Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The summer update

On July 28th a trailer for a new summer update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) was shared on the official Nintendo YouTube channel. To say the trailer was eagerly awaited is a bit of an understatement. The game has been huge, with players in their millions around the world finding it an exciting and relaxing diversion. That diversion has even been in the news, with experts suggesting that the game has helped some people manage their time in lockdown during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The update arrived, and while it made many players happy, some were not so happy. The reason for slight disappointment felt among some players is all down to the fact that some of the new features in the game were seen as being overdue. At the same time,we’re talking about  a game here that has managed to please pretty much every player who has been in contact with it. We thought we would take a look at the update, see what it brought to the table, and make our own judgement on it’s value.

The Big One

Luna is a character that has returned in the update, and early thoughts are that it is an exciting and welcome addition to the game. Luna simply allows players to visit other player's houses without being online. It does this through the medium of dream sequences. While this may seem a  little hokey and weird, it isn’t in the world of ACNH. It’s just how the game world works. It has made plenty of players happy, and has solved a problem that you will recognise immediately if you play the game and suddenly lose the ability to enjoy online play.

Luna is actually an old character. A tapir, the character first showed up back in New Leaf. And with New Leaf very much being a much-loved part of the Animal Crossing universe, Luna could return and do nothing and still spark plenty of nostalgia.

The fireworks

Everyone likes fireworks, right? The summer update has brought players a firework show every Sunday during the month of August. However, while this may sound like a wonderfully exciting idea, it is nothing new in the world of ACNH. And while it may still seem like a wonderful idea to those who are not cynical, having a fireworks show as part of an update is one of those features that diehard fans of the series think is a bit of a letdown. The diehard fans will still enjoy the fireworks, simply because Animal Crossing games create great firework effects, but the general feeling is that they have been done before, so don’t really get the right to be called an ‘update’.

Our view? This is one of the biggest selling game series of all time, and it can do fireworks if it wants to. Sure, they have been done before. But they’re being done again because they work. And there are surely bigger things to be concerned about than some pretty firework effects.

Oh, and still with the fireworks, players can even create their own custom firework displays to be launched in the game. That kind of thing is pretty special to us.

While every single aspect of the fireworks thing (including custom fireworks) has been in other Animal Crossing titles, they're still great fun.

So why the beef?

The problems for veteran players come about because they have seen a lot of this before. And that’s where the key issue lies. It’s clear that ACNH has brought in a huge amount of new players, which means that some of the older ideas that gained popularity had to be brought in for newer players. It’s not that exciting for hardcore players, but it’s incredibly good fun for the players who are joining the Animal Crossing universe for the first time.

For example, with Luna, the tapir was introduced in New Leaf as a character that would allow players to visit the homes of other players. The main change in ACNH is that Luna allows you to do the same thing, but through the action of simply falling asleep in your bed. The dream state travel thing is still there, it’s just accessed in a different way. 

Fireworks have been in the game since the start, and even the regular firework night in August has been done before. But for newer games, it is fun and exciting. 

Not a huge update then, but a fun one.And it’s pretty safe to say that the fun is there for newer players, who will be experiencing all of this for the first time. And we don't think that there's anything wrong with that.

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