It’s been less than four weeks since Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out, and I’ve already played more than 135 hours of it. For years, I’d been saying that when this game came out, I wouldn’t want to do anything else – I wanted to stay on my sofa with the Switch, never leaving the house, ignoring everything else in my life.
And another finger on the monkey’s paw curled. Sorry folks, I guess this was my fault.
For those of you who’ve somehow avoided the Animal Crossing frenzy of the past month, it’s a series of games which comedian Ron Funches once described as “I am the human mayor of an animal town”. In New Horizons, you are the “island representative” rather than the mayor, but it’s pretty much the same. You settle on a deserted island with your talking animal buddies – mine is named Sugarloaf. Then it’s up to you to develop the island, plant flowers, decorate your house, go fishing, and so on. It all plays out in realtime and the island changes with the time of day and the seasons. The game is very, very chill, and I think everyone agrees the timing of its release really couldn’t be better.
New Horizons has some new features for the series which I was very excited about: you can place furniture outside, and you can terraform the island. (I have ascended from Mayor to God.) So much of my 135+ hour playtime has been spent decking my island out, and making it a nice place to putter around catching butterflies and doing the gardening.
I am pretty proud of how it is looking now, so I thought I’d do a tour and show off what I’ve been working on.
Let’s start with a map of Sugarloaf:
My name is Tea and I have green hair, which is great. On the map, my house is pink; all the other residents’ homes are orange. You can also see the locations of the airport, the town plaza and hall, the clothes shop, the general store (leaf icon), museum (owl icon) and campsite.
All visitors arrive from the airport, on the south coast of the island. When you step out of the airport, here’s what you’ll see:
If you turn right at Roald’s house (the navy blue one), you’ll reach my plaza and town hall.
I am very proud of my flag and its wobbly rainbow.
Roald and Hans live next to the plaza:
I’ve extended the plaza a bit to the south and made a sort of outdoor market (which I can also decorate for seasons and events – you’ve just missed the Easter balloons). I’d like this to be a café once I actually get some coffee items, but for now it’s still a nice place to chill:
If you turn left at Roald’s house instead and go away from the plaza, you’ll reach the entrance to the Sugarloaf Woods:
The southwest corner of the island also hosts my brand new hybrid flower garden. It’s probably not the most effective layout for breeding hybrids, but I really like the look of it. It also spawns a lot of peacock butterflies, which are 99% of my income:
But let’s turn north now and head into the woods. The trees are dense, but there are lanterns to light the path:
On the other side of the woods is a river, and then the island’s campsite:
Even though campers in this game never leave their tents, I’ve tried to make it a desirable area to visit. So there’s a little barbecue area around the corner:
And a nice place to relax by the lighthouse:
At the top of the cliffs behind the campsite is this bamboo shrine area:
The bamboo shrine pond leads into a waterfall, and the resulting river divides the camping area from the hot spring and outdoor spa:
Continuing east, we head uphill and enter the fruit orchard. There’s a nice outdoor seating spot as well so you can enjoy a cup of tea with your fresh fruit. Hans was running around looking for bugs and wanted to be in the photo too:
Cutting through the orchard takes you around the back of the museum:
The museum sits right at the top of the town. Both Alli and Bob were hanging out here today, enjoying the mountain breeze:
There are also some great views from up here. To the north-west, you can see the hot springs and the orchard:
And to the north-east, the lake and a glimpse of Sugarloaf Falls (we’ll visit that later!):
Exiting the museum area, we go down some brick stairs and re-enter the town. This street runs between the museum to the north, and the town hall and plaza to the south. Fauna, Audie and Bob live here:
Walking west along the cliffs above the plaza, we have a little outdoor restaurant area. (There’s pizza in that oven, but I forgot to open the doors.)
If we turn east instead, we reach the shop:
And the street ends at Alli’s house, across the bridge:
If we go south down those brick stairs, we’re back on the lowest level of the island, in the part of town east of the plaza. Here you can find the Able Sisters clothes shop, and Agnes and Drago’s houses.
There’s also the entrance to the boardwalk, with some vending machines and some binoculars for sea views:
The boardwalk runs along the beach all the way to the southeast tip of the island. I was inspired by Santa Cruz, where my grandmother lives – normally I’d be visiting this summer. That’s not looking very likely now, so I figured I’d try to recreate it here.
The boardwalk has a few more market stalls, selling souvenirs and snacks. That’s Cyrano’s house in the background, just downhill from Alli’s.
At the end of the boardwalk is a very small, rather underwhelming amusement park. We have a teacup ride, a slot machine, some bouncy horses and not much else. I’m trying my best.
There’s not much of interest on the beach, although I did bump into Fauna eating her sandwich:
The south-east tip of the island features the pier of sea bass disappointment:
If we cut back through the amusement park and go north, we reach Ike’s house, next to a little pond. That’s Drago fishing in his fancy coat. I gave him that coat and I am very happy with that decision.
Let’s follow the road back across the river to Cyrano’s house. If we turn north here, we leave town and head towards the lake.
The path leads to another picnic area (with board games!), a photobombing Saharah, and the fanciest bridge in town:
Why is the bridge so fancy?
Because it leads to my lovely lakeside house! This is what I’m greeted with every morning when I fire up the game and it makes me very happy. The inside of my house is still an awkward mess, but the outside is cute enough to show:
I’m working on a little walled garden as well, although I need to breed some more hybrid flowers before it’ll be complete:
On the other side of the lake (behind the shop), we have the mysterious Turtle Island. Some day I want this to be full of turtles, but they are hard to catch:
And right at the top of the lake is one of the finest views on the island: Sugarloaf Falls!
The northern fringes of the island are pretty undeveloped, and I’ll probably leave them that way – it’s nice to have a bit of wilderness.
Uphill from my house is this ruined temple thing, featuring a cat. This was loosely inspired by all my hours playing Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and killing bandits in similar ruined temples:
North of that, we have some wind turbines, because I may have completely reshaped this island and pillaged its resources to make dozens of log benches, but dammit I’m eco-friendly:
And that’s my island! I am really happy with how this has turned out so far, and while I’m definitely going to keep working on it, I feel pretty done with making major terraforming changes for now. Also I’ve finally put enough crap on the ground for Isabelle to give me that coveted 5-star rating.
I hope you enjoyed this tour. If you want to see even more screenshots, I post them on this Twitter account.
Let me know if you’d ever like to visit, or if you have any of that ironwood furniture. I need my dream kitchen.