Animal Crossing: New Horizons released yesterday, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll have been spending hours exploring your island already. Or, you know, plastering your island with memes. Whether it’s your first foray into the Animal Crossing series or you’ve been around since the GameCube days, there’s a lot of new things to learn and experience in New Horizons. So if you’re just getting started (or even if you’re a couple of days in!), we’ve got some great tips and tricks to make the first week on your island a breeze.
1.) Prioritize those Nook Miles
While you’ll practically be swimming in Nook Miles by the end of your first day with New Horizons, it’s worth prioritizing what you purchase with them. We strongly recommend you use your first bundle of Nook Miles on the tool ring, pocket organizer, and tool improvements. Don’t worry about purchasing Nook Miles Tickets until your second or third day. They’re not worth the cost until you at least have your pole vault crafted. Plus, Tom Nook will gift you your first one for free!
You can spend your Nook Miles at the machine located inside the Resident Services tent.
2.) Pay off that first loan
Another thing you’ll want to prioritize your Nook Miles for is paying off your first loan. In New Horizons, you’ll need 5,000 Nook Miles to make the first loan payment, and it’s worth getting that out the way before anything else. You’ll wake up the next day with a house instead of a tent and with it 80 slots of storage. Incredibly useful if you’re already stockpiling resources and furniture!
3.) Save your iron nuggets
It can be tempting to want to upgrade your flimsy tools as soon as possible. They break easily, and it can be a pain to run back and forth to craft new ones. However, we recommend saving your iron nuggets until after Timmy asks you to gather resources to build the shop. You’ll need 30 of the things, and in the first few days of New Horizons, they can be in very limited supply.
To get iron nuggets, you’ll need to hit rocks with a shovel or ax. Rocks give out resources like stone, clay, and those all-important nuggets. You can get up to 8 resources from every rock, but you need to be quick. To make things easier, you can dig a couple of holes behind you, so you don’t get knocked back too far.
4.) Donate your bugs and fish ASAP
We know, it can be enticing to sell that gigantic sturgeon you just wrestled from the sea for big bells. But hold your horses! In order to get the pole vault (and explore more of your island), you’ll first need to take steps to open the museum. You need to donate five bugs and/or fish to Tom Nook to get Blathers to visit. After that, he’ll request a further 15 donations to get his museum up and running. Once you’ve donated those 15, he’ll give you the recipes for a shovel and that oh-so-sweet pole vault.
While the Critterpedia is useful for knowing if you’ve donated something, it’s much easier just to donate as soon as you catch something for the first time. After all, who knows when you’ll get lucky enough to get another wasp?
You’ll know it’s the first time you’ve caught a critter when your character says ‘Yes!’ after catching one. Don’t forget; you can also make use of the new exterior decorating mechanic by placing your fish and bugs outside the museum, ready to donate. Placing exterior items gives you some Nook Miles, too!
5.) Perfect the art of bug and fish catching
If you’re new to the Animal Crossing series, capturing some of the rarer fish and bugs can be a frustrating challenge. But fear not, as there are a few easy methods you can learn to perfect your net and rod skills in no time!
For bugs, you can hold the ‘A’ button to ready your net and sneak up on creatures. Bugs are more prone to scaring off if you approach them too quickly, but holding the ‘A’ button will slow down your movement. It also makes it much easier to position yourself, helpful with insects you find on flowers and those deadly tarantulas.
For fish, you might want to try closing your eyes. Hear us out! Going by sound rather than their movement can actually make it far easier to catch fish. They make a distinct sound when they bite. It’s a method many Animal Crossing veterans swear by to capture irritatingly difficult fish such as sharks, but it works for all sea creatures! It can help you be a little less trigger happy on that fishing rod. Fish will only approach your rod a maximum of five times. That means if they’ve teased four times, they’re guaranteed to bite on the fifth.
Also, be aware of running too close by both bugs and fish. Simply walking near some bugs will cause them to scuttle off, but running near bodies of water will cause fish to flee instantly.
6.) Get together with some friends
On your second day of island living, the airport will open. You’ll be able to visit other friends’ islands and invite them to your own. Make good use of this, though be courteous and considerate when on your friends’ islands. Most of your friends will have different items stocked in their Resident Services/Nook’s Cranny stores, making it useful if they’re stocking something that tickles your fancy. There’s also a chance they’ll have obtained some DIY recipes you don’t have – you can all pile in your resources and craft each other furniture you don’t yet have access to!
If they have a different native fruit to yours, ask if they’ll give you a few. Any fruit not native to your island (for example, if they have oranges and you have peaches) will net you 500 bells per fruit, in comparison to 100 bells for your native fruit. You’ll also gain some handy Nook Miles for hosting and visiting islands. It’s a win-win!
A few more quick tips and tricks to make your first week (and beyond) easier
- You can mash the ‘A’ button when crafting to speed things up a little – handy for when you’re crafting multiple items!
- If you’re going to shake a tree, have your net equipped. If a wasp nest drops, you’ll have a much better chance of catching the pesky critters.
- Plant any non-native fruit you find – you’ll get 1500 bells every time the tree bears fruit.
- Keep weeds in stacks of 20 and shells in stacks of 10 to quickly clear Nook Mile+ goals.
- Leave one or two pieces of wood next to trees, so you remember which ones you’ve axed that day and save on tool durability.
- Shovel broken or want to save on tool durability? Press the ‘Y’ button to use your foot to cover up holes you’ve dug.
We hope these tips and tricks will help you during the first week of your desert island getaway in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? If you’ve got any tips to share, make sure to drop them in the comments! Don’t have the game yet? Read why we think games like these are so important right now.