Animal Crossing: New Horizons is slowly but surely heading into the second year of its life cycle. As it is with most games, a playerbase can only do the same routine tasks and play around with the same mechanics for so long before experiencing burnout (or in New Horizons’ case, island fever).
New Horizons has been good at giving a steady flow of seasonal events for players to stave off content drought but after a year, islanders have experienced pretty much all seasonal activities the game currently has on offer. That is why the 2.0 update for New Horizons is probably the best thing that could happen to the game and here are the top 10 reasons why this update is so game-changing.
10. New Villagers + Amiibo Cards
Early on in New Horizons, certain new villagers were coveted because they were new, thus meaning they had no amiibo cards for players to use to invite them to their islands. It started a whole Nook miles/ticket black market within the community as players would trade hundreds upon hundreds of tickets to get their hands on newcomers like Raymond.
The new update will also launch with amiibo cards to allow players everywhere to get a chance at obtaining their dream islanders without the need to delve into the shady underbelly of the New Horizons trading market. Also, the Amiibo cards will also have available the new villagers being added with the 2.0 update, like the blue bunny Sasha and the mysterious-looking yet chatty deer Shino. It’s always a welcome sight to see new, fresh faces join the growing villagers list.
9. New Ways to Customize and Live
Like many updates before, the 2.0 update will also expand the way players can customize their player character and islands. The expansion will add new hairstyles that can be obtained either through Nook Phone upgrades or visiting Harriet on Harv’s Island, all of which will then be permanently added to the players’ collection for future use.
Along with player customization, more furniture will be added as well, including the beloved and long-missed froggy chair. These will be available through Nook mile redemptions or the Nook’s Cranny catalogue.
To add further to player expression and customization, the in-game decorating/design features have been expanded as well. Players will have even more storage capacity in their homes, be able to hang certain furniture items from the ceiling, and even be able to put custom designs as wallpaper to give their homes extra flair.
On the island side of things, players will be allowed to put down more bridges and slopes as well as put down ladder kits along ridges, avoiding the need to constantly pull out their ladders. Talk about convenience!
8. Harv’s Island Overhaul
As much of an “interesting” character Harvey is, in the base-game his island offered very little for players other than for photo ops and staged moments. It was one of those features players would mess around with for a little while before returning to their islands to resume the cyclic nightmare that is terraforming and island renovating.
The 2.0 update actually gives Harv’s Island a lot more purpose and function than it originally had. Instead of just being a photography studio, the island now has an opened up plaza inhabited by NPC facilities for player island visitors. No longer will players have to wait for specific days to have NPCs like Kicks or Saharah visit their islands. Instead, all the NPCs and their shops will set up stalls on Harv’s Island, making it a hub for special shops and activities.
Longtime NPCs make returns as well, like the aforementioned Harriet the hairstylist, mayor-retiree Tortimer, and the fortune-telling cat Katrina, finally giving them a presence and updated models/designs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It is a great way to see new and old faces and give them something to do besides being occasional island visitors. Maybe it will finally make it easier to get authentic art from our favorite cousin Redd as well.
7. Kapp’n’s Tours
Mystery tours are a staple of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, letting players island hop to their hearts’ content, letting them obtain fruits, expensive insects, rare loot otherwise not widely available on their islands, and, most importantly, potential islanders. The only catch is that players will need to fork over 2,000 Nook Miles to get the mystery tour ticket, which made these very coveted items both for players and the aforementioned New Horizons “black market”.
Like the plane mystery tours offered by the dodos Wilbur and Orville, returning NPC Kapp’n also provides tours via his trademark boat, all while accompanying the journey with his signature tunes and singing. Costing only 1,000 Nook Miles, Kapp’n’s mystery tours will take players to an entirely brand new set of mystery islands that feature unique flora, seasons, and even time of day! For players eager to experience islands outside of their current time/season zone and collect brand new things, this is the perfect getaway.
6. Cooking and Farming
Food items had a very minor presence within New Horizons, coming in the form of raw fruit or small drinks players could purchase during special events. Regardless, food always served the same function in providing players with extra energy to demolish rocks or completely uproot trees. Food’s function is very much the same in the update but the method in going about to obtain them is wildly different.
In the 2.0 update, food will now be cookable through kitchen facilities and furniture items provided players have the right recipe via DIY recipe to do so. Foodstuffs can now be cultivated with the addition of farming, where players can obtain seeds for plants like wheat, tomatoes, and more. Once they’re ripe and ready, these ingredients can be used in recipes to create delicious, mouthwatering meals.
5. Brewster and the Roost
We live in a world where Brewster and his signature cafe, the Roost, which were probably some of the most anticipated expansions to the game, are not at the top of the list for this update. That should give you an idea of how wild this update is. Regardless, Brewster’s addition is a most welcome sight to the weary eyes of players as he will now coolly serve everyone a relaxing cup of coffee to unwind after a long day.
Though not as deep function-wise compared to earlier games in the series, where players can get jobs and do delivery runs for our beloved pigeon master, the Roost is a great place to meet up with other islanders and certain NPCs who are not interactable elsewhere via amiibo cards. It will definitely give a plethora of new dialogue and conversations for players to immerse themselves in, which players want more of, and give islanders even more stuff to do outside of the usual daily grind.
4. Happy Home Paradise Planning Expansion
Perhaps the biggest addition in the update, the Happy Home Paradise expansion is the paid DLC portion of the 2.0 update. Akin to Happy Home Designer, the Happy Home Paradise Planning DLC gives players the opportunity to work a job as a dream home designer for prospective vacationing islanders. Though home designing was already an integral part of New Horizons, this update expands the mechanic and turns it on its head.
Players will be able to take full control of house design, letting them expand a house’s layout, erect walls and divisions, and even choose what sort of ambience they want within the house. This extends to the new facilities players will be able to customize and build on the Happy Home Paradise island as well, like schools and restaurants, all of which lets islanders use as intended, instead of meandering about.
To top it all off, players get paid for a job well done. Talk about a neat way to earn some bells!
3. Gyroid Collecting is Back!
Thanks to Brewster’s inclusion, and his utter fascination with these creatures, gyroids make their triumphant return to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. A fun new collectible, gyroids react to one another with interesting sounds and motions, even being able to completely jam out to music should the player have an in-game device playing tunes near them.
With near limitless combinations to be made, it’s time to catch ‘em all!
2. Expanded Home Design Options
The Happy Home Paradise Planning is a great feature in its own right but it extends its usefulness to players’ islands as well. The design gimmicks players learn from their time working can also be implemented back home, letting players truly take home customization to the absolute next level. No longer will players need to use substitute furniture to pretend as walls and such, when they can now build walls and room divisions of their own.
Also, if players are decent enough at their home designing job, their fellow islanders will ask them to renovate their island homes as well, giving players full reign in rearranging and organizing their islanders’ homes to their absolute hearts’ content. Don’t like how someone’s home looks? Just go in there and mix things up a bit. Sometimes, it takes the player’s touch to make a house a home.
1. Future Expansions
The 2.0 update sadly is the last free content update players will be receiving for New Horizons. However, what this implies is that there will be future paid DLC content to further expand the game and its formula, freshening and livening up the experience for players. If future updates are as in-depth and as expansive as the 2.0 update was, then New Horizons has a long life ahead, one that players, myself included, will be glad to pay and support.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons 2.0 update launches on Nov. 5, 2021.