Animal Crossing New Horizons - 10 Tips and Hidden Mechanics

There's a lot more to Animal Crossing New Horizons that meets the eye, and a lot of things aren't actually explained to you in game. They are discovered by experimentation, and by sharing your findings online. So today I wanted to go over some tips and tricks that might be common knowledge to some, but news to others. Starting with...

1: You Can Grow Palm Trees Almost Anywhere!

This is technically not "new" to the series, but New Horizons is the first time we can officially make use of this without "outside" tools.

To grow palm trees normally, all you have to do is plant them on the beach. That's it. I know this is pretty much known by every Animal Crossing player out there, but 11 year old me playing the GCN game for the first time had no idea. That being said, if you try planting them elsewhere in the town then they simply wont grow. The poor plant will sit there, and nothing will ever come of it. But there is now a way around this!

If you think about it, the solution is simple really. The one and only thing these trees need to grow is sand, and because of the new island creation tools in NH, we can put sand pretty much anywhere we want! All you need is a single square, and you are good to grow as many palm trees as you wish. Yep it's as easy as that! (But of course you need to unlock path building first.)

2: You Can Poop

This is a lot more well known than when the game first came out, but I figured I might as well cover this anyway. A new feature in NH is the ability to eat fruit and then use that energy to do things like move trees or break rocks. The problem is once you eat fruit you're pretty much stuck with that "energy point." So how do you get rid of it? The same way we do in real life. Simply find a toilet, sit on it for a bit, and then you are good to go! Yeah kinda didn't expect this, but hey, it makes sense!

3: Local Co-op Without Building Extra Houses

Another new feature added to NH is the ability to play local co-op. This means other users on your Switch can build a house on your island, and then both of you can play together at the same time. This works by using the Nook Phone App to request a resident, and then grabbing another controller for your friend to use. It's great for people with multiple family members who want to play the game along side you, but what about friends who simply want to try the game out? Well there is another solution.

To play local co-op you do need to set up another profile on your Switch, and you do need to have that new profile start a game on your island; however they do not have to fully complete the process. Upon picking how their character looks and arriving at the island, they are asked to then pick a location for their house. If you don't want them taking up space and actually living on your island, then just don't do this! The moment you're given control and allowed to place your tent, just save and quit the game. That resident is now a member of the island, but not fully. They won't take up extra space you may want to use for something else, and they can still be called with the Nook Phone for local co-op play. It's great for couch co-op with friends and others who are only visiting you for the time being.

4: Dig Holes Behind You When Hitting Rocks

An old trick from the GCN days. When hitting rocks in NH you'll either get materials to use, or you'll come across the money rock. The thing is once you hit a rock you only have a short span of time to continue hitting it, or else it'll stop producing new items. This is a bit of a problem because with each strike of your shovel you'll be pushed back a bit. Sure you can keep correcting yourself by getting closer, but this takes time and makes it nearly impossible to get the final hits in. So what do you do to get around this problem? Simple! Dig holes! If holes are behind your back you cannot be pushed backwards, thus making it easy to continue hitting the rock until all of the items have been claimed. Alternatively you can also build fences behind you, or possibly place other objects as well. Placing such items are a more permanent solution, but might not fit in with your island's design.

5: Look for Houses With Lights On

As it has always has been the case, if a house has the lights on, then it means the villager is home. Why does it matter in NH? Because there's a high chance that the villager is doing more than just staying in! Often villagers will return to their houses when they want to work on DIY projects, and if you talk to them while they are in the process of building something, they'll give you the recipe as well. This is a great way to stock up on projects, so don't forget to visit your neighbors every once in awhile.

6: Double Tap A to Craft

Every time you go to craft in NH you are greeted with a little animation of your villager putting materials together. It's not a long animation or anything, but it does take a few seconds at least. Well what if I said it didn't have to? By simply double tapping A you can put this animation on fast forward and get things done much quicker. With how much you craft in this game it actually ends up saving you a lot of time in the long run.

7: Broken Rocks Respawn Once a Day

Break a rock by mistake, or want to move a rock's location? No problem! Rocks respawn at a rate of one per day at a random location. This means you won't have to worry about missing out on resources (assuming you only break one a day), and you can clear up some areas if rocks spawn in an undesirable location. So go ahead, smash the ones you don't want for now, and don't worry about it if you broke some by mistake. They WILL come back. Oh, and in case you didn't know, you smash them by eating a fruit first. I'm sure many learned this the hard way though.

8: Buildings Placed Have a Set Size

This is something I've seen multiple people ask about. Do buildings ever change their size when they upgrade? For example, does adding extra rooms onto your house make it wider outside as well, and what about Nook's? Does upgrading your shop change it's external dimensions? The simple answer is no. Building sizes are set the moment you build them, and they will never get wider. While Nook's outside drop off box does move over slightly, this doesn't actually matter when it comes to the buildings placement. Flowers will not get deleted, nor will any other object sitting in front of it. So yeah, you're completely safe laying out your town now and letting upgrades happen naturally.

9: You Can Jump at Two Squares of Water

Want to quickly get across water ways without building bridges? Just make your river a bit narrower, or add a little bump out! As long as you have at most two tiles worth of water, then you can still jump the gap. This saves you money in the long run, and you can make some natural looking jump points without messing up the design of your town. It's useful in areas where you don't want to develop too much, or would like to just save on space (as bridges do require quite a lot of room to construct).

10: And Finally, Listen For that Star Sound!

Shockingly a lot of people I talk to have never seen a shooting star. Well, that's because you normally DON'T see them. Sure you could get lucky and be walking along a large open area with little to no trees blocking your view, but even then it's pretty hard to notice these things. Instead what you want to do is listen for that twinkling star sound. It's very quiet and hard to notice at first, but once you do you'll know what to be on the lookout for. At this point you just need to look up, and keep mashing A to wish upon each shooting star. They often come in groups, so keep waiting around awhile before you tilt the camera back down and go about your day.

And that's about it for now! Sure there are a lot of other tips and tricks I could cover here, but I wanted to get some of the basic/not so basic ones out of the way first. Now I'm sure many of you already know all of these, but for those of you who didn't, I hoped this little guide helped you out.
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