Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been out for a few days, but not everyone fully understands this incredibly wholesome little town-building game. It isn’t a simulator, it isn’t about city management — it’s hard to even pin down what genre these games are in. They’re just Animal Crossing, and they’re absolutely adorable.
If you’re new to this whole Animal Crossing thing, here’s 20 super simple things you need to know about the game. This isn’t a game that demands your time — it gently requests your participation instead. You’ll have to wait for things to happen, and some days don’t ask you to do anything. It’s a weird game, and one that requires just a little explanation for outsiders.
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#1: Your island is randomly generated at the start of your adventure. You can delete your file and get new starter fruit and a different island layout, but you can change your island later! Give yourself some time.
#2: Every island starts with a Natural Fruit. These are the fruit that naturally grow on your island. You can collect fruit and sell it — but fruit from other islands sells for more bells! When you visit other islands, collect their fruit and plant it on your island.
#3: Interact with trees to shake fruit free — you can interact with every tree endlessly to collect up to five branches. Trees will drop fruit (if fully grown), branches, bell bags, bugs, or wasp hives.
#4: Build everything you can at the DIY Workbench. This is totally new to the series — you can now craft, which means you need to plant way more trees! Plant trees by planting fruit, wait 3 days, and chop down those trees. You’ll need lots of wood in the future!
#5: Use the DIY Bench to create a Fishing Pole and Net. Catching Fish and Bugs around your island seems pointless — but you can turn those animals in to Tim Nook to complete Nook Milestones.
#6: Check your Nook Milestones by talking to Tom Nook! This is a new alternate way to repay your debt. By turning in bugs, building stuff, or just making friends with the other villagers, you can earn rewards and pay off your debt faster.
#7: Don’t know what to do? Sometimes, you just need to wait! Animal Crossing is played in real time. Sometimes you can’t progress or unlock new features until you wait another day. If it seems like nothing is going on and you don’t have any quests to complete, just wait and something might happen.
#8: When planting trees, give each tree a 3×3 grid. They won’t grow if you place the seedlings too close together!
#9: Make some easy Nook Miles and cash early in the game by collecting every weed or branch on the entire island. You’ll always need bells (cash) so sell as much as you can, or use DIY to craft basic items you can sell for even more.
#10: Every day, new stuff will appear on your island. Every day, you can collect 2 Fossils (cracked ground), 1 random piece of furniture (shake a random tree), and all rocks on the island can drop up to 8 pieces of ore.