13 Tips For Getting Started in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is taking the world by storm right now, but some people need a little extra help.

If you’ve never picked up an Animal Crossing game before Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you might be confused about how things work. It’s tough being the new kid, and  while the game does a pretty good job of walking you through most things, some things will no doubt remain a mystery.

Good thing we’re here to give you a helping hand, then. If you’re entirely new to Animal Crossing, don’t be ashamed to look and ask for help. It’s a surprisingly complex game that evolves over time, frequently introducing you to new things. But even right from the start, there are numerous things you’re expected to figure out for yourself.

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If you’re looking for some quick and essential tips to get you started, this list is exactly what you need.

Look out for the ‘money rock’ and glowing spot

When you first start out in Animal Crossing: New Horizons you’re going to be pretty broke. Not only that, but you’ll be indebted to Tom Nook for the foreseeable future, so you’re going to be focused on money – or bells – quite a lot. With that being said, there’s a few cheeky ways to get money in Animal Crossing: New Horizons that the game doesn’t tell you about.

The first is the ‘Money Rock’. Once a day, one of the rocks on your island will contain a bunch of bells. You’ll want to hit the rock in quick succession with your shovel in order to get the maximum amount of money from it – and make sure that the eight squares surrounding the rock are clear of weeds or other objects.

Once a day, you’ll also find a ‘glowing spot’ on the ground somewhere on your island. Dig at this spot, and you’ll find a bad of 1,000 bells. But don’t fill in the space straight away – you’ll notice the hole keeps glowing. Plant some money here and in a few days, you’ll find a money tree growing in that spot. Yes, a tree that gives you money. The amount of money you can get off the tree depends on how much you plant. Plant 1,000 bells, and your tree will grow three bags of 1,000 bells every few days. If you can afford to, plant more for greater rewards.

Store items in your house

While your pocket inventory is limited, you can store unlimited items in your storage box, which you can access from inside your house. It’s worth offloading crafting materials here – though you’ll need to make sure they’re in your inventory again before you go to craft. Keep your pockets as empty as possible at all times so you can pick up those treasures as you come across them.

Look out for flying presents

Every so often, you’ll see a present tied to a balloon floating on by. It’s not a coincidence – it’s for you! You’ll need a slingshot (which you can craft or buy from the store once Nook’s Cranny has been unlocked). Simply take aim in the general direction of the present and it’ll fall to the ground. What’s in it is a mystery – I’ve had everything from bells to iron to fancy pieces of furniture in them.

Watch out for wasps

The bane of everyone’s existence in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are those gosh darn wasps. They wait around for you to shake the trees and just when you think you’re safe there they are waiting to pounce on you. Here’s how to deal with those pesky pests.

If you’re just going around shaking trees, keep your bug net equipped. The second they fall from the tree swing your net towards the swarm and you’ll manage to catch one as well as avoiding getting stung. Wasps are also quite valuable – if you sell one, you’ll get 2,500 bells. If you don’t have a net handy, you can also try to run away and into a building to escape them. They’re fast though, so one foot wrong and you’ll get caught – and stung.


Talk to Your Villagers

Even if some of your villagers are annoying, you should still talk to them every day. On occasion, your villagers will give you presents for helping them out with something – or simply for just being their friend.

If you go inside villagers’ houses, sometimes they’ll be pattering away at their DIY bench and they’ll happily share with you the recipe that they’re working on. The more you talk to your villages, the closer the community gets and the more homey it will feel. Which is nice, but really the free stuff is better.

Visit Mystery Islands for New Fruits

Everyone starts off in Animal Crossing: New Horizons with a fruit that’s native to their island. Your native fruit will sell for a bit in the shop, but not a whole lot. What does sell for for bells, though, are other fruits that don’t initially grow on your island.

If you have friends also playing the game, it’s easier to visit new each other’s islands and collect a few pieces of their fruit (or they can gift them to you in the mail). You can also visit a mystery island by purchasing a Nook Miles Ticket with your Nook Miles. These are pretty random though, and most islands will still carry your native fruit. Grumble, grumble.

When you do get a new piece of fruit, don’t eat it or sell it! Plant it on your island: simply dig a hole, and toss your fruit into it. In a few days you’ll have your very own fruit tree growing that particular fruit. It’s a great way to make regular money. Even though that fruit now grows on your island permanently, it’ll still sell for more than your native fruit.

