Home SimulationAnimal Crossing: New Horizons Animal Crossing New Horizons: First Time Playing Questions

Animal Crossing New Horizons: First Time Playing Questions

by Laura
Animal Crossing New Horizons

Nintendo released its newest game in the Animal Crossing series, New Horizons, just a few days ago and like many others, I’m loving it! Amidst all commotion and uncertainty in the real world, the island provides a perfect getaway to relax and escape. Since this is my first time playing any of the games from the series, naturally I had some questions pop up during my first few hours of gameplay. Whether you are an experienced AC’er or you’re like me and this is your first foray, you might run into the same issues. So here are the questions I had – and the answers to them, of course!

General Questions

How do I save my game?

Press on the left joycon of your console to save your game.

Is there any way to speed up time?

new horizons timeAnimal Crossing: New Horizons operates in real time. That means that if you are playing on Monday the 23rd of March at 9:42 AM, the time in game will also be Monday the 23rd of March 9:42 AM. The only way to speed this up or to skip a few days ahead, is by time travel. To time travel close the game (press Home, then X, and click Close) and change the time on your Nintendo Switch console. Go to Settings (the gear icon), scroll down, and select System. Turn off the setting that says “Synchronize Clock via Internet” and manually set the date and/or time to whatever you want. Note that skipping too far forward may result in you finding your island deserted and full of weeds!

Can I make multiple islands on one console?

Unfortunately, no. Only 1 island can be created per Nintendo Switch. Other users of the same console will start their playthrough on that same island.

Getting Started

Should I pick Northern or Southern hemisphere?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons lets you choose whether your island will be on the Northern or Southern hemisphere. Which one should you go for? That is up to you! If you choose the hemisphere that you currently reside on, the game’s seasons will be in sync with the seasons you are experiencing in real life. Most players will pick this option, since it feels more natural. However, this is your deserted island! If you feel like building snowmen when the sun is shining outside and you prefer a sunny beach when you’re sitting on the sofa with the heating turned to max, go for it!

What map should I pick?

When starting a new game, you will get the option of choosing between 4 different island layouts. If none of these strike your fancy, you can restart the game to generate 4 new options. Now, there are players who like to get out a ruler, measure out all distances between different landmarks, put this in an excel sheet, spend hours crunching numbers and then discover that one of the 4 options is 1.2% more efficient in terms of travel time or resource distribution and therefore the best island map in New Horizons. I’m not one of them. Pick whatever you like! Throw a coin, roll a die or just randomly move your joystick and press A to select. Really, it doesn’t matter that much. The islands are all the same size and all have Resident Services somewhere near the middle.

How do I get different starting villagers?

The only way to change your 2 starting characters is to reset all save data and start a new game. The 2 co-inhabitants you get are randomly decided at the start of a new game, so keep rolling until you get your favourite neighbours!

How do I get different starting fruit?

Got trees full of apples, but you were just craving cherries? Don’t worry too much about it; soon enough you can plant your own trees to grow your own perfect fruit salad. Do you really, really want cherries NOW? Then the only option is to delete all save data and start a new game.

Where should I place my tent?

Wherever you want! This is your game. Always wanted to live near the beach? Go ahead! Prefer waking up amidst trees and bushes? Of course! Do however try to keep some space around your tent so you have room to build and place outdoor furniture.

Can I change my tent location?

You can change the location of your tent or house after upgrading the Resident Center. This does come at a steep price though; it’ll cost you 30,000 Bells. In the early game this amount of Bells is hard to come by, so be sure to pick a place where you’ll be happy for at least a few weeks!

Where should I place the tent of my neighbours?

Again; wherever you want! Do you want your island to be a close-knit community or do you prefer complete isolation? Note that you do not place the tents too close to each other: you’ll want some space to walk around and place furniture.

How do I get a smartphone?

Don’t have the NookPhone yet? Don’t panic, Tom Nook will hook you up with one soon enough. Just keep chatting to him, he will hand it to you after discussing your outstanding fees.

How do I open my NookPhone?

You open your smartphone by pressing ZL (the lowest of the two buttons on the back of the left joycon).

Exploring the island

How do I get the fruit from the tree?

Shake the tree by walking close to it and pressing A (while not holding any tool). The fruit will fall on the floor, pick it up with Y. Careful, some trees contain wasp nest full of angry insects that do not appreciate the disturbance!

What is a message in a bottle? How do I open it?

message in a bottleYou may find a note in a bottle lying around on the beach. Great, a surprise! Pick up the bottle (with Y), open your inventory (with X), select the bottle and open it (with A). The bottle may contain a (hopefully) nice note from a friend, a little tip or trick to help you on your island life, or – if you’re lucky – a DIY recipe. Make sure to check your beach regularly!


