It goes without saying that not being able to see friends and family for over two months has been mentally taxing. However, during a time that seems rather bleak, Nintendo has done us all a favor and released the perfect game to cozy up in quarantine with Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The game’s long-awaited release came back on March 20th, right as the coronavirus began to take everyone’s lives by the helm. Since then, the game has sold over 13.4 million copies and has taken the internet by storm, as the fifth game in the Animal Crossing franchise.
The premise of the game is simple, you are embarking on a deserted island getaway with the franchise’s notorious character, Tom Nook. Nook takes you to your island destination, which then becomes your new home, where you are tasked with making the island a bustling and lively place to be. The gameplay is pretty simplistic. Players can gather material to craft tools and furniture, travel to faraway islands, and, at a certain point, grants them the ability to terraform their islands.
At the start of the game, you are placed on to your deserted island in the company of two other villagers, randomly selected out of 460 possible villagers, along with Tom Nook, and his helpers. You are then prompted to give your island a name and collect its native fruit, which can vary from pears, peaches, cherries, apples, and oranges. The game then teaches how to catch bugs and fish, and then sends you on your merry way to develop your island and get other villagers to move in.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons gives the player free rein to decorate their island however they please, allowing them to choose the location of their villagers’ houses, and any other infrastructure in the game, causing very laid back and relaxing gameplay. Players have taken to Twitter to show off their island creations, some even including zen-spa areas, farmer’s markets, flower gardens, and luxurious plazas.
The small simplistic tasks in the game make for a great mood lifter in quarantine. By allowing the player to develop their island and complete tasks at their own pace, it gives them a small sense of accomplishment. This mechanic paired with each game character’s funny and friendly dialog, and the tranquil background music, generates a relaxing atmosphere for the player that allows them to simply get lost in the world that is their own island: the perfect escape from the hecticness of COVID-19.