day you'll be able to build a house that greatly improves the available space and offers a basement where you can store all sorts of objects. Naturally, the house loan can only be paid for with bells, and the price will eventually get higher...
Once you've paid to transform your tent into a small house, try and collect some more Nook Miles to purchase an inventory expansion. This increase is one of the most useful things you can get, since you'll have three rows of inventory space. This way, you'll be able to carry more materials and, thus, increase your sales. When you start to collect objects and to visit other islands, this extra space will be essential; otherwise, you'll constantly have to discard things from your inventory to keep the items you're most interested in. Although at first you might be more interested in buying some cool pieces of furniture and clothing, go for the expansion - you'll appreciate it in the long run.
Both farming materials and collecting critters are an essential part of the game. With the help of the net, we can catch all the bugs we find, and with the rod we'll get hold of both saltwater and freshwater fish. Catching bugs and fishes is very useful in the game; one of its benefits is that you can sell the critters in exchange for bells. However, part of the charm of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is to get all the existing critters, which you can compile in your Critterpedia. Our advice is that you catch as much bugs and fish as you can and deliver the new species to Tom, so that he can send them to Blathers. When the museologist owl arrives on the island, hand all the new species (fossils included) over to him; afterwards, he'll display them in the museum. The rest of the time, the usual thing to do is to catch species that you already have and sell them to generate more income; this way, you'll be able to pay for items and pay your loan. Good hunting!
As we said before, every day at 6am a new day begins. This implies that not only do we advance in the storyline, but that many elements of the island are reset, and new characters appear. In Animal Crossing it's important to play every day because many of the materials are replaced — as is the case with stones, fossils or hidden bells. So it's crucial that we explore every last corner because we'll find tools that we didn't have and receive unexpected visits such as those of Gulliver, the castaway. Make sure you find the Money Tree (there's one each day), since you'll obtain a lot of bells from it, as well as the stone that provides materials. There are many surprises waiting for you on the island - even ghosts - aside from characters that will give you really useful objects if you talk to them, so don't miss the opportunity to do so.
In Tom's store, you'll find the Automatic Bell Dispenser, a machine where you can buy everything. One of the options available is a Nook Miles Ticket, which costs 2,000 miles. What can you do with this ticket? Well, it's very simple: after buying one, you can head to the airport and take a trip to a totally random island. You really should take advantage of this mechanic, since it can be very rewarding. Our best advice when visiting other islands is to carry only a few tools in your inventory; thus, you can collect all kinds of bugs and fish, as well as special materials and wood from different trees.
For example, there is an island where bamboo grows; if you get there, you can find seeds from this tree and plant them in your island when you return. Did you know that bamboo roots are intertwined underground? Another island is full of tarantulas, but don't panic, as we'll receive 8,000 bells for each tarantula if we decide to sell them, so we can go back home rolling in money. If at any moment you don't know what to do, go and travel to all the islands you can to keep collecting materials and catch new critters; by doing this, not only will you bulk up the Critterpedia, but when you return to your island, you'll earn a lot of bells selling what you have acquired.
If you follow these basic tips, you'll a great time and soon you'll have a wonderful island. Share your ACNH tricks in the comments and, most importantly, enjoy your adventure. Good luck!