How do I grab the flying present?

You may see a gift stringed to a balloon flying around your island. To grab it, simply shoot the balloon with your slingshot. Don’t you have a slingshot yet? You can buy the recipe for it in the Resident Center for 300 Bells.

What is that glittering spot on my island?

It’s a spot where you can dig up coins and grow a money tree. Great, right?! However, you need a shovel for it which is not obtainable on Day 1. So yeah, too bad. If you do have a shovel, use that to dig up the glowing spot. Collect the Bells, but do NOT close up the spot. Instead, go into your inventory, select your Bells and choose an amount you’d like to plant. While still holding the shovel, select the item of Bells in your inventory and bury. A money tree will yield 3 times the amount that is planted, so if you plant 10,000 Bells, you can pick 30,000 Bells a few days later. That’s a pretty good return on investment!

How do I fish?

Carp ACNHTo fish, you need a fishing rod (who would’ve guessed, right?). You can buy the DIY recipe for a Flimsy Fishing Rod from Tommy Nook in Resident Services for 480 Bells, or you just wait and go to sleep. After your first night, Tom Nook will offer you the DIY recipe for free. You can craft the fishing rod from 5 Tree Branches.

Once you have your fishing rod, select it from your inventory (X), hold it and Press A to throw it out. You’ll want to throw it in front of a fish. Look at the shadow to see where it’s swimming. If you land your cast close enough in front, the fish will swim to the bobber and start pulling it. Wait till the bobber is fully submerged, then press A as quickly as you can.

Wonder what fish in New Horizons sell for the most Bells? Check this article for the most expensive fish!

How do I catch bugs?

butterfly new horizonsYou can catch flying and crawling critters with a bug net. You can buy a bug net from Tommy Nook in the Resident Center, but Bells are hard to come by when starting a new game, so preferably you want to craft your own. The Flimsy Net can be crafted from 5 tree branches. Tom Nook will give you the DIY recipe if you use his workbench a few times and keep talking to him.

Once you have the net, select it from your inventory (X), hold it and press A to swing it. Most flying critters like butterflies and moths will be easy enough to catch. For wasps, you’ll want to shake trees until you find a nest, then quickly swing your net. Note that some bugs like hiding under rocks, so be sure to kick boulders once in a while.

Not sure which bugs are worth the most in New Horizons? Check here for a list of the most profitable bugs!

How do I get a house?

First, you will need to pay off your debt to Tom Nook. You owe him 5,000 miles for the getaway package, so get saving! Once you have paid off these loans, Tom will offer you the option to take out a new loan of 98,000 bells, for a house. If you choose to do this, your tent will be replaced by a house the next day.

How do I unlock the museum?

Donate 5 bugs or fish to Tom Nook, and he will call his friend Blathers, the museum curator. You will get to pick a location for his tent, where he can be found the next day. Donate 15 different creatures to Blathers, and a full-fledged museum will replace the tent the next day.

What should I do if I’ve been stung by wasps?

Go to Resident Services, the green tent on the main square. Inside you can buy medicine to patch you up. You can also try talking to other villagers to see if someone has a DIY recipe for medicine that they’re willing to share with you. You can also do… nothing. If you get stung again, you will pass out and wake up in your tent or home. Annoying, yes. But hey, you’re on vacation on a deserted island; you have plenty of time to hike back. Personally, I like running around with my face all swollen up. Something about living on the edge, I guess!


How do I get wood/hardwood/softwood?

Smack trees with an axe and wood will drop down. You obtain the DIY recipe for the Flimsy Axe by giving two bugs or fish to Tom Nook in the Resident center.

How do I get tree branches?

If you’ve used all the tree branches lying around for crafting (or if you’re like me, and you sold all your branches the first time you saw the shop), fear not. You can find more tree branches by simply shaking the trees around the island or hitting them with an axe.

How do I get iron nugget?

On your island you can find a few rocks. Hit them with an axe or shovel and if you’re lucky, an iron nugget will appear. If you’re even luckier, you might find a few Bells as well. Beware, some nasty bugs have made the underside of these boulders their home. Be prepared to catch them with a bug net.

Where do I craft?

You can craft at Tom Nook’s Workbench in the Resident Center, or you can craft your own workbench from 5 hardwood and 1 iron nugget.  (Yes, you will need to use a workbench to craft a workbench.)

How do I craft?

Walk up to a workbench (for example the one in the upper right corner of the Resident Center) and press A to start crafting.

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