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Animal Crossing New Horizons – Our Favorite 10 Tips (Learned by Experience)

Animal Crossing New Horizons is one of the most popular Switch video games ever, and after we had the chance to review it some months back, I can absolutely understand the reason. It’s so fun! My sons love it, and all my friends love it too, and during quarantine, while we were all asked to shelter in place, it exploded in popularity as we all found ourselves unable to venture out to work and normal activities, and needed to find something to occupy our worried minds and free time. Animal Crossing New Horizons fit the bill, not only entertaining and engaging millions, but giving us an outlet for creativity in a virtual world that let us design our perfect paradise, complete with residents of our choice, clothing we create ourselves, and more, and share it with friends online everywhere.

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For us, it started with my sons playing it and loving it, building up a dream dessert island getaway complete with a Residential Services building and private, full-sized museum with fish, bug, and dinosaur wings. They invited starter residents, learned the ropes, and invited me to join in. I stepped into a one star island that already had most of the hard work completed, so all I had to do was start building my own dream house, making friends, and adding to the amenities of our paradise island. It was a bit addictive, and within a couple of weeks, we sped up to a five star island, and along the way we learned some fun tricks to make Animal Crossing New Horizons both more fun, and more lucrative. I’m sharing my favorite finds below:
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How to hack Animal Crossings New Horizons

1. Visit mystery islands to store up supplies quickly and make lots of tools and DIY at once with the supplies. I tend to make about 10-20 of each tool (fishing rods, axes, shovels, etc) at a time with all the supplies I found at mystery islands, and store them in my storage. It earns bells for making tools, bells for storing a lot, and saves me time when I need to get more tools (and I’m not forced to buy them for a lot more money at Nook’s Cranny). I tend to leave my house each day with at least 2 fishing rods, two axes, and two of whatever tool I will be needing for that day’s work. If I’m visiting a mystery island, I make sure to bring at least the basics (in case I end up on bamboo island- I won’t have access to twigs there to make certain tools there so I prepare), clean out the island, bring everything home to sell, store, or make DIY furniture to gifts or sell for more. I hit all the islands I can for my current time and location, but still go when I need supplies and don’t want to waste my own island’s resources.

2. Earn lots of bells quickly Save up high value fish for C.J.’s visits, and high value bugs for Flick’s visits. I did this (saved for eight days until C.J. came for a return visit) and made almost 900,000 bells selling more expensive fish I had been catching and saving all week in my inventory. I just repeat to prepare for each visit, and in this way get 50% more for my bugs and fish and quickly repay my loans and fill up my bank account. I saved up my more high value insects for a little over two weeks (butterflies, wasps, etc) and sold them to Flick for over 740,000 bells. I’ve maxed out my house and am now just saving up money to buy some of those crazy expensive items for sale in Nook’s Cranny or at Mabel Sisters. My goal is the piano! (haven’t seen it yet)

3. Schmooze the Dodo to get a higher probability of a rare mystery island Once you get a lot of reactions, we discovered this combination works best: Greet Orville the Dodo, use the Bashful reaction with him, and finally applaud him with the Delight reaction until you get him to blush. If you use too many reactions on him (or anyone on the island), they start to become annoyed, so we never use more than three. If by the third he still has not blushed, we leave the airport, return and repeat. As a result, we get a more unique mystery island about 75% of the time (money rock island, an exotic fruit island, bamboo island) and a regular standard island about 25% of the time. We also noticed that by using reactions on both Orville and the pilot (before asking him to bring us back home- we don’t know who has the power, so we spread it around), we tend to get more treats on the islands than we used to as well, including fossils, messages in bottles, better furniture etc – all on the same mystery island. It used to be finding one of these on an island was a rare treat, now we tend to find them all.

animal crossing new horizons tips

4. Get lots of points with the Happy Home Academy with these basic tips:

🍃 Fill a room up with furniture and wall hangings, because points are given for each and you add points up quickly by having many furniture items and wall hangings placed. Try to match the walls and floors with the furniture if possible (for example, the cute furniture set pairs nicely with a cute wallpaper and cute flooring, and all of them come in red, white, blue, and yellow so you can match the furniture, walls, and floors by furniture series and color too). Use area rugs to get more points (get them from Saharah when she visits).

