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Animal Crossing: New Horizons: 10 Best 2.0 Updates!

The animals are back to exercise and scold.

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New Horizons: The Best New Additions

It’s 8 a.m. and you have a lot to accomplish – pay the pets, walk the bills, scrub the sofa – whatever it is you do to live the life of a semi-functional human in the so-called real world. But maybe you’ll just sneak a few minutes in on your dreamy little Animal Crossing island? Uh-oh…where did the day go? That familiar feeling has returned to New Horizons, because:

Animal Crossing is back!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons 2.0 is finally here, and with it is a reinvigorated joy at pulling weeds and talking to cute animals who love to exercise and scold. Get ready to steal more hours from your human day, because all of the little things Nintendo has added add up to a lot of fun in one of the greatest games ever made.

Did Animal Crossing ever leave? Kind of. According to Clay the Hamster, he’d been there all along waiting outside my house while I was playing Metroid. For many of us, (even your most dedicated of intrepid Animal Crossing Correspondents), after 400+ hard hours of island life, we’d lapsed. Our islands were full and we were out of stuff to do.

Animal Crossing New Horizons 2.0 Update

Are we back? Heck yes we are! The truckload of an overdue update drops off a teetering pile of fun new things to do that amounts to a fully reinvigorated adorable animal experience. Hooray!

Is it the same old stuff? Kind of! But that’s not a bad thing because there’s so much more of it, and so much that was already there is finally improved. There’s a bouncing bounty to uncover on our island of wonders, let’s dig in with the internet’s favorite organizing principle:

A Highly Scientific List of the Ten Best Improvements in the Animal Crossing Update

1. All The New Shops!

Kicks, Katrina, Harriet, and the rest have all set up shop on Harv’s previously borderline-creepy island (who asks you to fly on a plane to come to their secluded photo studio?). And the new shops are all most welcome and utterly fantastic.

Animal Crossing New Horizons 2.0 Update

Hopefully you’re still rolling in it from the booming days of the Discord turnip market because each shop takes 100,000 bells to get little Lloid to dig up and somehow build — and you can only buy out one per day! Not only can you finally check in on art with that rascal Redd every day now, but the initial rollout of the shops is designed to be drip-fed so that you can consume it at a rational pace. 

And therein is the beauty of it. Animal Crossing is all about taking your time and anticipation for fun little things, and this gentle unlock of each shop is that ethos at its best.

2. The New Handheld Camera

For many artful islanders, taking pictures of their fine creations and furry friends is half the fun of playing Animal Crossing.

New Horizons update

In addition to adding some genuinely entertaining new lens filters like ‘surveillance’ and ‘fish-eye,’ the new iteration of the camera app lets you go into a handheld tripod mode. New close-ups and dramatic angles abound to celebrate each hyper-curated corner of your bustling island.

3. Gyroids Gyroids Gyroids!

There is a certain brand of Animal Crossing fan who felt, in their highly rational heart of deepest hearts, that no game in the franchise would be complete without the joyful addition of useless dancing pots and robots. That certain brand is me, and gyroids are here!

Animal Crossing 2.0 Update

Not only have gyroids arrived, but they are more adorable and entertaining than ever. First, unless it has rained, you have to travel with the delightful Kapp’n to have found one. Then, it takes a little prep to make them happen, as you’ll need to water a wee shard to get yours to grow the next day. So again, we have the joy of the cooked-in slow-roll.

On top of that, the gyroids are more detailed and adorable than ever. From the charming Squeakoid to the troubling Crumploid, the updated designs are as cute as they are imaginative, and they are readily customizable, leading to an unstoppable rainbow of well-matched jumble-buddies.

And last, they are so very good at jamming. Each little gyroid loves to dance and make noises in tune with whatever music is nearby. It’s enough to make K.K. Slider howl.

4. YOU CAN COOK!

The rumors are all true. Like Link in the night, gather your ingredients and cook up some fine foods for all of your fellow islanders to salivate over, because cooking is finally here.

Cooking is simple enough, but for the right sort of Villager, can prove quite addictive. The recipes you create are straightforward, but a new and fun aspect of the game to cover and collect. And like with so many of the elements in Animal Crossing, each little recipe has been lovingly rendered. You’ll find yourself showing it off like the first shark you ever nabbed.

And speaking of fish, cooking adds a much-needed spark to fishing, as many daily catches (yes, even the cursed C+ sea bass) yield new recipes.

Add to that the fun of farming for basic ingredients, and you’ve got a whole new daily pursuit to overthink!

5. THERE ARE VINES!

Ok, this is oddly specific and was under-represented in most of the marketing materials, but this update adds little vines that you can hang from cliffs in order to traverse them more quickly, and for some islands, this utterly changes traversal.

The update also adds a little ladder that you can craft that does the same thing, and that’s great. But the vines are both plentiful, and more importantly: cool-looking.

When we first arrived on our islands, like the pole vault before it, the little ladder tool was fun to pull out and use to explore. But circling that item wheel can get a little old, and having options aside from building a whole bridge is fantastic, and is a deep-cut quality of life improvement for folks who play 2-player.  Hooray for vine-life!

6. Drinkin Coffee… With Resetti!

Brewster’s long-awaited “Roost” is finally here. The simple joy of showing up, chatting with the coolest bird in town (you heard me, Blathers), and trying to win him over by drinking his coffee correctly is as pigeon-perfect as ever.

