It’s safe to say that Animal Crossing: New Horizons has taken over our lives over the course of the last week.
How could it not? We’re all basically prisoners inside our own homes at this point; escaping to that beautiful virtual island is one of the few joys left in our insular little lives. But even that isn’t perfect. Oh no. Even in the idyll that is Animal Crossing are bugbears to ruin our otherwise-dreamlike island lives. And we just can’t let them go.
Join us as we lament the things that really grind our gears in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The way Timmy and Tommy stalk you around their shop, like you’re about to steal something
Kim: Unless you’ve built Nook’s Cranny shop, you won’t have experienced this. But let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than an overbearing shopkeeper. You know the type; always one step behind you, watching everything you’re doing, in case you sneak that Mars bar into your pocket when you think he’s not looking. That’s Timmy and Tommy. Their shop isn’t very big but you can bet your tiny villager ass that they’ll follow you around every inch of it, watching like a hawk. Calm down fellas, I’m not going to steal anything. And even if I did, it’s not like I can do a runner, is it? I’m stuck on here with you forever, so I better damn well pay my way.
Not being able to build more bridges after building that first one
Becca: It’s not that I’m not a fan of the vaulting stick, I think it’s a great addition to the game, letting players hop over rivers without having to wait to build bridges, but honestly, I’ve got enough tools I have to carry around clogging up my inventory. Now you’re giving me a stick AND ladders to traverse the area? Come on.
So once I realised that you could build bridges I was ecstatic. But then, a big screw-you-in-the-face, you can’t just build them willy-nilly. You can build one (1). And that’s it, until whenever Mr. Nook sir decides we need another one. Man, I want to build more bridges. I know you can build them later, but then it isn’t as simple as just a DIY recipe, you’ve got to PAY. And the cheapest bridge is 98,000 bells. You think money grows on trees Nook? NO! Well, it does sometimes but that is entirely beside the point.
Those f*cking tarantulas
Kim: You think you’re going to go for a peaceful nighttime stroll, soaking in the wonderful moonlight, gazing up at the stars glittering through the trees – and then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a movement across the other side of your screen. Was it one of your neighbours, also enjoying the fresh evening air? Was it Tom Nook, escaping the confines of the Resident Services building and snooping on you? No, even worse; it was a huge hairy f*cking tarantula. HELL NO. Unlike other bugs you come across in the game, these leggy bastards actually charge at you. Obviously they can’t damage you – lol this is Animal Crossing – but they can knock you over, presumably sending you into some dazed state. The next thing you know you’re waking up outside your own house with no idea of what’s just happened.
Rumour has it there’s even an island filled with tarantulas. F*ck that. F*ck that to the moon.
Breaking your tool in the middle of using it
Kim: We’ve all been there. Hard at work chopping into trees, collecting that precious wood that we need to craft our Antique Bespoke Wardrobe or whatever it’s called. And then, with just two pieces of wood to go, your axe breaks. Poof. Just… disappears into thin air. What the heck is that about? Like, do I not even have the chance to patch it up with a bit of duct tape? Or even use the broken pieces of it to craft a new one? Nope, it just vanishes from this land like it never existed. And I’m left stranded in the middle of a forest, with wood still to collect and no axe to finish the job with. Fan-bloody-tastic.
The fact that nobody else pitches in yet somehow still gets credit for your hard work
Becca: I was talking to one of my villagers the other day and she said, “Wow. Did you see the new Nook’s Cranny? It looks great. I donated some stuff to the cause. You helped build it too, right?”
Listen here, Tutti Fruitti or whatever the heck your weird ass name is, I slaved for two whole days getting all of the wood and all of the iron nuggets for that building. I basically built it from the ground up with my BARE HANDS. How dare you say that you contributed ANYTHING to the gem of our community. It was me. ALL ME. And no one will ever forget it.
Villagers only moving in one day at a time
Becca: Isabel is the glue that holds Animal Crossing together so I can’t wait for her to come to my island. I was incredibly impatient in finding out when she would arrive so I may have looked it up and found out that she shows up after three more villagers move in. I thought, “Perfect! I’ve already got three villagers coming.” But then they take forever and a goddamn day to actually show up.
Not only do those ungrateful pets take forever to arrive, but you’ve got to find plots for their homes and build their furniture for them? God, does anyone on this island get anything accomplished without you? The answer is no. So have fun waiting three full days for those villagers to grace you with their presence.
