Crystal Dreams

I both really like and am really frustrated with New Horizons

I’ve been working on my daily entries and going back and forth on if I want to make one big entry with Days 2-10 or individual ones. While I really hoped to keep up better with it all, I haven’t been able to and it’s partially as New Horizons probably takes up more of my time than any previous Animal Crossing game. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

To try and focus more on those, I needed to get out my feelings a bit in general about the game because it’s been rough and my feelings towards it are very different than to most Animal Crossing games.

They absolutely aren’t all bad. I truly enjoy playing the game. But some things are just… not good and I’ve already hit points of the game that I know I should probably be doing every day that I just don’t want to do anymore.

In no surprise to anyone even though I tried to give it a chance: I hate the crafting system with all my heart. Adding resource management to Animal Crossing has added an extensive amount of repeatable activities that I just don’t care for. I don’t want to smack every single tree of mine for wood (or bamboo for, well, bamboo). I don’t want to hit every single rock every single day for ore and stone and clay. I don’t want to have an extra supply of flowers for me to pick the bulbs from. It’s boring, it’s too repetitive, and at this point, I’m frustrated because SO MUCH is tied to crafting and there’s no real workaround for it. Materials aren’t sold anywhere for anyone who would rather not comb through their island every single day for resources, many items are literally craftable only, you can’t even customize everything’s color, and it doesn’t add anything to the game for me. I think it’s a good option to give people things to do– I just don’t think it should be the sole option for so many things (and then be pick and choose with parts of it *coughcustomizationcough*).

Collecting recipes is fun, sure, but it’s less fun when I see the materials. And to be honest, collecting recipes in the first place isn’t as fun when it’s constantly random.

And that’s kind of what kills me the most, the immense amount of randomness in the game this time around. Surprises can be fun, sure, but that works a little more with the Nook Miles (and not always– we’ll get to that) and a lot less with what recipe you get and when. There’s a lot of recipes I’ve seen people have that I’d love to get, but have not been lucky enough to. Starting with Nothing has made such a big difference between those who time traveled and those who did not, not having Nook’s Cranny and Able Sister’s from the start was weird and honestly, not that enjoyable to get to the point where we could have them, having such a small amount of our island originally accessible and then being just tossed in to needing to place these giant plots and maybe not having an island with a decent amount of room to place things just yet due to all the trees around and not really sure what to expect

When it comes to Player Quality of Life, it just doesn’t feel like it’s there. Crafting one item at a time, only being able to buy what you could wear out of Able Sister’s and thus needing to go in multiple times, locking QR codes still that were transferred in even if you were the one to make them, limiting how much you can order and mail to people from the catalog, being unable to access the ABD for an entire day during construction (While they at least made up for the Nook Miles Streak, my issue was more being unable to pay off my loan and I use the catalog to keep track of things)…

I also think having colors is a great addition, but I think making it so we can’t customize them and while making each count separately versus letting all colors be unlocked when an item is gotten was honestly a mistake as it

This is especially frustrating when things like The Nook Miles items end up having their colors vary per island. I like playing with my friends. I like surprising them with gifts and hanging out. I don’t like feeling like I have to work with a bunch of people to do things because none of the items are customizable to change their colors and the colors don’t change.

Part of the fun of Animal Crossing is being able to play how you want. Which doesn’t feel like the case in New Horizons with tools constantly breaking (even gold tools!! What is even the point?! What kind of reward is something I have to constantly remake even then), really limited progress (And as someone who likes taking it slow, I wouldn’t even mind this normally, but it feels weird having mainstay features just… on hold for a while like the hourly music and certain shops), and having to patch in events. If people can change their time back to an event after it happens for the first time, I’ll take back at least some of my complaints on this, but otherwise, it’s a lot more limited. Not everyone has the same schedule and even as someone who doesn’t time traveler, I feel stressed thinking I could mess up and miss out.

