Ever since it was released on March 20th, the world has gone Animal Crossing crazy. The newest entry into Nintendo’s beloved life simulator franchise was already one of 2020’a most highly anticipated games, but with the current coronavirus crisis keeping people in their homes the gorgeous game has become an escape. If you’ve taken the plunge and invested in one of Tom Nook’s island getaways but don’t really know how to get started, we’ve put together a useful guide to help you traverse the tropical island paradise of New Horizons.

How to Earn Money/Bells/Nook Miles


Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a relatively low stakes game, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t need to achieve tasks and potentially succumb to the capitalist instincts of earning money. In New Horizons there are two forms of currency: Bells, with which you can buy items and upgrade your house; and Nook Miles, a new addition to the world of Animal Crossing. With it, you can secure rare items, get access to new hairstyles and colors, and buy you a ticket to one of the many mystery islands outside of your own.

Earning Nook Miles is simple; you get them just for playing the game. Catch a fish, earn some Nook Miles. Talk to your neighbors, earn some Nook Miles. Craft a tool, earn some Nook Miles. You get the picture. Just make sure to check your phone as soon as it notifies you so you don’t miss the chance to earn Miles!

Earning Bells can be slow going, though. When you first start, the easiest way to earn Bells is to collect the weeds and shells from around your island, as well as shaking any fruits from the trees. Without tools these are the easiest resources to access and sell to the Nooks.

Once you have tools (check out how to get them below!) you can use them to fish, dig up and plant trees, and cut wood, all of which can be sold in the shop. Earning Bells is a slow game, but you can do a couple of tricks like catching Tarantulas (they sell for $8000 each!!!) and growing a money tree (locate a glowing spot on the ground, dig it up, receive your bells reward, and then bury $10,000 bells in the hole!) to accelerate your financial gains.

How to Get Tools


Animal Crossing: New Horizons changes the way that you access tools. In previous games you would simply buy them from the Nook’s store, but here you craft the tools that you need. When you first arrive at the island, Tom Nook will give you the crafting recipes for a Flimsy Fishing Rod and Flimsy Net which you can craft using his DIY table. As you explore the island you will find your own recipe for a Simple DIY Table which will enable you to craft tools and other items in your own home.

To access the other tools that you need you have to donate creatures to Tom Nook. Simply head out to the island, catch some bugs and fish (check out how to catch them below!), and then head back into Nook’s tent. Once there, select “I found a creature” and choose an animal to give to ol’ Tom Nook. Once you donate two creatures you’ll get access to the Flimsy Axe recipe. Donate two more creatures and you’ll be given the crafting recipe for the Flimsy Watering Can. Once you’ve donated five creatures, Tom will call up his old friend Blathers who’ll decide he’s going to come to the island. You’ll need to select a location for Blathers’ tent and once he arrives he’ll give you recipes for the Flimsy Shovel and the all important Vaulting Pole!

As their names suggest, none of these tools (except the Vaulting Pole which is apparently indestructible) are very strong, so if you want to upgrade you can invest in the Pretty Good tools recipe kit which costs 3000 Nook Miles. The tools do last longer but they also need Iron Nuggets to craft them, which is pretty hard to find early in the game!

How to Catch Bugs


Catching bugs is one of the best and easiest ways to make Bells and to while away the hours in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Once you’ve gotten the crafting recipe for a Flimsy Net you can source the five tree branches that you need to make it and craft it at Tom Nook’s DIY station. With the Flimsy Net ready to go, head out onto the island and find a beautiful bug. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons the butterflies are probably the easiest bugs to catch as they don’t fly away if you miss them so they’re probably a good place to start.

When you’ve found the bug you want to catch, select the Flimsy Net from your tools. You can do this by opening your pockets with X and selecting your net, or by toggling through using the Left and Right buttons on your D-pad. As you approach the bug in question, you can either walk up at the normal speed–which works for butterflies and some other flying creatures–or you can press and hold A which enables you to creep. This function comes in extra handy when you’re trying to catch other bugs which land on flowers or tree stumps as they’re far more flighty. If you’re creeping, then release A when the time feels right, and if you’re not then press A to catch your bug!

How to Fish


Just like in real life, fishing in Animal Crossing is a waiting game. As it is with the Flimsy Net, it takes five tree branches to craft a Flimsy Fishing Rod and both will last around 30 casts/catches before you need to craft a new one. Once you’ve crafted a Flimsy Fishing Rod you can head over to any body of water and look out for a shadow.

