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"Thank you for choosing the Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package. This is one trip that we here at Nook Inc. can recommend with confidence. Your destination is a peaceful island, where it's the little things that count..."
Nook Inc.
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Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Atsumare Dōbutsu no Mori) is the fifth installment of Nintendo's Animal Crossing series, released on March 20, 2020. After skipping over the Wii Unote , this installment for Nintendo Switch returns the mainline Animal Crossing games to home consoles.

While containing all the rural life sim elements of its predecessors, this game shifts focus from the "moving into a new town" concept, and instead brings players to a newly-settled deserted island. As players explore and gather resources to build tools and furniture, they slowly develop the island into the small town setting the series is known for, eventually even gaining the ability to shape the land as they see fit. This is also the first Animal Crossing game to receive continuous free content updates that add new features and events (The Welcome amiibo expansion was the only update New Leaf ever had in the west), akin to the post-launch support past Nintendo titles such as the Splatoon series featured.

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The "Happy Home Paradise" add-on was released on November 5, 2021, introducing gameplay from Happy Home Designer. This set of paid DLC sees your character assisting the Paradise Planning resort in building and customizing the dream houses of their clients. It also introduces several new features such as the ability to add pillars to housing interiors, new types of counter-tops, creating buildings such as schools and restaurants, and inviting the villagers present on your island to the resort archipelago. It's also considered a key part of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack and its increased price point there, as this DLC is worth $24.99 on its own, but is considered "free" with the yearly expansion pack online subscription worth an extra $30 for one user to upgrade to it (with the extra $5 tacked on being used for playing Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64 games on the Switch as well).

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons provides examples of:

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  • 20 Bear Asses:
    • Some of the Miles+ rewards require you to go collect a number of either wood, fruit, fish or bugs. Likewise, one of the tasks Tom Nook hands out to you on the first day requires you to go out and collect 10 tree branches.
    • Opening Nook's Cranny requires the player to collect 30 of each type of wood and 30 iron nuggets, which will involve breaking multiple tools, and if you want to complete the quest in one day, visiting several Mystery Islands. It's considered one of the grind-iest parts of the game's required progression.
    • In Happy Home Paradise, unlocking different types of counters and pillars requires delivering a number of DIY materials to Niko's material box.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Some NPCs carry this on from previous games; once Nook's Cranny is open, the Nooklings discard their aloha shirts in favor of their traditional aprons, and Blathers is nude but for a bowtie as usual. However, there are fewer examples of this trope than in previous games, now that sheep villagers wear tops instead of only scarves, and the Nooklings change to a different uniform when Nook's Cranny is upgraded.
  • Achievement Mockery: You can earn Nook Miles for some dubious "accomplishments" like shooting a balloon over a water source and losing the present to the depths, trying to donate a piece of fake artwork (whenever it be from Redd or one of your villagers), or getting knocked out by a swarm of wasps or a scorpion/tarantula. Of course, most of them only reward you once. The in game text clarifies that Tom is awarding you these miles to make you feel less terrible about it.
  • Achievement System: Nook Miles serves as this game's achievement system. By completing various tasks you can earn miles and spend them to unlock new features or get special items. After paying off your first loan, you unlock Nook Miles+, which serves up an endless rotating list of smaller milestones.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Aside from the usual home upgrade costs piling up and rapidly increasing with each tier, you're allowed to pay off your initial travel and accommodation fees using Nook Miles. Every bill after that one has to be paid in Bells, because the first time was just a freebie.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: When Blathers provides an explanation for the orchid mantis, he refers to it as a "fraudulent flower" capable of "masterful mimicry".
  • A.I. Breaker: Only one tarantula/scorpion can be actively chasing the player at a time, so if one lands on the "infinite tarantula/scorpion island", trapping a single active arachnid behind some holes makes catching the rest of the population a breeze.
  • Alertness Blink: Tom and Isabelle do this when you sit at their counter in the upgraded Resident Services building.
  • All or Nothing: During winter, once snowfall hits a player's town, Snowboys can be built. Aside from the first day, every Snowboy built will only reward the player with a DIY from the Frozen series and large snowflakes over the course of four days if they are built perfectly. Any other result (even "So close!") and they will chew you out for their imperfect build and simply become dead weight until they eventually melt.
  • All There in the Manual: The planner journal bundled with the game at US Target stores reveals birthdays for all the non-villager NPCs, which don't appear in the game itself.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Those fruit-themed electronics may seem really stretched out, especially the (juicy-)apple TV, which looks like it's just a bad jab at the Apple TV. Except not only has that TV has been in the Animal Crossing series since the first game, which came out over five years before Apple's product, those TVs are real and are being made by a Chinese company called Hannspree for over a decade now, and they also predate Apple's media box by several years.
  • Always Female: Fashion type villagers are always female villagers, and of the four female villager types they're most likely to be Snooty or Peppy villagers. This was averted in the 2.0 update, where a male lazy villager named Sasha was introduced with this hobby.