It doesn’t help that it’ll be at the same time as the Cherry Blossom season which has a whole load of special seasonal recipes and a rare material with the cherry blossom petals and balancing those won’t be fun. And then with also gathering stuff for Easter? How might that effect what drops and what shows up?
Why can’t I just buy the cherry blossom recipes during the season? Why does it have to be such a random mess?

The fact that the Easter Event is 12 days long has me more concerned as it feels like it’ll require a lot of effort and like… I already feel overwhelmed with what I want to do.

In general, Animal Crossing has always had walls, but I think the ones I’ve struggled the most with are when it comes to moving buildings. You can’t switch bridges or move them as far as I can tell– you can only demolish and remake. While you can move shops and resident’s houses (plus your own), not only does it cost quite a lot of bells, but you need to wait until the next day for the move to happen and can only move one thing at a time.

In a realistic sense, I can get that, in a game-sense, this is incredibly frustrating and is the one wait I just can’t really understand. Spatial awareness is not one of my fortes and for me to really work with things, I need to have all my cards on the table. Moving things once and then having to wait 24 hours and move again is a really quick way for me to lose my footing and not be able to keep track of what I want to do or really get a good feel of it.

I do A LOT of shifting things around– a little to the left, a little to the right, depending on how things get placed as we go. I could end up moving multiple buildings several times and it could be months before I have everything where I want just due to how I tend to work when it comes to landscaping.

With how easy they added a method to move trees, I wish that feature was considered other ways. I wish everything could be that easy to move and even the ability to move rocks over just destroying them.

I wish the Tool Ring actually brought the tools in versus still taking up inventory space. I wish the Wands worked more as copies of clothing items versus removing them so I wouldn’t need 8 pairs of tights to use it the way I want.

I wish everything didn’t feel so complicated and random. I wish it was clearer that I could’ve gotten more villagers I wanted sooner. I wish they didn’t restrict which personality types you got when. I wish I had the option to say no. I wish I knew why starting with nothing feels like it has more rigidness than starting with a lot of things.

Even though Villagers feel more emotive and they interact randomly in general, it doesn’t feel like they interact much with items versus like… Pocket Camp. I feel like they rarely want me to do anything and it’s weird not having any way to ask for things to do.

It’s great that we don’t have to worry about them moving out necessarily, but why is it such a pain to move them in? Do Amiibo Cards really need to be tried so many times? I can understand the randomness of the Islands, but I wish I had more choice when Nook first moved people in– even a chance to go to islands to ask (Which, yes, I know I could’ve before I finished setting up the plots, but I didn’t expect them to immediately be sold) before they were randomly picked.

I feel like so many controls just aren’t explained or are so easy to miss. Some controls just feel really awkward. Why is there no multi-select option for selling, dropping, and storing things?

I miss the house styles and it feels like we have less options this time. Why are the rooms smaller? Why are there no colors for fence options? What’s even the point of customizing tools when they break?

Where are even so many items? My Classic set, my Rococo set, my lovely set… The game has so many new things, but is missing tons of old stuff and feels incomplete. If they plan to patch things in, I wish they waited until everything was in already. I don’t want another Splatoon 2 thing. Not to mention the crazy prices of items in comparison to what they used to be (Over 60K for a Clawfoot tub?? 100K for a Desktop Computer???).

I feel like some people could say maybe I’m just burned out, but I’m not at all. I WANT to play. I ENJOY playing. But it also makes me feel anxious and discouraged and sad.

With New Leaf, I loved watching people’s videos and writing things down that I want and keeping up with things. Seeing how people handled things, when they unlocked each shop.

With New Horizons, it makes me anxious and feel like I’m doing something wrong when I see people with all these amazing recipes and items that I don’t have. Even though I know it’s random.

I hate having to place all these things where I don’t want to because of such a closed-space with the river and not really having enough room to do what I want.

I have a vision with my town. I have so much I want to do. I want to see it come true.

But I feel like I’m trapped in such a tiny room and nothing will work.

I love Animal Crossing so much. And most of the time, I do find ways to have fun. But then I try to make progress in changing things how I want to and have no plan or structure as all I can do is wait and it breaks my heart that this is how I end up feeling.

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