Animal Crossing New Horizons: Tips To Know Before You Start

While you may be chomping at the bit to get through as much of Animal Crossing: New Horizons as quickly as possible, it pays to not jump straight in. There are a few considerations and concepts you have to get your head round first if you are going to get the most out of the game. In other words, rush straight in, and you run the risk of making a very bad start to the game. Here are some ideas to help prevent that.

Make sure you get the design right

We all know tents are cool, and one of the best parts of any Animal Crossing game is getting that first tent. However, perhaps more than in any other Animal Crossing game, good tent position is absolutely crucial in New Horizons.

Your tent will grow into being your house and garden, so getting it positioned just right makes perfect sense. It is a big building, and later in the game you will be asked to locate other buildings and facilities near to it. So make sure, when placing that first tent, you don't place it in front of your own home. You are going to need a lot of room around it, and you don't want your tent to obscure more aesthetically pleasing constructions. Remember that you are going to place a number of constructions around it, and plan carefully.

Pay your debt

You have to pay off the loan to Tom Nook as soon as you start to play the game. This debt covers the moving costs you incurred when arriving in the world of New Horizons. It’s not a lot of payment to be honest (5000 Nook Miles), and we recommend that you pay it off immediately.

Why? Well, once you pay it off, you will be allowed to take out a new loan, which allows you to get the house up and running. Also, you will be able to unlock the Nook Miles scheme, which brings plenty of rewards that just keep on coming. So pay your debt before you do anything in the game and you will be starting from the best position. 

Yes, it’s a life lesson.

The quest for nuggets

After just a little while on New Horizons you will realise that crafting revolves around just a few items. And iron nuggets are indispensable.

Pretty soon, you will be hitting rocks with stone tools, desperately trying to free the one or two iron nuggets you can find. However, you can take yourself to other places that have more plentiful resources for the nuggets.

If you are able to, save up the Nook MIles you have so you can buy Nook Mile tickets. These will allow you to visit other, more remote places that will have more iron nuggets for you to mine.

The axe issue

The game has created something a little tricky in the way of crafting wood. You start off with the flimsy axe, which Animal Crossing veterans will recognise as ‘the shaker’ tool. This kind of tool allows you to make trees shake enough to release some wood for your crafting needs. It’s fairly basic stuff and it means you can get crafting pretty quickly.

Eventually though, you’ll have the opportunity to acquire a little beast called ‘axe’. This will immediately allow you to chop down trees all around you. That’s right, it’s overpowered, and if you’re not careful, it could make your surroundings treeless very quickly. It’s not a crafting tool for trees basically, and for the crafting stuff you do, just avoid using ‘axe’.

The museum issue

Many new players become frustrated when they realise it’s not that easy to get the museum up and running. It’s a lovely part of the game, so it's understandable the players want to as soon as possible.

It is not that straightforward. Blathers (the character who runs the museum) will only come when Tom Nook summons him. Nook gives you a net and a fishing rod and utters the immortal words, ‘I would love to see anything you catch. I’m quite curious about the local fauna’.

This is not throwaway dialogue. If you do indeed take a bug or fish you catch back to Tom Nook you'll notice that there is a new prompt that says ‘I found a creature’. Catch five of these and show Nook, and Blathers will call Nook.

After that, Blathers will show up in his museum tent. Then, it is just a matter of donating and waiting for the museum to officially open up.

Balloons and bottles

These two items are absolute essentials for anyone who wants to get a great start in the game. They don’t appear often, but when they do, you should make it a priority to grab them.

You will hear a ‘whoosh’ sound when a balloon is near. Use a slingshot to bring it down from the sky and you will find recipes inside it.

Bottles are only available a couple of times a day and they wash up on the shore. It is worth grabbing them because again they contain items that will help your development in the game. If you already have the recipe inside the bottle, you can always sell it on.


Like most games of this type, you need inventory space. Nook Miles are the way to make this happen. As soon as you can,use the Nook Stop terminal to redeem Miles for something called 'Pocket Organisation Guide’. This will allow you to boost your inventory size. It’s a huge help. There are later boosts for inventory but this one should keep you going for a while.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has already entranced millions of gamers around the world. Use the tips above to give yourself a head start. The good thing about the game is that it is generally non-competitive, but these tips will allow you to get a lot more out of the game, and quicker.

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