  • Always Male: As it currently stands in the game, only male villagers will mail the player art, with the medium and authenticity depending on their personality type. Lazy and jock villagers can send any piece of artwork, real or fake, cranky villagers can specifically send any statue, real or fakenote , and smug villagers can only send forged artwork.
  • Anachronistic Clue: A rather obvious clue that a "Robust Statue" is a forgery is that it's wearing a wristwatch.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: When you give your villagers gifts, complete tasks for them, or if they want to trade items, the most common reward from them will be clothing and other accessories.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Has its own page.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Like in past games, at nighttime villagers go to sleep and stores close up, except for the museum and Resident Services, which are open 24/7 (sometimes a villager or two will also be up late). In this game in particular, this also means you can't use the Custom Design Portal, since it's inside the Able Sisters' shop which is only open from 9 AM to 9 PM, so any designs you want to upload or downloadnote  will have to wait. Finally, arachnids (tarantulas or scorpions, depending on the season) will spawn on the island between 7 PM and 4 AM, further discouraging late-night play unless the player has the know-how to catch them and make bank.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Downplayed as they are less so than in the previous games. While villagers still do the bare minimum to contribute to the betterment of their homes, they donate more to public projects depending on how their friendship level is with the player and will thank the player for doing various things in order to make their home better such as building fences, cliffs and rivers. They will also comment on outdoor furniture and express their approval or disapproval of where it is placed. Villagers can also occasionally be seen sweeping various areas of the island such as the plaza or the area in front of their houses. They also seem to crowd around and watch the player when they are moving furniture or terraforming, though this can be quite annoying as it is likely they will get in the way.
  • Art Evolution: This game utilizes the expected potential of HD graphics for visual upgrades, but the aesthetic of the game's furniture, decor, and clothing also trends more plausible and refined, based more on the real world. For example, most of the classic pieces that do return are altered to look less simple and poppy, and the furniture in general looks more like pieces that could be found in a real furniture catalogue or on a fantasy film set due to more restrained or more detailed designs. The museum is also massively upgraded to feel more like a real museum's intricately designed spaces. The all-new cast of gyroids also takes advantage of the game's greater memory and graphical capabilities by featuring unique models that can break more from the fire-hydrant template and push their concepts further, rather than being based on minimal variations of the same model distinguished mostly by textures and animation.
  • The Artifact:
    • New Horizons adds frequent autosaving, making it easy to shut the game off from the Switch's home menu without losing progress. However, it maintains the option to save and quit manually, for players who are used to the save system of previous games.
    • A humorous example with fridges and freezers. In the previous games, they were used in an already humorous manner to access your item storage, the same way you'd use dressers and drawers. Here, storage is reworked to be accessed anytime with a press of a button while you're in your home, while dressers and drawers are now used to change clothes. Freezers and fridges retain the shared functionality with the aforementioned items... so you can use them to change your clothes as well.
    • During the week leading up to the Fishing Tourney and Bug Off and on the events proper, villagers of certain personalities will make boastful comments on how they're going to win or not lose the event. This would fit... had New Horizons kept the format from previous games, where it was a direct competition. Here, you earn prizes based on how many individual specimens you've caught.
    • An in-game version: Lottie and Harriet's posters and photos feature them in their outfits from New Leaf, due to not being in the game when these items were available. When they were added to the 2.0 update, their posters and photos weren't updated to their new 2.0 outfits.
  • Artifact Title: The yearly holiday events still occur on their designated dates (including the appearance of their respective holiday guests), but will give players weeks or months worth of "prep" where most of the holiday's seasonal items can be obtained (either from crafting them or buying them from Nook's Cranny). For example, Bunny Day gives players a week to collect eggs and egg-themed DIYs, Halloween and Toy Day start offering collectible DIY recipes and purchasable holiday items long before the actual holiday, and Festivale items will go on sale weeks before the event is held.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Animals can do a lot of things while outside, like working out, singing, waving to each other, or just running around. On event days (Fishing Tourney, Bug-Off), many of them will also behave as if they are participating in the event.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Another carry on from previous entries, the animals sometimes aren't the brightest bulbs. Animals will sometimes plop down in random places and obstruct the player's path. They may also get stuck walking repeatedly into a wall or a furniture item placed outside. They also appear to have short attention spans and get distracted while doing things. Furthermore, when placing gifts from the player in their house, they often make questionable decisions in item placement (such as placing a table mirror with its reflective side facing a wall).
    • Bugs, most of which also need to navigate your customized island, often have similar struggles, frequently getting stuck against walls or between objects, or falling into rivers and drowning. Frustratingly, the rare and valuable tarantulas and scorpions are particularly good at offing themselves, mainly because they move so quickly and erratically.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Some insects will appear even in the cold bitter snow during the winter months, including the exclusive damselfly and dung beetle, despite them not withstanding the cold in real life. This is most likely to give the player at least a few bugs to catch during these times.