The Roost is looking fantastic in its commitment to details. Among those is a little phone that you can use to call up any Animal Crossing Amiibo you might have buried in the back of your closet. And with it, for those who are lucky enough to have kept theirs close, is the ability to live every Animal Crossing player’s gloriously grumpy dream: coffee with Resetti (or whomever you might like to invite).

Any of the characters you call up will sit with you and catch you up, and it’s so fun you’ll soon be scouring the internet for more lost little Amiibo cards and figurines.

7. Clappin’ With Kapp’n

Kapp’n is back! The boat captain of our Gameboy-dreams has finally sailed home to sing us much-needed shanties as he ushers us to exotic islands.

Each boat ride features a wisdom-laced signature Kapp’n shanty, and in a heart-stealing upgrade for the ages, you can now laugh, glower, or clap along with him. As if his songs weren’t already amazing enough, now you can clap to the beat. And you must.

Image: Nintendo (photo by Marty Allen)

And each island that Kapp’n ushers you to is an exotic surprise where tricky-to-collect bits like stars and rose petals abound among your completely necessary gyroid-of-the-day.

We missed you more than we can say, Kapp’n.

8. Redd’s Raffle!

We’re double-dipping a little bit here, as Redd is among the many delightful regular shopkeeps to now have a permanent home on Harv’s. But after you’re done scrutinizing his artworks of the day, his raffle is a must.

In Animal Crossing, there is a certain class of item that acts like a tool that you can carry rather than just an object to be put down as decoration. These are fun because they give your little Villager a little something extra they can do.

Animal Crossing 2.0 Update

Previously, these would pop up here and there, usually seasonally, like a light stick with New Years, or the occasional instrument like a tambourine.

But now there is Redd’s Raffle. Every item is something you can carry, and they are all perfect. We mustn’t spoil too many, but suffice it to say we’ve been walking around eating donuts and ice cream cones all day.

9. So Many Items… And A Place to Put them!

In a game that is defined by collecting imaginary objects, items and where to put them will always be a tricky aspect to manage.

The new update adds piles of entertaining items like trains and giant inflatable elephants on top of the mountains that are already inside this endless paradise. But it also adds more storage at home, and the real game-changer, the ability to construct a storage shed that allows you to access that full inventory. In the past, you had to go into your home for this, and eliminating that need streamlines the experience tenfold.

New Horizons 2.0 update

Pop a storage shed into your regular inventory that you carry, and you’re moments away from all of your storage at all times. It’s all a gift to us absurdly dedicated islanders.

10. The Paradise DLC is A Must-Play

Much and more in the new Animal Crossing update comes to any user for free, and all that’s been described above is among it.

But in truth, we buried the lead like a lost little Gyroid — the Happy Home Paradise paid DLC adds an enormous layer of additional content on top of an already wonderful game. It effectively adds a new game loop that you can discover at your own pace, and it comes highly recommended.

In essence, you sit down with a rogue Villager (or one you invite from your own island) to design their dream vacation home. They’ll have a governing idea such as a ‘private mushroom forest’ or ‘ultimate gaming room,’ and when complete, you receive the Paradise-specific compensation in the form of Poki. You can just as quickly turn it in for many rare items like lounge chairs and air fryers. 

Really all you need to do to earn your Poki-pile is place a few items of furniture, but if you’re of the Animal Crossing devout, you’ll likely go deep with these themed interiors. Sure, it’s incredibly low stakes to have to decorate a house to the standard of a pig who really wants a pot and a chair, but that’s why it shines and you get lost in the details.

The genius of the update is that you get a chance to play around with a whole pile of items you’ve never seen in a space that’s a clean slate. For many, this is what Animal Crossing is all about.

One of the most joyful aspects of playing around in Paradise are the newfound tools for terraforming. With sweeping gestures, you can transform a miniature island, and here’s to hoping that this little feature carries over to the next iteration of cute animal life.

On top of that, your Paradise getaway features two of the best and cutest new NPC’s an Animal Crossing has ever shaken out of a tree (sorry, Lottie): Niko the Monkey and Wardell the Manatee have stolen our hearts.

Animal Crossing New Horizons 2.0 Update

And all of this pairs wonderfully with all of the new features that came with the free update. It’s the perfect and seamlessly integrated day to pop to your island paradise, decorate a home, and then pop over to Harv’s to see what’s in all the shops.

The DLC isn’t just fun, if you love Animal Crossing, we’d go so far as to say it’s a must-play. It adds a whole new dimension to an already wonderful game and is worth every penny.

Animal Crossing New Horizons 2.0 Update

Better Than Ever

And really, that’s just what rose to the top for this intrepid Animal Crossing Correspondent’s list of joys. Whether it’s ordinances, aerobics, or hula-dancing with new Villagers, in this update there’s much and more for every intrepid islander out there.

It took Nintendo too long to add all of this DLC, and it’s a lot to take in all at once. But cooked into it all is the sense that you should really just take your time with it, and that’s what Animal Crossing does best of all.

Animal Crossing New Horizons 2.0 update

Before the update dropped, returning to Animal Crossing would leave you quickly wandering about and wondering what you might do before smiling wistfully and switching it off again.

Now, for the first time since the game began, you can hop in and not feel like there’s enough time to do everything you want. But there is, friend, there’s all the time in the world, because your Animal Crossing Island is always there, and you can take your time taking care of it.

Marty Allen is an artist, writer, and creative producer who lives in Brooklyn. Marty loves to write about video games, pop culture, and all sorts of things. He's written a pile of books and made a bunch of art and songs, but mostly he just plays Animal Crossing, walks his dog, and makes delicious sandwiches.

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