Now that I’ve logged 185 hours of playing New Horizons (at the time of writing this; 25th April 2020), I thought it was about time that I shared an updated review of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We received our 5-star rating on the 23rd, and it was so exciting! A few people on my Discord server (join here!) encouraged me to share an updated Island Tour of my beloved Moonacre, now that it has reached 5-star status, and I was of course more than happy to oblige. I’m completely obsessed with my island, after all!
Floating atop a glistening gem-like ocean in the Northern Hemisphere lies Moonacre, a natural, time travel-free place where civilisation is beginning to plant roots. Whilst villagers are beginning to craft their own stamp on Moonacre, much of the island remains untouched; wild with forest flowers and nature, abundant in magical corners and winding waterfalls and streams. There’s always a fleur-filled, bookish nook to be found and settled into, on Moonacre.
Watch the most recent Moonacre Island Tour on YouTube!
How to Reach A 5-Star Rating
There’s no definitive way of reaching a 5-star rating that I can tell. For complete clarity and transparency, I don’t time travel in the game (i.e. I don’t change the time on my Switch) because I personally prefer to see what each day brings and enjoy the magic of seeing the seasons as I live them. But you do you! I unlocked my 3-star rating (and therefore K.K. Slider) at around 3 weeks, and it was a slog to get to 5 stars. From Isabelle’s comments, the main areas I needed to work on were:
- Decorate with items crafted with DIY recipes.
- Decorate with items bought on the island (Nook’s Cranny, Able Sister’s).
- Improve the scenery with natural landscapes.
- Fewer items lying around on the island
Between my 4-star and 5-star ratings, I worked on placing a combination of items on all corners of my island. All of my island is furnished, albeit not fully. Many ‘zones’ are works-in-progress, but there are 3-4 items in each place. Moonacre has a fairy forest theme, so there are a mix of all flower types in abundance across the island, as well as fenced zones in five places on my map. I also picked up all of the stones, tree branches, weeds and general clutter (dropped items) before visiting Isabelle for my evaluation. Thus, I achieved a 5-star rating and there are beautiful Jacob’s Ladders (or Lily of the Valley) blooming along my cliffs, and I received a DIY Recipe for a Golden Watering Can!
My Honest Review of Animal Crossing: New Horizons
As an avid lover of the Animal Crossing franchise, I of course love New Horizons! From the upgraded graphics (the museum is truly something to behold!) to the generation-specific additions (like the NookPhone and eco-friendly habits), this is really a game of its time. I love the decorating capabilities, as in previous games you couldn’t furnish outdoors, except by funding villager-requested public works projects. I’m having so much fun creating little areas of my island, and using up all of that glorious, valuable beach space!
I have a love/hate relationship with the crafting capabilities in New Horizons. On the one hand, it’s great to be able to take on the customisation that Cyrus previously offered in Re-tail, but it’s also kinda frustrating that many items have to be catalogued separately in colourways, as opposed to customised? Make it make sense Nintendo! And, as somebody who’s gained 5-star status, I also felt that the game feels ‘easy’ this time around. The beauty of Animal Crossing is totally in that everybody plays it differently, but whilst it took me a good 7/8 months of playtime to ‘finish’ my New Leaf town to my standard, Moonacre felt like it was ‘finished’ mighty soon?! I’m sure that by the weekend I’ll have changed my mind on much of the island, but still…!
All in all, New Horizons is a well-considered game all-round. It’s such a cosy and chill game; the perfect respite from busy or long days. I’ve always loved that the setup of the game itself forces you to take it slow (i.e. stores close, there’s an upper limit of how much you can farm on your island, there’s a shopping limit), and that there’s always something new to look forward to every day.
The Moonacre Tour
Welcome to Moonacre! Upon arrival, you’ll be met with a path that winds two ways: forwards to Main Street or head right for the island pond, beach and communal areas. I really love my little snack and picnic area by the pond — it’s the first zone that I worked on and completed. Although it’s simple and somewhat sparse, adding trees and flowers (as well as a Utility Pole) helped to bring this part together. There’s also a swinging bench and picnic area, with a little Tiny Library, where my villagers always hang out together.
I chose to build all of my shops and museum in a line to emulate Main Street from my beloved New Leaf. I’ve seen some really cute multi-level shop set-ups on other islands, but I don’t see myself changing my shopping district anytime soon. Opposite Nook’s Cranny, I have a paved area where I’ve added a slot machine, park benches and candy-floss cart. This area is my Swap Market, and where I host cataloguing parties! You can also leave your children at the park whilst you shop 😉
The bottom-right corner of my map is definitely a continuing work-in-progress. It’s seen many revisions already, and is currently home to a Hobby Club on the beach. Here you could host book club, build a puzzle, star-gaze or fish. It’s sectioned off by a tiny waterfall!
Heading north of the river, and you’re met by Café Moonacre. This was another of the first zones I created and is now one of my favourites. A brick wall-bordered open air coffee shop complete with mismatched furniture and a mannequin wearing an apron; a poor substitute until they eventually (hopefully, at least!) bring back Brewster and The Roost! (Although if they do, I won’t know where on Earth to place it!) Across the way, and divided by a stepping stone path, is my Bamboo Zen Garden. It’s a bit of a work-in-progress because I’m limited on space, but cute nonetheless! That Stone Arch cost 90 stones to craft!!
Up one cliff level, you’ll find the campsite and my beloved Fairy Forest. I am SO proud of this wild area and have spent hours painstakingly landscaping Moonacre Farm (thanks @sardinebabey for sharing the Custom Designs with me!), and creating a magical woodland area. I’ve added log stakes, stools and another Tiny Library for a lived-in, magical bookish vibe.
Last but not least (in this tour at least! There are a good six or seven other zones I could’ve shared!), is my ice-cream beach bar. I’m adding some ‘decking’ Custom Design to this soon, and I’m hoping to add more clutter. Right now there’s a shaved ice machine and juice mixer, but perhaps that’ll change…
Watch the most recent Moonacre Island Tour on YouTube!
What’s next for Moonacre?
Of course Animal Crossing never ‘finishes’, and I’ve got ideas in abundance for Moonacre! There’s limitless possibilities, and new updates available year-round so I’m sure my island will change over time. A few projects currently on the go?
- Upper Cliff (fairground?)
- Street Food Market
- Moving Houses
- Barre/Pilates Beach Studio
- Outdoor Cinema
Whew! What a bumper post! I feel like I just wrote Animal Crossing fan-fiction… Let me know which magical bookish corners of Moonacre you like the post. And, be sure to follow my side account on Twitter for more; @acnh_moonacre.