    • Sea slugs are classified as sea creatures while snails are classified as bugs. Blathers will react favorably to the slugs but react with revulsion to the snails, despite both being mollusks, not insects or even arthropods.
  • Artistic License – Economics: Lampshaded example. Timmy and Tommy will buy almost anything the player can present to them, even just weeds picked from outside, or literal garbage. Tom Nook will note how it's not a very good business practice, but it's justified because they need a way to get an economy rolling on a deserted island, and they're just little kids anyway.note  Handwaved for weeds specifically, as the in-game explanation is that you're being compensated for clearing the island of unsightly weeds, not that they're overtly paying for the weeds themselves.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The game's more accurate than previous installments, but it still has its flaws:
    • The evolutionary trail in the fossil wing of the museum is mostly correct, but does have a few mistakes, some more jarring than others:
      • The ancestral trail has pterosaurs as a sister branch from ornithoscelidan dinosaurs while the sauropods are even further from the ornithoscelidans, as if they suggesting either pterosaurs are dinosaurs or only the ornithoscelidians are true dinosaurs. It gets jarring in that Blathers correctly describes Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus as dinosaurs, unlike Pteranodon and Quetzalcoatlus.
      • The trail in the first room shows Anomalocaris and trilobites diverging from modern arthropods at the same point as ammonites (which are mollusks). However, the former two are more closely related to arthropods.note 
      • The trail shows sponges (Porifera) as having diverged from other animals after jellyfish (Cnidaria), when the reverse is true.
      • Megacerops is placed as the sister group to modern rhinos. However, despite looking like a rhino, it was actually more closely related to horses. This one is fairly understandable, as correctly placing it closer to horses would probably just confuse players more than anything, and rhinos and horses are fairly closely related in the first place, so the mistake is pretty minor.
      • Placoderms, represented by Dunkleosteus, are shown as the sister group to sharks (and presumably the cartilaginous fish as a whole). While this was the consensus decades ago, modern research indicated that placoderms are more basal than cartilaginous fish, the latter being the sister group to the bony vertebrates instead.
      • Fairly minor, but plants and fungi are shown as having diverged from animals at the same time, when in truth fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants.
    • The plesiosaur is identified as Plesiosaurus, but it's evidently an elasmosaurid due to its very long neck. Odd that they didn't replace it like how they replaced Ichthyosaurus with Ophthalmosaurus.
    • The Ankylosaurus is depicted with osteoderms too spiky, particularly the two high scutes on the shoulders which is actually known in Euoplocephalus.
    • While Blathers correctly states that Dimetrodon is not a dinosaur, he still makes the mistake of calling it a reptile when it was actually a synapsid. This is despite it being accurately displayed alongside the mammal Juramaia in the museum itself, with even the International Museum Day stamp stand calling them both synapsids.
    • Blathers describes Deinonychus as seven feet tall, when it was actually four feet tall. This is likely a conflation of Utahraptor with Deinonychus, which was the same mistake made in Jurassic Park. At least he made the distinction that Velociraptor was a much smaller, 2 foot tall creature compared to its pop culture image, also due to Jurassic Park.note 
  • Ascended Glitch: In the base game, taking a screenshot right as the Camera app is booting up will result in the UI display not showing up, which players utilized to great effect to create their own skits and movies. This glitch was patched out in Patch 1.3.0, much to the dismay of players, only for it to be reintroduced in Patch 1.4.0 as an actual mechanic, allowing players to toggle the Camera's display on or off at will with the R stick.
  • Automatic New Game: Start up New Horizons for the first time and you're instantly taken to an airport terminal, where Timmy and Tommy prepare you for your getaway. The game's logo doesn't come up until the plane arrives at the island you've chosen, and even then it appears at the bottom right corner of the screen, not front and center as in a traditional title screen.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most golden variants of tools have no additional effects in this game besides having 2 or 3 times the standard durability, and they cannot be repaired through customization. For most purposes, using a gold nugget to make one isn't really worth it, except to show it off as a trophy (especially for the fishing rod and net, which require you to catch every single fish and bug, respectively), or just to fulfill the milestone for obtaining them. The only tool whose functionality is affected by its "rank" is the watering can; just as the iron can waters a larger area than the flimsy can, the golden can waters a 3x3 area versus the iron's 3x2. It can also create golden roses, although these are children of black roses instead of transformed black roses like in previous games.
