Sgathaich: Animal Crossing New Horizons

sgathaich bannerSo with this island on lockdown, I fled to another before it happened.

Animal crossing is… well very relaxing. It’s a series about you living a relaxing simple life in a world of animals. There isn’t some grand adventure it’s just you tending to flowers, going fishing, catching bugs and paying off loans from a raccoon.

In this game you are sent to a deserted island. There you start, you are given some basic tasks you can do, finding places for yourself and your 2 fellow islanders’ tents then doing things to pay off the initial cost of coming to the island. Then it’s a mix of a few big payments (which are done through a loan) a few tasks to get people set up on the island as you slowly turn it from a deserted island into your own island community.

Now that may sound simple, and it is. This is a very relaxing game. I could in theory just pop on for half an hour each day, chat with my islanders, collect some materials then turn off. Of course that rarely happens as there are many little optional tasks you can do.

One of the big ones is the museum. Early on (your first day in fact) Tom Nook (the raccoon who is basically the bank) can be given fish and bugs you can find on the island, give him 5 and his friend Blathers will arrive the next day. Give Blathers 15 new ones and the construction of the museum will begin. This is one of the main collecting parts of the game as you can donate bugs, fish and fossils to it in order to increase its size. The inside is very relaxing for me especially the fish tanks. Seeing the large fish just swim around while listening to calming ambient music, well, it’s helping me through some hard times. Though you can only get 4 fossils each day and they can be repeats but friends can send you some.

It’s not just a museum to expand though. As your island community grows and you get more money you can increase the shops or get new ones if you complete certain criteria. These range from having to collect materials to build their store to having bought enough from traveling sales people to encourage them to move in.

And these are just the store owners; other people will visit your island and want to move in. This means talking to them when visiting uncharted islands (another task you can do, and one that’s handy for getting materials). Then after upgrading your tent to a full home you can build more homes for these new people, this will then have you choose where to build them but also have to craft a set list of furniture for both the outside and inside the new home.

I find the game very relaxing, often I would pop on for something but then while exploring my island or doing a task I gave myself I would find something else to do. While trying to fish for fish that only appear at night for example I would encounter a ghost that if I find all his soul parts he would give me an expensive housing item. Maybe I would find a floating present and inside is a DIY recipe and I liked it so much I spend the next hour hunting down the materials to craft it.

You can also visit friends’ islands though the internet could use a bit of a touch up. It felt unnecessary to have a little animation for every single person visiting and leaving your island (something that resulted in some people streaming the game losing their minds) or when a connection issue happens when friends visiting causing you to lose that rare fish you just caught. But that’s counter balanced by moments like when it was raining so I invited all my friends over to fish up sharks.

Amusingly this game came out at the same time as Doom Eternal which has resulted in a lot of fan art of Isabelle from animal crossing and the Doom Slayer being good friends, I recommend looking them up. Neither is insulting the other. They accept they are two very different games and it’s lovely at these times to see the internet bring two very different groups together.

Animal Crossing New Horizons is just the game I needed right now, it’s simple and relaxing but not frustrating, there are challenges there but they are done at a relaxed pace. So sit down, make friends and grow your museums.

Rating: spear spearspearspear

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