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Starting the game for the first time[edit]

The starting screen.

Filling up the passport[edit]

When the game boots up, you will be greeted by Timmy and Tommy at the Nook Inc. reception. Before moving into the deserted island, you will have to make your passport.


You can not change this later!
Using the Neutral control left stick, choose the letter using the A button button. Space can be made using the Y button button and a character can be deleted using the B button button. Confirm your name using the Plus button button.


You can not change this later!
This information will be available to the other players when using the online play. You will be able to celebrate your birthday and receive gifts. Celebrating your birthday in-game is one of the Nook Miles goals.
Moving the left stick Up control up and Down control down, you can choose the correct day and number. You can move to the next column by moving the left stick Right control right. Confirm your birthday using the Plus button button.

The character creation

Character creation[edit]

You can change your appearance later!
First, you will be asked if your style is boyish or girlish. Whatever you choose, you will still be able to wear everything (dresses, trousers).
You will be able to choose the skin tone, haircut, eyes, mouth and blush.
Choose your favourite option using the Neutral control left stick, accept it using the A button button. To choose a different category, use the L button button or R button button.
After your character is created, you will choose an island.

Choosing the island[edit]


New Horizons is the first entry in the series that accounts for Northern and Southern hemispheres. You can either choose the hemisphere that you live in, according to your Switch account information, or choose the other one.
The differences are in seasons and seasonal bugs, fish and DIYs.

The four island layouts


You will be presented with a choice of 4 different islands.
There are no advantages or disadvantages to any island, they're all the same size, have the same flora and fauna. Choose one you like the most!
Keep in mind that you won't be able to move the plaza and airport, marked on the map as with a leaf icon and gray pier respectively. You won't also be able to travel across rivers and climb cliffs early in the game.

What will you bring to the deserted island?[edit]

Tommy will present you this question for fun. You're given the choices of:

  • A sleeping bag.
  • A lamp.
  • Some food.
  • Something to kill time.

The answer does not affect the gameplay in any known way.
Now you're ready to fly to your island!

The arrival[edit]

You won't be alone when you arrive to the deserted island - you will be accompanied by two animals, who will have the sisterly and jock personalities.

Setting up the tents[edit]

  • Follow Timmy and Tommy to the plaza
  • Talk to Tom Nook
Tom Nook will greet everyone and will recommend setting up a place - Nook Inc. will provide everyone with the tent.
Tent is set up.
  • Get a tent from Timmy or Tommy
Talk to one of the racoon kids to get tent. After that, you're free to build your tent anywhere you want. Explore the island and choose the best spot for you.
To build the tent, open your inventory using the X button button, choose the tent using the A button button and choose Build here. The tent's blueprint will be shown on the ground before your character. The game will offer you three options next:
  • Let me imagine it...
This will show you how the place will look like when the tent is built - if there are any trees blocking the tent, they will disappear.
  • This is the spot!
This will build the tent immediately.
  • I need to rethink it.
This will let you cancel the building.
  • Go back to Tom Nook
He'll mention that you're the first one who has their tent set up and asks you to help the other residents out.
  • Find the other villagers and help them build their tents
Find the villagers. They will tell you they can't choose the right spot and will ask for help. You will again have to choose from three options:
  • Looks good to me!
This will make the villager build the tent at that exact place.
  • I'll find you a spot!
This way you can choose the spot for them
  • Maybe reconsider?
This will cancel the conversation.
Do this for both of the villagers!
  • Talk to Tom Nook, again

Party time![edit]

Tom Nook will recommend holding a party. He will task you and all the other villagers with different tasks. You have to find something to start a bonfire.

  • Collect 10 tree branches
You can find tree branches under trees, or you can shake them off the trees by pressing the A button button. Collect the tree branches from ground by pressing the Y button button.
  • Give them to Tom Nook and collect 6 pieces of fruit
There are five possible fruit trees in Animal Crossing - apple, cherry, orange, peach, pear. Your island will have one of them as a native fruit while the rest you'll have to get some other way.
A toast to the new name.
Collect 6 pieces of your island's native fruit by shaking them off the fruit trees.
  • Go back to Tom Nook and the party will start.
The sun will go down and it will become the evening. Tom Nook will realize that the deserted island is no longer deserted and will probably need a new name. Everyone is asked to suggest a name. Your suggestion will be considered the best one and will be chosen.
Be careful! You can not change this later.
After that, you will be elected as the resident representative and will be asked to say something. This choice doesn't affect anything.

Take a rest[edit]

Once the celebration is over, if you no longer wish to explore the island, go to Tom Nook. He will give you a camping cot and will mention that he has already given you some other items and that they are in your tent.

  • Go to your tent and unpack
Press the A button button when facing a box and it will open. There is a lamp and a stereo in the two boxes. The A button button will allow you to interact with these items.
Set up the camping cot - open your inventory and while on the item, choose Place here.
  • Rest
"Walk" into the camping cot. You will be presented with a few options, choose Rest.

Your character will dream about K.K. Slider. He will give you some advice, talk about his own life experience, he will mention that now the game time syncs with real time based on your Switch console settings.

A new phone, a new bill[edit]

Tom Nook will wake you up. He will give you NookPhone, an essensial device in the game. You will be asked if you have ever used a smart phone - if not, Tom Nook will tell you how to use it.
Along with your new phone, you will receive a bill! The plane, accomondation, work, taxes all come to 49,800 Bells. However, Tom Nook will offer you a Nook Mileage Program instead - using this program translates the bill to 5,000 Miles.
Now you're free to do anything you want!

Saving the game[edit]

This game has an autosave feature, so you don't have to be afraid of losing your progress. To save the game when you want to quit, press the Minus button button. Saving the game will take you back to the main title screen.
The save data is stored on the Switch itself. You can not move to another Switch and still use your old character/island.

Additional residents[edit]

To have another resident, you have to start the game from a different Switch account. The game starts up the same as when creating the resident representative character. However, no island orientation or celebration will take place. Instead, Tom Nook will explain everything, give the player a tent and a camping cot and they're free to place the tent anywhere. This player will also receive NookPhone and the bill.
When the second character is created, both players will receive a new app on their phone - Call Islander which enables Party Play.
One island can host 4 playable residents in addition to the 10 nonplayable villagers.


You can open the settings menu after your character has been created. On the title screen, press the Minus button button. Tom Nook will help you with all those important settings.

  • Save data settings.
Use this if you want to delete your character.
  • NookLink settings.
NookLink is a game-specific service for the Nintendo Switch Online app. It is used to get QR codes made in the previous games (New Leaf and Happy Home Designer) into this game. It also provides a keyboard to use for online play and information about your best friends. You can allow NookLink here.
  • Nothing right now.
Will return to the title screen.