  • Banging Pots and Pans: Peppy villagers may talk about using their kitchenware as drums after watching a cooking show.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Wearing a workout top or a tube top (or gifting one to a villager) has the character's lower stomach showing.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: Compared to previous games, this one has much more dialogue poking fun at mechanics that have become series-standard by now, such as We Buy Anything (Tom Nook notes it's not a sound practice, but it's necessary on a deserted island without an economy), Tom Nook's unorthodox moneylanding practices (he references his zero-interest loans and his "extremely lax" payment plan that gives you infinite time to pay your loans off), villager homes coming fully-furnished (this time, you have to provide the furnishing), and the Super-Deformed proportions (Gulliver thanks you by saying "your heart must be as big as your head!"). Lazy villagers even occasionally lean on the fourth wall by expressing their fear that the island is just a game, and point out the "pretty music" playing everywhere, in addition to the Fridge Logic invoked by Nook's business plan.
    Lazy villager: (imitating Tom Nook) Yeah, I'll buy your seashells so you can give me back my own money to pay off a house I'm selling to you!
  • Bewitched Amphibians: When you have Blathers talk about frogs, he goes off on how they communicate with each other through their croaking, referencing the common story beat of them being transformed royalty.
    Ribbit! My prince has arrived!
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • Since your house plot is a fixed size, all the room extensions that gets added on makes your home comically more spacious than what the exterior implies.
    • It's nothing new that the museum in the series tends to be bigger on the inside. However, the exterior usually has some slight girth to its appearance. Here, the museum looks like a single story building from the outside, but then the inside is very, very massive. To say that it's spacious is an understatement.
    • Can be taken to the extreme with Happy Home Paradise. You can set the exterior of a house to be a standard 4x3 one-floor house... and then set its interior to be two 10x10 floors.
  • Big "WHAT?!": If a villager hears something shocking or offensive, they may respond with one of these. If it's offensive, it will usually follow with a chewing out of the offender.
    YOU WHAT?!
  • Big Word Shout: Villagers tend to do this a lot especially when they’re shocked.
    • Peppy villagers don't take finding out they had fleas well.
      GRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOODYYYY!
    • Cranky villagers after seeing your face after you’ve been stung by wasps.
      M-M-MONSTER!
    • Jock villagers may also suddenly shout a word at the player, then claim it helps to work out their abs.
  • Black Comedy Burst: Some possible villager dialogue leans into this. For example, peppy villagers will mention how no one can hear you screaming from a basement before correcting themselves and saying they meant "singing", and lazy villagers during a birthday party may mention how a birthday clown once entered their home and got trapped in the walls. Or when a new villager moves in, one possible reason a current one wants to move out is "all of the night clowns." Lazy villagers can also occasionally remark about their enjoyment of internal combustion engines before voice-acting reckless driving... right before they state that they're not allowed to drive cars anymore.
    "Mom says they still hear honking noises in the walls sometimes."
  • Bluff Worked Too Well: Tom Nook advertised your island as having "fully-furnished homes", which, being a totally deserted island, it obviously does not have. You end up having to help him build and furnish the houses before the new residents arrive.
  • Blunt "No": In one possible conversation between a Smug and Snooty villagers, The Smug villager wants to put on a play and was thinking to put the other in the role as the princess, then asks the player what role he should play. If the player choses "The prince!", The Smug villager has a gender-inverted idea of Sleeping Beauty where the princess (Snooty) has to wake up the prince (him; Smug) "with a kiss. *beat* On the lips." The Snooty Villager's only reaction to that idea is simply a blunt no. The short statement in the otherwise very wordy dialogue boxes along with the series' No Hugging, No Kissing rule just makes it all the more funny.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Simple DIY Workbench isn't the prettiest-looking one, as it's just a tree stump with some tools on top, but it gives you full access to your crafting recipes and customization like all other workbench variants.
    • Gifting pumpkins to your villager on a daily basis is an effective way of raising their friendship quickly without altering their home interiors as they're considered a non-native fruit which will always prompt villagers to give you something in return unlike native fruit which doesn't raise their friendship by much and won't get you a gift in return. Also, non-native fruits take three days to appear and are worth 500 bells whereas pumpkins take two days to appear and are worth 350 bells.
    • A good use of customization kits is for reinforcing your tools, as customizing a tool that supports it renews its durability. This can cut down on having to gather the materials to make a new one if you don't buy them from Nook's Cranny.
    • Selling fruits and other produce isn't as flashy as selling turnips at jackpot prices, but it's a reliable and consistent way to generate Bells, since non-turnip produce never expire and have fixed prices.
  • Bowdlerization:
    • While the aviation lingo used by Orville and Wilbur is mostly accurate, the word for W replaces "Whiskey" with "Whisker" (which may also count as Hold Your Hippogriffs given the animal-themed world).
    • The Raccoon Figurine is based on a traditional statuary depiction of the tanuki, but unlike the real world equivalent has its genitals replaced with a smooth, round, featureless area. This is in sharp contrast to the in-game depictions of artwork which can be donated to the museum, which are not censored in any way. (The latter at least has an in-game reason for not censoring, as any censorship of artwork that could be donated to the museum might have been taken as a sign that it was a Redd-made forgery, and thus confused the players when it actually wasn't.)
    • In Blathers' description, he translates the vampire squid's scientific name of Vampyroteuthis infernalis as "vampire squid from heck".
