Animal Crossing: New Horizons may have outsold every other entry in the series and become the quarantine game du jour, but there’s always room for improvement. Because let’s face it, for every good design decision Nintendo makes, there are just as many questionable ones.
Take the Nook Phone, for instance. A new addition to the series, it guides users through several of the game’s new mechanics via apps for things like DIY crafting, emoting, and earning Nook Miles, New Horizons’ spin on an achievement system.
And while these are all welcome improvements to a gameplay loop that’s remained relatively static throughout Animal Crossing’s nearly 2o-year history, it still feels like Nintendo dropped the ball a bit. Though I didn’t even realize just how much missed potential there was with the Nook Phone until a Reddit user’s mock-ups of some much-needed apps went viral this week. Now I can’t go five minutes running around on my island without quietly pleading for Nintendo to include those features in the game.
Honestly, can someone explain to me why the Nook Phone doesn’t have a calendar app? It’s a small but appreciated quality-of-life update that seems like a no-brainer from a game design standpoint—it’d make villager birthdays easier to keep track of, serve as a reminder for when and how long holiday events are, etc. Another head-scratching decision: Since Tom Nook Inc. is the omnipotent capitalist force behind both your phone and your bank account, it really doesn’t make sense that you can’t tap into your bell stash or pay off your home loan via app.
Several others examples don’t seem particularly hard for Nintendo to implement either, such as adding an app to toggle audio and visual settings or a built-in timer so you don’t have to waste precious inventory space with the current store-bought option (I need that room to fit more scorpions and spider crabs, dammit).
Nintendo could stand to take a page from Fallout’s book as well and add a music station for players to bounce between their favorite ambient in-game tracks and tunes from K.K. Slider. Accessing weather forecasts and your mailbox from your Nook Phone would also be great conveniences to add. As would one for tracking your villagers and your island’s special visitors of the day. That’d save me so much time running around my entire island just because I had to give Merengue this adorable new shirt I bought for her.
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