Animal Crossing: New Horizons Review Roundup--Here Are The Scores

Animal Crossing's Switch outing has earned rave reviews.

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Animal Crossing is well-known for its leisurely pace of play, and that attitude also applies to its release schedule. Barring a few spin-offs of varying quality, New Horizons--which is set to release this Friday, March 20--is the first core entry in the series since 2012's New Leaf. This Nintendo Switch title takes the series in a fresh direction, placing the player in charge of a deserted island, and introducing Minecraft-like crafting systems to the game.

Reviews for the bubbly sim game are in, and they're overwhelmingly positive, including our 8/10 review-in-progress. "There's only so much you can do every day in Animal Crossing," our critic Kallie Plagge wrote. "Part of the fun of its real-time clock is going to bed wondering what you might wake up to in the morning--how your town might change, who might move in, what special visitor might be there tomorrow. So far, I've played Animal Crossing: New Horizons for 80 hours over 17 days, and that anticipation hasn't yet gone away. While I've spent a lot of time developing my island so far, I still feel as if there's plenty left for me to do and see--there's a lot in New Horizons to occupy your time with."

We've rounded up some more reviews below, with most of them striking a fairly similar tone. In general, critics are impressed by the integration of the new survival-inspired mechanics within the existing framework of the series. On the other hand, some express concerns about the game's pace and overall longevity. For more reviews, check out our sister site Metacritic to see what even more writers had to say.

  • Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: March 20
  • Price: $60 / £50 / $80 AUD

GameSpot - 8/10 (review-in-progress)

"New Horizons certainly has a slower pace than other Animal Crossing games, partially because you have to work to get things up and running on the island at the start. And while I'm impatient to discover what upgrades might be coming my way (and I need to mess around with Island Designer more), I still feel as though I've done a lot on my island. I've crafted tons of furniture, upgraded my house seven times, picked thousands of weeds, and done far too many drastic outfit changes. I'm as excited to see what random events await me each morning as I am to decorate my island and make it my own, and that's sure to keep me coming back for the foreseeable future." - Kallie Plagge [Full Review]

Gamesradar+ - 4.5/5

"But, those gripes do little to detract from the joy I've had spending every day with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The sudden squeals of delight that have emerged from my body over the past month have genuinely scared my partner and my cat, and there's no denying that every day is a treat with this game. With new faces to meet, old friends to reunite with, fresh features, regular visitors, quirky characters, and no doubt a plethora of incoming events, there's plenty to keep you coming back, day after day, to New Horizons. And that's without even being able to take advantage of the game's increased multiplayer features too." - Sam Loveridge [Full Review]

USG - 4.5/5

"As I've been in this new horizon, I've been thinking about what it was that made you move away, Anchovy. Was it the aimlessness of life? Did I not give you enough gifts? Should I have pulled more weeds? Did life just get boring with me? I want you to be my neighbor again. A plot of land is always open for you here on Sunset, and in just a few months (or even a year's) time, I'm confident the island will be even better. We have more to do now, more to work toward. We can buy and make cool things! We can shake more trees and run away from bees! (Please save me from Curly and Renee!)" - Caty McCarthy [Full Review]

Ars Technica - "Approved"

"People will talk about this game as an ideal escape during uncertain current events, but I'd like to emphasize how much I enjoyed AC:NH even when I had other viable social and outdoor entertainment options. Animal Crossing games have always delivered a compelling version of self-quarantine, and this one overflows with quantity, without sacrificing quality, to do so at a scale series fans have never seen. Consider this a very high recommendation for anyone who thinks shooting the breeze with neon-colored, gym-loving ponies and hot-pink, coffee-chugging kangaroos is a great idea for a video game." - Sam Machkovech [Full Review]

Eurogamer - "Essential"

"And it's how, even some 90 hours in, Animal Crossing: New Horizons maintains its ability to surprise. It's how each day presents a new mystery to unravel, or a new visitor to hang out with - though often it's satisfying enough just to check in to see how your flowers are doing. I just went for another morning stroll, and spotted Billy the trouble-making goat running arms out through a copse of trees, a look of glee fixed on his face. I can't bring myself to make him leave; indeed, I think I properly like him now, for all his faults." - Martin Robinson [Full Review]

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