    • In the European English version of the game, the "sparkling cider" item is instead referred to as "fizzy apple juice", because cider is usually an alcoholic drink outside the United States.
  • Brand X:
    • One version of the "board game" item looks a lot like Settlers of Catan with its hex-grid and picture-with-accompanying-text cards; it's referred to as the "territory game" variant in the Nook Shopping catalog.
    • The title screen on the "arcade fighting machine" uses a yellow-red gradient and "swooshing" lines on the letters for "Fight Town", reminiscent of the word art for the Street Fighter series titles but with the gradient reversed. Interacting with it produces either a "hit" noise or a squeaky sounding "e-doo-ken".
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When talking about pizza, Lazy villagers might mention how hating pineapple on pizza is just a trend "like being afraid of clowns or grossed out by the word 'moist.'" They'll then list off a long list of toppings they like on pizza, including onions, peppers, pineapple, moist clowns, and hot, melty cheese.
  • Breakable Weapons: In previous installments, only the axe was breakable. Now, most toolsnote  have a certain number of uses before they break, with higher tiers being more durable, but never unbreakable. For most tools, the durability counter only changes when it successfully yields some item (shooting down a balloon present, digging something up, catching a bug or fish, etc.); the axe remains the exception, as every hit reduces its durability regardless of whether it produces any resources.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • Downplayed with regard to inviting villagers. You can use amiibo cards to invite specific villagers after the campsite is built. However, unlike New Leaf's amiibo campers, it takes three days of summoning them to the campsite and completing their crafting request before you can invite them to stay, and they can turn down your offer to visit the campsite if your island's star rating is too low. Inviting an amiibo villager to your campsite also resets your random campsite villager cooldown. Furthermore, they may ask you to craft something that you may have no means of crafting within the daynote . On the other hand, using an amiibo is the only way to oust a villager on demand, and correspondingly the only way to coordinate a transfer of a desired villager between islandsnote .
    • Played straight with posters since version 1.5.0. Nintendo patched out a glitch that allowed players to add posters to Nook Shopping by cataloguing them, thus removing from all player's catalogues any poster that had not been added to their catalogue through the intended manner (using an amiibo on Harv's Island, or having said villager live on your island and summoning that villager on Harv's Island). To complete the catalogue for the villager posters without amiibo, you need all 413 villagers (as of 2.0) to have lived on your island at some point in time. And all this is before considering the special NPC posters, which can't be unlocked without amiibo. The only respite is that posters can still be ordered by those who have them properly unlocked and gifted to other players.
    • Played straight with the Sanrio villagers and items, added to the game in 1.9.0. Just like in New Leaf, these villagers cannot be invited to other players islands' when in boxes, and their special items cannot be "touch traded". The only way to unlock them and their items is to obtain the Sanrio amiibo. Fortunately, shortly after their release, the Sanrio amiibo were reprinted.
    • Version 2.0.0 coincides with the announcement that 8 of the highly sought after new villagers note  will now have amiibo cards made, making getting these once highly sought after characters now as easy as paying a few bucks for their amiibo cards, assuming scalpers don’t get to them first. And to top it off, the 16 new villagers announced for version 2.0.0 will also see day one amiibo card releases.
    • The paid Happy Home Paradise DLC brings a plethora of benefits. It allows the player to unlock new techniques with which they can decorate their home, eases access to version 2.0.0 furniture through the Paradise Planning shop and provides players with the ability to house additional instances of their favourite villagers. However, topping them all is a hidden unlockable mechanic that effectively vastly expands the player's catalogue: By spending 150,000 Poki at the Paradise Planning shop, the player can unlock Wardell's ordering service. It allows the player to buy, with Poki, any purchaseable item, in any variation, that is in their Happy Home Paradise catalogue. Yes, that very catalogue that grows by leaps and bounds with every villager home you complete. While Poki is much harder to earn than Bells, a steady supply of Poki can be generated by designing and remodeling villagers' holiday homes.
  • Broken Bridge: At first not all of the island can be explored, as wide rivers and cliffs will inevitably isolate certain areas. The player soon acquires the tools to scale these obstacles themselves, and can later make more permanent passages. Later expansions alleviated this slightly (at least in terms of the rivers) because wetsuits are available on the first day, allowing the player to swim along the coast and past the river mouths.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Some of the missing characters from the previous entries in the franchises will return for limited time events such as Reese and Cyrus for "Wedding Season" and Rover for "May Day". Once the player has encountered them, they can be called to Photopia via amiibo at any time. By Version 2, all of the remaining special characters who appeared in New Leaf have been added, with Brewster returning along with the Roost, Harriet co-managing Harvey's new collective, Katrina and Tortimer appearing as co-ops in said collective, Lottie running Paradise Planning in the Happy Home Paradise DLC, and the rest making occasional appearances at the Roost.
