Animal Crossing: New Horizons Will Let You Customize Your Island's Terrain

Finally, you can actually make pathways painlessly.

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During its Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct, Nintendo revealed new construction features to help you customize your island. As shown during the presentation, the Nook Phone--an in-game smartphone with a variety of helpful apps--includes an unlockable "Island Designer" app that allows you to mold your island to your liking.

The most drastic feature is the ability to change your island's terrain, a first for the series. In past Animal Crossing games, you'd have to reset the game if you didn't like your town's layout at the start. Like previous games, New Horizons (read our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review-in-progress) gives you a choice of four island layouts at the beginning--but even if you like your layout to begin with, you can now alter it over time and as your needs or aesthetics change.

This includes adding or deleting cliffs, adding or removing water features, and even adding slopes to aid in island navigation. You do all this in real-time via the Island Designer mode rather than scheduling construction somewhere and then waiting for it to finish, though it appears you can still pay to construct bridges like you could in New Leaf. You can also pay to build staircases around town, a brand-new feature that should also help you get up cliffs with ease.

Another major addition in this realm is veritable pathways. Making paths around your town was an arduous process in past Animal Crossing games, to say the least--you'd either have to run over the same patch of grass over and over or place path-pattern tiles one by one on the ground. Now, you can lay out paths of various types, from dirt to stone, via the Island Designer app via what looks like a much easier, smoother process.

Based on the Direct, it seems New Horizons is making town-building and customization breezier than ever--you can even control where villagers put their houses so they don't ruin your whole vibe.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches on March 20. Ahead of that, Nintendo is releasing a special Animal Crossing-themed Switch console on March 13 that includes a white dock with Tom Nook, Timmy, and Tommy on it as well as pastel blue and green Joy-Cons.

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