The release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons in 2020 took the world by storm, and rapidly became everyone’s obsession for the majority of the year. People all around the world came together for a turnip selling, fruit exchanging frenzy. But myself, amongst the thousands, hit burnout very quickly. The game lost it’s flair and appeal, leaving me feeling quite lost. My island fell silent, with villagers questioning where their resident representative had gone.
Amongst this silence, Nintendo finally listened to players’ desperate pleas for something new. Something fresh and exciting. Scheduling a direct, excitement began to bubble in the fanbase. A certain coffee brewing pigeon sparked a little something, but the direct and release of New Horizon’s first (and only) paid DLC ignited the love for this game again. Suddenly every time I sign in to any social media, my timeline and feeds are blessed with a continuous stream of excited Animal Crossing fans. Once again, the community of ACNH is buzzing and alive.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise is a paid DLC, so a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is required to play.
Meet me in paradise
Happy Home Paradise is a refreshing take on Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, tying in neatly with New Horizons. Players extend their resident representative skills to a distant island, where you meet a cast of new NPC’s to complete the task of creating another island paradise for others to enjoy. Rather than being a standalone game and not having any storyline like Happy Home Designer, HHP is an extension to the original game and there are a lot of links and cross references in the story. Additionally, I loved that you can invite your islanders from New Horizons to visit your work, and potentially build a holiday home for them.
Essentially, if you look at the bones of the DLC it is pretty much an interior designing simulator. But in doing so, you unlock new elements which can be applied to your original island. I was absolutely outraged by how beautiful players got their islands when New Horizons was initially released. Design has never really been my strong point in any game. As much as I love it, nothing ever looks quite right. So as you can imagine, I have spent hours on certain houses in this DLC to make sure they look absolutely perfect. There’s something incredibly gratifying when your hard work is praised by your client, and you snap a perfect photo for your portfolio. It honestly feels like you are genuinely working, but without the frustrating tiredness that follows a 9-5.
My one fault with this DLC is that the majority of prompts from visitors are pretty similar. When you first pick it up, it’s all very exciting and new. Each prompt unlocks new items, but after a couple hours you’ll realise you’ve made about fourteen tearooms and one too many campsites. After a certain amount of happy clients, you unlock the ability to create your own prompts for islanders. This is great for when you run out of drive for another convenient store, but also feels slightly like cheating. Maybe I’m just overly attached. I’ve spent the majority of my upbringing alongside these characters. But I didn’t want to jeopardise any of the ideas they have.
A sunshine state of mind
A breath of fresh air comes in the fact you don’t have to solely decorate homes either. The island is covered from shore to shore with abandoned facilities. Which you unlock as you go on. I absolutely loved decorating these, and adored the fact island visitors actually utilise them. There is nothing more wholesome than spending ages making a cafe, and then walking in the next day to see it filled with tourists stopping for a coffee.
Especially with the new food update in 2.0, a whole new world of flavour can be experienced by all. The island as a whole is explored by all inhabitants as well. If you stop for a chat they might give you a gift from their own abode. You really see the island grow as you work hard. Which is fulfilling after spending so long on one island where everyone has the same routine daily. As I mentioned previously, it genuinely does feel like a job. Which pays off when you see genuine enjoyment from your clients.
Happy Home Paradise alongside the 2.0 update is definitely the burst of energy the Animal Crossing fan base needed. I feel as though this has reignited a burnt out community of wholesome gaming. Whilst providing a constant source of things to do in case you do find yourself getting bored. There’s no limit to how much decorating you can do in a day. And there’s always a beach full of clients ready to find their paradise. All you need to do is jump right in.