    • The Version 2 update adds sixteen villagers to game, half of which are returning characters — Zoe, Ace, Rio, and Faith all make their first appearance since the original game, while Shanpan, Nobuo, Petunianote , and Pironkon all make their international debuts since the Japanese-exclusive e+ update, with their localized names being Frett, Chabwick, Azalea, and Roswell.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • The first villager you get at your campsite, who is always a smug villager, must be invited to move in before you can advance the story and gain access to things like additional plots and terraforming. It gives you the usual dialog for them thinking about moving in, except you get two options that both encourage them to go ahead.
    • When you first meet Redd, he offers to sell you a piece of art for a ludicrous 498,000 Bells. Fortunately, an inversion of this trope takes over—both dialog options amount to "no way," so regardless of your response he gives you a 99% discounted price of 4,980 Bells, and this time you can actually choose whether to buy it or not.
    • When you return the spirit pieces to Wisp, there is an option to refuse to give them back to him, which you can confirm several times in a row. However, you can't actually keep them; after a couple 'no's, you're trapped in the dialogue box with Wisp until you say yes.
    • When you talk to a crafting or cooking villager and you already know the recipe, they'll mention something about you already knowing it. Both possible responses are affirmative and even though one is less polite and implies refusal, both end up with the same dialogue and you getting the duplicate recipe. The only way the villager won’t give it to you is if your pockets are full when talking to them.
    • One of the possible villager interactions is where one of them wants to give you a gift. One particular variant of the interaction gives you a chance to respond, often with both responses to the effect of "huh?", both of which eventually lead to you obtaining the gift. However, a particularly well-disguised one is the smug villagers' version of that interaction - the villager will ask you if you think that a certain item fits his style. One answer is that it does, the other is to "get rid of it". Both result in you obtaining the item.
    • You can decline to help Gulliver and Gullivarrr, but you get set on the task of finding the communicator (parts) anyway. Though they note the "cold shoulder". You have to find the communicator parts, or communicator, if you want the rusted parts needed for the Robot Hero. Any communicator parts in your possession turn into rusted parts the next day. If you keep the communicator, it turns into a stack of five rusted parts the next day.
    • Near the end of the main story of Happy Home Paradise, Lottie falls ill and Niko has to run the show. During the cutscene, Niko asks the player whether they should keep the Paradise Planning office open or temporarily close the office. Regardless of the player's choice, seconds later, a random villager will walk in and ask for a holiday home, which the player must design according to their requested theme.
  • Call-Back:
    • Early in the game, after spending your first day helping the residents feel at home on the island and going to bed, you see K.K. Slider in the recurring barely-lit room talking about living on your own and the virtues of friendship, just like in the beginning of the N64/GameCube-era games. Even the music is nearly identical to the original, other than the Recurring Riff.
    • When announcing the expansion of the Resident Services building, Tom Nook states in the English version, "Our population certainly is growing, hm?", referencing the tagline of the GameCube installment ("Population: Growing!").
    • Wisp's role and design are identical to the first game, where you had to catch five spirits with a net to receive his reward, though this time he doesn't offer to weed your town.
    • Whenever Label shows up at the plaza, you can see the old GracieGrace scarf that she wore in Animal Crossing: City Folk tied to her bag. She occasionally mentions the time she spent at GracieGrace offhandedly, as she's now become a fashion designer using the brand name "Labelle" (her previous alias).
    • A peppy villager might wonder if their outfit is good enough to be on the cover of Ms. Nintendique, an unseen fashion magazine that hasn't been mentioned in the series since the GameCube game.
    • The city music from City Folk returns as an individual, playable song titled "Animal City". The city square itself appears on the song's cover art.
    • Sometimes if you poke Gulliver awake, he'll have a Waking Non Sequitur about not wanting to go back into space, a reference to his role in some of the previous games, where he flew a UFO that could be shot down by the player.
  • Captain Obvious: The player can sometimes have descriptions like this.
    Player: [investigating a lost item] Someone lost this...
  • Cartoonland Time: It is possible to raise small buildings within a day, so most of the construction times are somewhat believable. On the other hand, a full multi-discipline museum, with its nine galleries full of fancy lighting, animal enclosures, and life support equipment going up in only two days...strains disbelief. (Realism is clearly sacrificed for convenience, anyway.)
  • Character Customization: Unlike prior games, this game has players now be presented with an orthodox character creation screen as opposed to having their hair and facial features determined by unrelated questions (although this functionality is clearly inspired by Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp). Villagers can also use a mirror or vanity to change their character's appearance or even gender at any time, with skin tone, hair color and style, and facial features being easily changed. Spending Nook Miles unlocks new hairstyles and colors as well.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Due to the game's release coming before much of its content was added in updates, some of the features in earlier versions turned out to set up content in later ones, like the mini-beach and pier on the island sitting around for a while before turning out to be the docking points for Redd and Kapp'n in two later updates, or pumpkins serving as a preview for the other produce types to farm in 2.0.
