Animal Crossing: New Horizons is no longer the game that launched all the way back in March 2020. There have been seasonal updates and additions since launch but none have been as big as Animal Crossing: New Horizons Update 2.0, which upgraded our island adventures in countless new ways. If you played for a few hundred hours last year and aren’t sure if you should return, here are some of the reasons you should definitely get back into Animal Crossing this winter. That is, if the return of the Froggy Chair alone doesn’t automatically convince you.
1. Farming and cooking
If pumpkin season taught us anything in Animal Crossing: New Horizons it was that growing our own produce was a satisfying joy. Step in five new different kinds of crops with the 2.0 update. You can now grow carrots, potatoes, sugarcane, tomatoes, and wheat. These are available to buy from Leif when he visits or at his stall on Harv’s Island and, in ture, open up dozens of new recipes. You can now craft these recipes at any cooker and either display them in all their beautifully realistic glory or eat them for extra energy. You can even turn wheat and sugarcane into flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar and brown sugar at any kitchen cooking item if your recipes demand it. This means that entire areas of your island can become dedicated to creating an agricultural paradise, complete with picket fences, and you can have even more specific dedicated outdoor eateries. Sushi anyone?
2. Brewster is back
That’s right. The most unassuming but ultra-talented pigeon barista of all time has arrived in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. You’ll find Brewster’s atmospheric coffee bar up the stairs and on the left in the museum. There’s a quick mission you’ll have to do first and the museum will close for a day but once Brewster’s set up, you can escape the freezing chill of winter and have a seat at the bar for a perfectly poured cup of joe. It’s only 200 bells a cup and, as ever, you’ve got the choice of drinking your coffee at peak temperature or waiting for it to cool a little. Of course, it’s delicious either way as you escape the hustle and bustle of your island. Random villagers and surprise guests will appear from time to time, you can call up guests via Amiibo cards, and, if you don’t want to hang around, you can always unlock the ability to grab a cup of coffee to go. Just be aware that it gives you super energy if you drink it out and about.
3. Harv’s Island is full of traders
Flying to Harv’s Island just used to be about heading to Photopia for staging some perfect Insta shots. This isn’t the case anymore, with a full co-operative of individual traders to unlock. You’ll have to pay 100,000 bells for each trader to open up but they’re all very much worth it in their own ways. Instead of waiting for Kicks, Leif, Redd, or Sahara to arrive on your island, they each have an individual stall here. This means it might actually be possible to fill your museum with priceless art without time travel and it’s a great way to see what Sahara has in stock without having to buy it first.
But we also have some key returning characters from previous games. Harriet has a selection of new hairstyles for you to try, Katrina the Fortune Teller is on hand to let you know your luck for the day, the lovely Tortimer is ready and waiting to give you access to your storage, and, potentially the most exciting of all, Cyrus and Reese are here too. For a fee, Cyrus will customize items in ways that sometimes can’t be achieved with customization kits.
4. New items galore
Playing a lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons prior to the update meant that after a while, you’d become used to seeing the same items appear in Nook’s Cranny. This just isn’t the case anymore with more than 9000 new items available to customize your island. These include entirely new ranges like the castle walls and gate, as well as returning furniture types like Cool and Ranch, and an entire range of vehicles such as tractors and yachts. And of course, the Froggy Chair has made his triumphant return too.
There has also been a serious overhaul of the home design tools. Even if you haven’t bought the Happy Home Paradise DLC for partitions, counters, and pillars, you’ll still get a serious amount of new home gear, including hanging lamps and shelves to really change the look of your home. Just beware that with so many new items, new crafting recipes, and 9 fresh types of fence recipe, you’re going to want to rip up your entire island and start again. Maybe it will feel cathartic…?
5. Kapp’n’s boat tours
If trips to Harv’s Island to go shopping weren’t enough, there’s now an entirely new way to tour the world of Animal Crossing. Every day for the price of 1000 Nook Miles, Kapp’n can take you to a mystery island. He’s docked at the pier on your home island and the good news is that he can take you to a location with a different season, complete with unique flora and fauna. This even means you can catch some vital maple leaves for Fall recipes or Cherry Blossom Petals for spring crafting. It’s an ideal way to escape the chilly snowy vista of your own island in winter and a great way to catch any rogue fish or bugs that are still missing from your museum collection. There’s even a recipe bottle on the beach to find for a bonus craftable.
There are also special versions of these mystery islands, with star fragments hidden in rocks, islands made exclusively of money rocks, and those packed with vines and glowing moss, the two new crafting ingredients that came with Animal Crossing: New Horizons version 2.0 which come with their own recipes. Kapp’n’s islands are also the best place to find Gyroid fragments that you can bury on your island to create a suite of the strange little noisy critters. And hey, if all of that wasn’t enough, Kapp’n serenades you on the boat en route and the way back but you can always skip it by mashing the B button.
6. Quality of life upgrades
And finally, it’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to the general quality of life upgrades that arrived with the update. If you were sick of heading back to your house every time you needed crafting materials or a specific item, you can now craft infinite storage sheds for speedy access wherever you like, and you can now vastly upgrade your home storage to a massive 5000 items. There are also now a total of 200 design slots across standard and pro designs if you struggled with the amount of choice in the online design portal, and there are now even ordinances to personalize your island. You can only have one enacted at any one time but if you were sick of the shops not being open early or late enough, you can opt for an Early Bird or Night Owl ordinance to let Animal Crossing fit your lifestyle rather than the other way around. There’s also a Pro camera addition that lets you take selfies with your villagers and add new interesting filters. Add in more reactions and the ability for villagers to come and visit while you’re at home and New Horizons has never felt better.