Keep checking your Nook Miles+ app

Click ZL to bring up your Nook Phone. In there is the Nook Miles app, where you can see all the accolades you’ve unlocked (and what’s left to go). Some of these are slow-burners, that you’ll work on while playing the game. But others are small tasks that update regularly – such as hitting rocks a number of times, planting a tree, or catching so many fish. Be sure to check what these are and redeem your rewards as you go. It’s a very easy way to build up Nook Miles quickly.


Collect and sell everything

Like I said, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is all about money. You’re having to pay off loans or pay money to help build up the island community, but either way you keep losing your money and Tom Nook’s pockets are getting bigger and bigger. My point is, if you see something you can grab with your grubby little fingers, do it.

I’m talking bugs, fish, shells, fruit, weeds, wood, clothes, furniture, flowers – if it’s not nailed down, it’s yours for the taking. And if it’s in your pocket, Timmy and Tommy will buy it. Don’t feel the need to horde items; unless it’s something you really want to keep, sell it. Once Timmy and Tommy have built Nook’s Cranny, their shop, you’ll also see there’s a ‘hot item’ every day; an item that’s worth double its usual value. It’s often something you can craft, so it’s worth taking advantage of that every day.

One word of advice though: don’t use the drop box in front of Nook’s Cranny on a regular basis; you don’t always get the best price for items. You also won’t get the double value for hot items, so it’s best to visit the boys in store before they close at 10pm.

Animal Crossing inventory

Be prepared before you go mystery island hopping

One of the biggest things you’ll find yourself doing when you start up Animal Crossing: New Horizons is taking flights to different mystery islands – but you’ll want to be prepared. First, you’ll want to clear your inventory. These island don’t have anyone living on them so you can wreak all the havoc you want. It’s not a real island, people. You don’t have to worry about the consequences of your actions. Dig up the land and deforest to your heart’s content.

Make sure the only thing in your inventory is a full set of tools. You can craft new tools on the island if you need to, or use Nook Miles to buy basic ones while you’re there. But don’t rely on that – it’s handy if a tool breaks while you’re there but that’s it. Make sure to scour the island carefully – hit any rocks with your shovel, dig up any fossils, collect any fruit, chop down trees and gather wood. Make the most of your time on the island and make sure you get absolutely everything you want (or can fit in your inventory), because you’re never going back there. Not to that specific island, anyway.


Talk to people you meet on mystery islands

When you start playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll have two other residents on your island. Well, apart from Tom Nook and Timmy and Tommy, of course. But that’s not it; more will come over time. The first will be characters you invite to come live with you. When you’re visiting islands using your Nook Miles Tickets, you’ll  occasionally bump into creatures. Chat with them a couple of times, and eventually you’ll be able to invite them to your island. It’ll take a few days, but they’ll move in. After you’ve built and furnished a house for them, of course.

Talk to Visitors

Once word gets out that your island is the hippity-hoppiest place to be, you’re going to be getting a whole lot more than just a couple of raccoons to talk to. So if you see a new face, be sure to stop and talk to them. You might buy a lovely new rug from Sahara the Camel, grab a handful of turnips from the turnip lady or help Gulliver the Gull fix his communicator to call his ship to some save him.

It’s also worth talking to people because some, like Harv, will unlock a new place for you to visit or activity for you to do once you’ve spoken with them. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to talk to strangers, but that’s why you always keep your axe in your back pocket, right?

Log on before 12pm on a Sunday

The afore-mentioned turnip lady only comes once a week, and it’s between 5am and 12pm on Sunday. I know; inconvenient for those of us who enjoy a lazy Sunday morning, eh? Every week, there’ll be a different price for turnips. Buy some, and you can sell them to Timmy and Tommy any other day of the week in the hopes of turning a profit. It’s a buy low, sell high scenario; you’re gambling a little, but it’s often worth it. If you have friends with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can buy and sell Turnips on their islands too, and they may well have better prices than you.

Have fun

This one is perhaps the most important thing to remember when playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Have fun! Take your time. It’s your island; do things your way. Don’t feel pressured to do X, Y or Z just because your peers are doing it. It’s not a race – take your time in doing what you want to do. If you don’t feel like upgrading your house or paying off your loan right away, that’s fine. If you want to upgrade everything as fast as you can, that’s fine too. Animal Crossing is meant to be a relaxing, fun experience – so enjoy it, savour it, and do everything your way.

Looking for more Animal Crossing: New Horizons tips and guides? Visit our full guides round-up here.