  • Chest Monster: Hermit crabs look exactly like inanimate seashells—other than an occasional subtle wiggle—until you walk over to pick up the shell and it jumps up and scurries away. Same goes for the walking leaf, which looks like a piece of furniture that fell out of a tree. They aren't aggressive, but you'll need to equip your net quickly to catch them.
  • Colony Drop: Referenced. A suspended model of a meteorite is appropriately put up in the Museum's Fossil Exhibit's Dinosaur Wing, which can be seen if the player stands on the big blue spot on the floor, causing the camera to pan up to the model.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: While all balloons can carry furniture, clothing, or DIY recipes, some items can only drop from certain balloon colors:
    • Blue balloons are the only ones that can drop crafting materials that otherwise spawn from rocksnote .
    • Yellow balloons are the only ones that can drop bells, ranging from 1,000 to 30,000.
    • A special gold balloon can appear carrying the golden slingshot DIY recipe after you shoot down 300 balloons.
    • Special Bunny day balloons that only appear during the Bunny Day event will be striped with the Bunny Day colors to differentiate them from normal balloons and will only drop bunny day DIY recipes and sky eggs. They also don’t override normal balloons of any color and always appear moments after the normal balloons do.
  • Company Cross References:
    • Unlike most fish, catching a squid can prompt one of a few different quips from your character. For example, they may say they had an "inkling" they would catch one or say it's "off the hook", referencing the Splatoon series, while another asks if squids don't actually "bloop", referring to Super Mario Bros.' Bloopers.
    • If you have Blathers assess a Eusthenopteron fossil, he'll ponder what culture would be like if life had never left the ocean, such as if differences might be resolved through "some sort of ink-squirting contest of champions", referencing Splatoon.
    • Like in previous games Gulliver sometimes references other Nintendo franchises in his dialogue:
      • Upon waking he may say, "But, verily, it be the nature of dreams to end," quoting the Wind Fish in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening; your character asks him what that's all about, and he says he heard a fish say it once.
      • If you agree to help him find his communicator parts, he may gush that he hasn't gotten such a sweet reception since he washed up on Coralcola, the starting island from StarTropics.
      • If you choose not to help him, Gulliver will say he hasn't gotten a cold shoulder as icy as this since he brushed with the Snomads, the villains from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
    • Gullivarr makes a few nautical references to other Nintendo properties:
  • Conspicuous Consumption: You can buy a crown at the Able Sisters for a whopping 1,000,000 bells and a royal crown for an even steeper 1,200,000 bells. Both of these headwears serve no other purpose than for item collecting and/or the player to state that they've spent a fortune on their sense of self-importance.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: Some of the fake art pieces in the game have the little extra bonus of being haunted, and three of them are portraits that change periodically. The fake Girl with a Pearl Earring closes her eyes, the fake Beauty Looking Back will turn her head to face the other direction, and the fake Otani Oniji portrait will change from a frown to a smile.
  • Dance Party Ending: For the Happy Home Paradise DLC. Completing 30 home renovations and all facilities in the Paradise Island will unlock a beach dance party celebration while your creations are showcased in a credits-like manner.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: As in previous games, getting bit by a tarantula or stung by a scorpion causes you to "faint", which will cause the game to Iris Out and teleport you back to your home (or to the dock if it happens on a Mystery Tour), with absolutely no penalty. You might even get Nook Mile awards for doing so. New in this game, if you were already stung by wasps and get stung again, you'll faint as well.
  • Death World: For a given value of "death", considering what type of game this is, but a couple of Mystery Tour islands qualify as, essentially, "Knock-Out Worlds".
    • It's possible, although rare, to be brought to an island which the fandom calls Tarantula Island or Scorpion Island that, as the name says, continuously, and only, spawns tarantulas or scorpions depending on the time of year, which are aggressive and will One-Hit Kill the player. That said, if you get good at catching them, you can make major bank on these islands since you can sell tarantulas and scorpions for 8,000 Bells each.
    • Then there is Bamboo Island, which is an island with a ton of weeds, bamboo shoots but no proper trees. Not so much death as it is pestilence, as the lack of standard trees usually necessitates the spending of Nook Miles for replacement tools.
  • Demoted to Extra: Cyrus and Reese go from the owners of Re-Tail in New Leaf to seasonal characters to represent June's Wedding Season due to their roles from that game being passed onto the Nooklings, the player, as well as the new characters Flick and C.J. As of the November 5, 2021 update, they, along with other previously missing recurring non-playable characters and ones that were already in the game but didn't have proper shops, will be setting up shop on Harv's Island plaza, allowing players to buy new furniture from them as well as customize furniture they can't customize on their own.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • If Harvey calls you, he says he's "calling on the phone part of your phone". This is justified however because the player has been given a smartphone, which can get over 15 apps that have nothing to do with phone calls. Getting a call is very uncommon, and Harv is stuck in the 70s and thus would likely point this sort of thing out.