🍃 Every house needs to have seating (chairs, sofas), a bed, a wardrobe or closet to change, and a table. They ideally should be part of the same set if in the same room, but don’t all need to be in the same room. A room should not have both a toilet and an oven if you have more than one room (rooms should have dedicated uses), and every room does not need a bed, a wardrobe, etc- they just have to be somewhere in the house. If the bed is on one floor and the wardrobe on another, they should match the set of the room they are inside.

🍃 Display DIY furniture, try to match the set (ie shell furniture, or flower furniture, or ironwood furniture), and customize them to match colors too. Display all rare finds, such as prizes for challenges (fishing tournament, C.J. models, etc). Display all photos from villagers that you earned. Display all plaques and trophies from the HHA. ALL of these increase your home’s points by a lot.

🍃 Use Feng Shui to get more HHA points. Make sure you have space to walk around (don’t crowd furniture in a corner to fit a lot in- Feng Shui requires space for free-flowing movement), that furniture with a front and back does not face the wall, that there are no items on the floor (don’t “drop” items in your house, place them or display them), and use Feng Shui in the main room on the first floor (the room you walk into when you first enter your house) for extra points. On the right side of the room, display red items (on the wall or as furniture), on the left side display yellow items, and on the bottom (the wall that shares the front door) display green items. The first two “steps” in each direction are where the points are given, so the middle of the room doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t look like the rest of the rooms in the house do either. I achieved my S rating and gold trophy with a red sofa, wall clock, phone, and chair on the right side of the room. On the left I put yellow lamps and chairs, and on the bottom wall I hung and displayed multiple green plants. I did not feng shui the rest of the house for color. If you leave rotten turnips in your house or time travel a significant amount of time forward (a month or so), you may get roaches, which will lower your score by a lot, so be wary of that.

animal crossing new horizons help

5. Quickly inspire friendships with villagers This was a challenge because I learned as I went that many villagers do not like a lot of reactions (it especially annoys snooty villagers) or to be chatted up too much in one visit. I found my perfect sweet spot with this combination: Greet reaction, Chat, Joy or Delight reaction, Chat, Give a gift, end of interaction.

I give each villager a gift each day. It can be something small like a fruit, or something great like a piece of furniture, clothes, or flooring. The overall value doesn’t matter (you don’t get more points for giving something that is 20,000 bells vs 600 bells) but if you enjoy reciprocal gifts, the value should be greater than 200 bells. Otherwise they just thank you (your native fruit is low value, usually 100 bells, so doesn’t usually inspire villagers to reciprocate with a gift or bells).

If a villager asks for a favor, do it! If they are sick, bring them medicine. If you found a lost item, return it to the proper villager. After about 20-40 days, the villager usually rewards you with a photo of themselves. These are a great treasure, it shows you developed a real friendship with that villager and displaying them in your home increases the points value for Happy Home Academy. I’ve been playing just over 50 days and so far have five villager photos, and I think this is what helped me achieve my S rating and gold trophy from the HHA so quickly.

6. Force balloons to spawn New balloons can potentially come every five minutes, and come from one side of the island between 6am and 6pm, then switch to the other side starting at 6pm until 6am. My balloons always come from the right during the day, and starting at 6pm always come from the left. Since my home is near the left shore, to force a balloon to spawn I go into my house and come out on a :04 or :09 minute (6:44pm, 6:49pm, etc) and then head to the left of my island to wait for the balloon, which usually hits the shore by the :00 or :05 minutes. I use the minute leading up to the balloon hovering over the shore to find out where it will be (you can see the silhouette over the ocean as you run up and down) so I’m in place the the 0 and 5 minute marks. I do this to get a lot of elusive furniture pieces or DIY recipes in a row, and sometimes will find up to 30,000 bells (usually in yellow balloons) or a gold nugget inside of one.

7. Get hybrid plants for DIY recipes and for island beauty Mix a variety of flowers and colors of flowers in an X pattern leaving a space on either side of each plant and a space beyond two diagonals in a row, to create hybrids. We’ve created pink, purple, blue, and black flowers, and it’s not always clear why two roses will sometimes make pink roses and other times make black roses, but we did discover that a lone tulip next to other varieties of flowers can spawn more tulips in unique colors- it doesn’t require that the same flower genus exist next to each other.

