New Horizons’ and How Do You Play It?

New Horizons’ and How Do You Play It?

“Mum, the villagers love my island name!” my cries of 5 years. “They voted for me!” I’m at elbow level in a diaper change and way too busy arguing with my 1-year-old’s restless limbs to realize that my son is using his 20-minute online learning break to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the seventh episode of the Animal Crossing series which debuted for Nintendo Switch March 20th. His father downloaded it under the pretext of “helping me to pass the quarantine of coronaviruses with a baby and a primary school student” (he really bought the game for himself) and now? Well, now my young son is obsessed.

New Horizons' and How Do You Play It?
New Horizons’ and How Do You Play It?

Like many parents, I didn’t know what Animal crossing was until we were asked to stay there, and then I found myself trying to work at home while taking care of and entertaining young children. But since then, I am grateful for the presence (very common) of what I consider to be the children’s version of Second Life, a game familiar to fans of Office.

Animal crossing offers smooth and endless gameplay.

The simulation-style game, developed and published by Nintendo, allows players to create their own versions of paradise on a desert island inhabited only by animals. Once their customizable character has named their island and established a small village inside, they are free to build elaborate houses, maintain gardens, fish, organize parties, and converse with their animal neighbors. always friendly. The graphics are soft and bright, and the concept of the game is simple – if you want to catch bugs, you catch bugs. If you want to dig to find buried treasures or interesting fossils, you start digging. It has no end.

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East Animal crossing just for kids?

People of all ages take advantage of the escape offered by this game. My 5-year-old, who does not fully understand the global health crisis we are facing, is happy to “talk” to a cute raccoon when he is not can’t talk to his kindergarten classmates. And my 36-year-old partner, who certainly understands the crisis we’re going through, is happy to cultivate a pixelated piece of land after a 10-hour shift in an Amazon warehouse.

The simplicity of the game itself, combined with the normality it offers via the simplest actions – such as collecting different species of fish or decorating a virtual living room – certainly contributed to the popularity of this episode – he broke sales records in the UK and was the best selling Nintendo Switch game in Japan.

So how do you actually play Animal crossing?

Up to four players can play Animal Crossing: New Horizons both via “Party Play”, where a character is the “leader” who chooses the activities for the group (a source of discord between my son and his father, these days), and up to eight players via the wireless game (you also need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription).

Players can also visit islands created by other players after they have built an airport (normally on day 3), and invite others to visit theirs as well, using a set of private codes defined for their specific island. Innovative players have used this feature to do things like plan in-game celebrations to replace birthday parties that have been canceled due to social distancing. The code helps protect young players from online predators – it is difficult for anyone who does not have someone’s private island code to interact with someone else through play.

Best Friends app

There are additional apps, like the Best Friends app and the Chat Log app, which allow players to chat online, and these apps allow players to accept invitations from strangers. For anyone who is concerned about online security, they can use the Nintendo Switch Parental Control App, which can help you monitor online gaming and determine which applications are activated.

As we continue to navigate the unknown during a particularly trying time – and, if we are lucky, try to balance work at home and parenthood during homeschooling – I am grateful to my son for having the chance to take a break from online teething and furious fists from his teething younger brother, to watch the sunset from the shores of a serene beach. Even if it’s virtual.

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