Constantly being in debt to that bastard Tom Nook
Kim: Yes, yes, paying off your debts is the whole point of the game, bla bla bla. But why? Why should it be? Why should I feel like some kind of dystopian slave, working all hours of the day and night just to line Tom Nook’s pockets? What’s he using that money for, that’s what I want to know. He’s hardly pumping it back into the economy, because *I* continue to be the only one to fund the improvements around here. Presumably he’s got some huge enterprise going on elsewhere that he’s operating remotely. I don’t know. I don’t trust that raccoon though.
Having to wait for stuff in real time
Kim: Being new to Animal Crossing, I did NOT expect that I’d have to wait around in real time for stuff to happen. It’s just rude. Tom Nook, I have a job and things to do in the real world. I can’t be expected to visit you and this island every single day. It’s unreasonable. If I want to build a house in-game, I should be able to do that in virtual time, not in real time. But, well, whatever. I guess I will visit every day. Because this is my life now, whether I like it or not.
Nothing to actually DO with your friends yet
Becca: If I remember correctly in Animal Crossing: New Leaf there was eventually a point in the game where you could travel to a deserted island somewhere and play fun mini-games with your friends. Like a bug-catching competition, fishing competitions; stuff like that. But, in Animal Crossing: New Horizons you’re already on the deserted island – so how does that work?
Hopefully since many of us are still in the early days on our islands, something will unlock in the future because as of right now, there’s just not much to do with your friends just yet when they come over to visit.
Having to spend 2,000 sodding Nook Miles to escape your own island
Kim: I get it; air travel isn’t cheap. And seemingly that’s the only way on or off our little islands of paradise. But unless you have real friends in the real world also playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, your only real way to get a break from your own chunk of land is to spend your hard-earned Nook Miles on a Nook Miles Ticket. It’s all a bit shady, really; 2,000 airmiles and we’ll stick you on a plane to a random island that probably doesn’t even really exist and you’ll never get to visit again. Calm down, J. J. Abrams.
If only there was a less expensive way to take a break from the island. Like, I don’t know, a boat or something. Ever think of that, Nooko? Let me craft my own boat, goddamnit.
Getting stung by wasps
Kim: As if tarantulas weren’t bad enough, your Animal Crossing island also plays host to more than its fair share of wasp nests. I’ve never seen a wasp nest in real life, but yet on my tiny island I’ve encountered about a dozen in the week that I’ve lived there. It doesn’t quite stack up if you ask me, but whatever, I’m stuck there now, so I have to put up with it. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been casually shaking a tree, as you do, to gather a bit of wood, and the next thing I know I’ve got a swarm of stripy buzzing twats around my face, trying to do one over on me. Unless you can run like Forest-freaking-Gump, those wasps are going to get you, and they’re going to sting you so hard your eye swells up and you can’t even see. I thought this was meant to be a FAMILY game?
None of the mystery islands have been very exciting
Becca: We’ve already complained about having to spend Nook Miles to go visit new islands. Sure, getting somewhere new to go is great, even if we do begrudge paying our hard-earned Miles. But they’re not even that good most of the time. The thing is, almost every island that I’ve gone to has had pears which is my native fruit. Pears? I don’t need PEARS.
Other than that, most of the islands are pretty standard and boring. It would be nice if the island was unique in some way and included rare bugs or fish or… just something. But it just feels like more of the same and sometimes it just doesn’t feel worth it to go traveling to them.
Kim: I’ve had an island filled with bamboo once. That was it. And once I had one that had apples, the holy grail of fruit-that-isn’t-native-to-my-island. But I’ve visited like 10 of the buggers now, and most are the same. AND on every single island I’ve been to , it’s raining. To hell with that.
Harvey’s creepy island
Kim: A few days into the game, a hippie hound called Harvey showed up on my island. He seemed a nice enough fellow; he invited me to check out his island. Cool, I thought; somewhere new to visit! Except… Harvey’s island is unsettling in some very dark ways.
As soon as I stepped off the seaplane, I couldn’t go anywhere. Hemmed in by a fence, Harvey was waiting for me, and all I could do was walk through his front door. “I’m a photographer and this is my studio,” he told me. It was eerily stark. Three different ‘studios’ awaited me through doors on each side of the waiting room. He told me I could dress up and pose for photos with friends. He made it sound fun. But… I just can’t shake the feeling that dog is up to some dark shit in that studio. If he’s not shooting porn or snuff movies in there, I’ll eat my hat.