In fact, mixing it up a lot helped to quickly grow very unique, inexplicable hybrids that don’t make sense based on the plans we read on line. We didn’t feel like planning out the flowers and colors, we just liked the beauty of them all mixed up, and we ended up with an island of rare hybrids anyway. I’m currently working on creating purple hyacinths for a DIY Hyacinth Lamp recipe (to complete my flower furniture set) and currently have only made blue and orange hyacinth hybrids.

This is what we did learn for sure: two red roses makes a black rose, and watering the black rose with a golden watering can (we received the DIY recipe for the Golden Watering Can from Isabelle once we realized- via a lone Lily of the Valley on a cliff on our island- we achieved 5 stars and went to talk to her) can create golden roses. Here is my current private garden, but note that my black roses are elsewhere, because I only water those with the golden watering can, and I water the rest of the island with a standard watering can. Once the black roses become golden roses, I bring them to my garden.

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8. Don’t waste time or nook miles visiting other islands just to find those elusive two fruit you can’t seem to get The game is designed that you have one native fruit, you can get a second from Mom if she mails you the fruit, and you find a third fruit on a sister island when you travel to other islands. You can also find coconuts on any of those islands on the beach to bring back to your island. If you buy turnips, you can also get bamboo shoots to plant from Daisy Mae in the mail the morning after you buy turnips from her on Sunday mornings (she sells them until 12pm every Sunday), or find them on Bamboo island while traveling. And that is it… unless you have a paid subscription (we don’t), you can’t get the remaining two fruit. You would need to travel to another player’s island to get them, which is only available via the paid Nintendo subscription. We have apples as our native fruit, planted coconuts from other islands and bamboo from another island, found orange to be our sister fruit (and I’ve landed on that island about 8 times already), and cherries were sent to us from Mom. We cannot get peaches or pears until we pay to upgrade. If you have a paid subscription account, connect with other players online (via MANY forums) to trade for missing fruit and grow them on your island and make the DIY recipes for those! Native fruit value are 100 bells, coconuts are 250 bells, and exotic fruit are 500 bells each.

9. Max out everything Buy as much as you can from Timmy and Tommy and the Abel Sisters so they move to the island and offer even more great stuff. Buy lots to fill up your item catalogs (you never know what you will need in the future, or what furniture set you will decide to start collecting, or what items would be great gifts for new villagers with different personalities). Max out your house and get all the rooms. Once you off your last mortgage, you can redesign your house daily for free (new roof, siding, mail box, etc) and the house designs are gorgeous! Save one of everything- one citrus long-horned beetle, one sea bass, etc because sometimes villagers will make random requests, and it’s easier to pull the item from your inventory to gift them for friendship points than it is to spend a long time trying to hunt the insect or fish down. Make a bunch of tools and supplies at once so when you plan to go on a fishing expedition, you can grab 40 fishing bait and 5 fishing rods and just go- it’s there waiting for you because you made a lot at once. It also gets you more Nook Miles when you make lots of tools and increase what is stored in your storage.

10. Summer Update and Fishing Tournament We just upgraded for the summer update (even though we are in the southern hemisphere on the game) and have been spending a lot of time in the ocean, and our first Fishing Tournament is this Saturday- so stay tuned for our hacks for the ocean and the fishing tournament (we will add it here and are already compiling them). So far:

🍃 Pascal the Otter visits us once a day in the ocean, once we catch our first scallop of the day. He gives DIY Mermaid recipes, pearls (to use to craft the DIY recipes), and Mermaid items (like a Mermaid Tiara). We can change accounts to each get something from him daily, but he has never visited us more than once a day each. We do sometimes find him randomly swimming outside the ocean net barrier, but we can’t interact with him.

🍃 Randomly diving can result in accidentally coming across a very fast under-the-sea creature that is hard to otherwise catch (because it’s so speedy) and we were able to catch a bunch of Venus Flower Baskets this way- they were heading our way and ran into us under the sea when we dove from the other direction.

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