Face it: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an annoying game.
There. I said it. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Yes, you’re the de facto overlord of a private island brimming with adorable talkative animals. On paper, it’s a dream come true.
But, in reality, Nintendo’s life simulator is a maddening nightmare. Every minute spent with New Horizons is an exercise in patience. The inventory always fills up. The resources always dry up. And seriously, how many more times can you read the line “I caught a sea bass! No, wait—it’s at least a C+!” without losing your mind? (Answer: zero.)
But there are a few ways to make the game marginally less annoying. To some players, these little tricks might be no-brainers. To others, maybe not. New Horizons doesn’t exactly do a great job at explaining its various intricacies.
For instance, did you know that you can tap A to speed up crafting? Also, when it comes to covering up holes in the ground, you needn’t equip your shovel. Just press Y and your villager will kick some dirt over them. The B button, meanwhile, has two hidden uses. You can press it to speed up dialogue (New Horizons text moves at the slow cadence of island life). Or you can hold it down to run around your little cay.
Then there are the vexingly unexplained systems. Tree-planting is a big one. When it comes to growing a grove, you can’t place down roots right next to each other. But New Horizons won’t tell you this (unless I hit B too fast and skipped that text). It’ll let you place two saplings adjacently. It might take a day or two before you realize your trees aren’t growing. Then you have to uproot half of them and replant the saplings so each one has at least one spot of “free space” to grow. Kotaku’s Ethan Gach likened Animal Crossing to “work.” Worse. This is straight-up busywork.
Bug bites are also irritating, if less impactful on actual gameplay. When you get attacked by your island’s native insects—say, a horde of wasps—your face will puff up. This doesn’t prevent you from doing your Animal Crossing chores, but it does make you look kind of silly. There’s only one cure: medicine. Thing is, you don’t initially start with the recipe for it. And you can’t source it in the Resident Services tent. Rather, you can find the recipe by talking to one of your island’s starter residents while you’re suffering a bug bite. (Before learning this, my workaround was sartorial: I’d just wear the Tom Nook eye mask to cover up any inflammation.) If you’re not a gregarious member of your island’s citizenry, sorry. Good luck with those bites!
If you have any other tricks up your sleeve, do let me know. I’d like to enjoy this dream, please.