With your Flimsy Fishing Rod ready to go, use A to cast your line and try to get it right in front of the shadow. If you cast to the side of the fish, it’s best to pull the line back with A and recast. But as long as your lure is in front of the fish, even if it’s a bit far away, be patient and the fish will often end up noticing and biting.

Fishing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is relatively easy… once you get used to it. The fishes will approach the lure and you basically have to wait until the moment they pull it under the water. This could be immediately, or after four or five nudges. The longer you fish, the easier it’ll be to learn the rhythm!

How to Get Across Water


When you first begin Animal Crossing: New Horizons you’ll be unable to access certain parts of your island as there will be a gorgeous river running through that you can’t cross. That will all change once Blathers offers you the recipe for a Vaulting Pole. Unlike the other tools that you’ve crafted up until this point, the Vaulting Pole needs five pieces of Soft Wood to be crafted. You can get those by using your Flimsy Axe to chop some of your local trees!

Once you’ve gotten the Soft Wood that you need you can craft the Vaulting Pole and start to truly make the most of your whole island. The Vaulting Pole is one of the most simple tools to use as all you have to do is head to any small body of water, select the Vaulting Pole, and press A. You’ll immediately vault to the other side, allowing you to fully explore your island.

How to Design Clothes


If you’ve been on the internet lately you’ll likely have seen some of the amazing creations that folks have been making for their Animal Crossing characters to wear. This is all thanks to a classic Animal Crossing mechanic, the Custom Designer! This pixel-based design system is a whole lot of fun and can be accessed in your Nook Phone.

Once you earn 800 Nook Miles you can upgrade to the Custom Pro Designer app which will give you numerous patterns to create hats, dresses, coats, t-shirts, and more! The magic of the internet also means that you can utilize QR codes to download designs by other players throughout the years.

How to Grow Flowers/Plant Trees


Gardening is one of the most relaxing things to do in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and once you have your tools it’s a relatively easy one. After you’ve visited the Nook store a few times you’ll be offered some flower seeds which you can plant anywhere on your island. To plant them all you have to do is stand where you want them to grow, open your pockets with X, select the flower seeds, and choose Plant. Once you’ve planted them they’ll grow without any care, but if you do want to water them you can use your Flimsy Watering Can and we’d recommend that you do! If you water your flowers every day you can cross pollinate them with other flowers you plant and even grow new flower colors if you plant two different colored flowers next to each other.

When it comes to planting trees, you have a couple of routes. You can dig a hole with your Flimsy Shovel, select a piece of fruit from your pocket, and bury it, which leads to a fruit tree growing. This is especially useful if you get fruits from other islands or other players which aren’t native to your island. If you have enough strength–which you get from eating fruit–you can dig up a whole tree using your shovel and take it back to your island where you can plant it simply by selecting it from your pockets and choosing Plant.

How to Collect Iron Nuggets


One of the few truly frustrating things about the early days of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is that you’ll need to secure 30 Iron Nuggets to help the Nooks build their shop. Whilst getting the 30 pieces of Hardwood, Wood, and Softwood will be relatively easy with the Flimsy Axe, Iron Nuggets will be a little bit harder to come by. The first thing to do will be to find the four rocks on your island which may or may not contain some Iron Nuggets when you hit with your Flimsy Axe. A good tip to bring up here is to always make sure you’re chatting to your neighbors as they may or may not gift you with useful items like Iron Nuggets!

Sadly, that will not fill your pockets with enough Iron Nuggets, so your best option is to utilize your Nook Miles to head off to the Mystery Islands (check out how to do it below!). On the randomly assigned islands you’ll find more rocks to break, some of which include multiple Iron Nuggets! Once you’ve got your 30 and have helped the Nooks build their shop, you can use Iron Nuggets to upgrade your tools and craft other stuff like Mirrors and Vanities!

How to Visit the Mystery Islands


You can utilize your Nook Miles to purchase a Nook Miles Ticket which will allow you to visit a randomized mystery island. To do this you need to earn 2000 Nook Miles and then head to the Nook Stop inside of Tom Nook’s tent and select “Redeem Nook Miles.” Select the Nook Miles Ticket and once it’s printed out just head over to your island’s airport to travel. All you need to do now is tell the Dodo “I wanna fly” and then that you want to “Use your Nook Miles Ticket,” and before you know it you’ll be on a whole new world with a whole bunch of rad new things to discover!

Keep an eye out for the now notorious tarantula island which has non-stop spawning tarantulas. Although this is a scary prospect, if you can catch them and fill your pockets then you can earn over 200,000 Bells selling them to the Nooks. Speaking of pockets, make sure that your pockets are empty except for your tools so you can gather as many goodies as possible when you travel.

Header Image: Nintendo

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