    • It is possible for a Smug Villager shopping at Nook's Cranny to say "Doing a little shopping, eh?" immediately followed up by "Doing a little gift shopping, are you? Well, try to put yourself in the shoes of the giftee." if you ask to chat with them.
  • Deserted Island:
    • The game is located on one and Tom Nook has convinced the player and some of the villagers to purchase some land there. It's a castaway island and can either stay that way or become more civilized if the player so chooses. Unlike many other deserted island stories, there is an easy way off with a sea plane provided by Dodo Airlines.
    • Additionally the player can use Nook Mile tickets to travel to other smaller islands to gather resources, find new fruits, catch out of season fish and bugs and even find new potential residents.
  • Developers' Foresight: Found on the general page here.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • When Tom Nook goes to claim the player's first loan (for flights, land claims, camping supplies, etc.) he suddenly remembers everyone's on a deserted island with nothing remotely resembling an economy. He then agrees to take the loan in Nook Miles to incentivize the player to set up some actual infrastructure.
    • Tom Nook didn't consider that when he claims that your island will provide fully-furnished homes to new arrivals, customers will naturally expect just that, and you must help him assemble the furniture for the residents moving in who are starting out with houses.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Catching tarantulas and scorpions is a dangerous endeavor because they can knock you out with a sting and then run away. But get the technique down and tarantula-infested mystery islands become the best way to farm money that doesn't involve turnips, especially if you sell them to Flick.
  • Discount Card: Tailors tickets, earned by completing Label's requests, let you get a item valued at 3000 bells or fewer at the Able Sisters' shop for free.
  • Don't Try This at Home:
    • Bamboo shoots are the "fruit" of bamboo trees, in that they spawn next to them the day "tree" is fully grown. You can eat them to temporarily gain the ability to break rocks and lift trees. One problem, though; you eat them raw, in which state they're poisonous in real life.
    • During the mushroom season in autumnnote , Isabelle will warn players that though all the island's mushrooms are safe to eat, you shouldn't eat foraged mushrooms in real life if you don't know for certain which they are.
  • Doofy Dodo: Two dodos named Orville and Wilbur run the airport, the joke being that flightless birds are the ones flying the plane. They're competent, but a little ditzy with one of them obsessed with military lingo and the other forgetting to lock or even close the door while they're still setting up.
  • Double Unlock:
    • Terraforming. After getting K.K. Slider to come over, you unlock the Island Designer app... only to find that all you can do with it is place and erase dirt paths. The terraforming upgrades (waterscaping and cliff building), along with the ability to place other types of paths, must be subsequently purchased for Nook Miles.
    • For the Happy Home Paradise expansion, there's designing vacation homes for the game's 62 special characters. You unlock the amiibo scanner after completing seven jobs, but you need to complete twelve more before you're allowed to design homes for Tom Nook, Isabelle, and the rest.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect:
    • Clumps of weeds are crafting materials for certain DIY recipes (e.g. leaf umbrella). While weeds can spawn more weeds, only two "fresh" weed tiles will spawn per day. Completely deweeding your island may hinder your ability to acquire the necessary amount of weeds to make the item without the use of Nook Miles Tickets.
    • In Happy Home Paradise, it doesn't take much to count as having remodeled a client's house. Even if one does not plan to rework a client's house, saving the last elements of the design for a remodel is a quick way to get more Poki.
  • Downloadable Content: Rather than being released as a separate game like the previous installment, a Happy Home Designer-esque side-game called Happy Home Paradise has been attached to New Horizons as paid downloadable content, giving the base game new gameplay options such as being able to design vacation homes for their villagers by offering them Souvenir Chocolates before going to work, among other features.
  • Dream Land: The Dream Suite functionality from New Leaf returns in Summer Update Wave 2, allowing you to visit instanced versions of other islands.
  • Drives Like Crazy: One possible conversation with lazy villagers implies that they exhibit this... and that they're outright banned from driving cars as a result.
     E to G 
  • Earn Your Fun: Path marking and terraforming are locked behind an extended tutorial phase. Want to design and build the island of your dreams? First, you'll have to make your way to a three-star island rating while completely constrained by the terrain of the island and without the ability to mark paths. Reaching a three-star island rating isn't that easy, as achieving it requires a substantial amount of fully grown flowers and building quite a few bridges and inclines.
  • Ear Worm: If a Peppy villager sees you carrying a vaulting pole, they may recite the song for a brand of vaulting pole named "StickThing", then comment that they're going to be humming the tune for a few hours.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Late at night, TVs normally just play static. But on Saturdays at exactly 3:33 AM, the static is briefly interrupted by some sort of alien saying something unintelligible and showing off a flying saucer. This is also a Call-Back to the same gag in New Leaf, and other alien-related hidden content.
    • If you repeatedly call the Rescue Service in one session, eventually Don Resetti will take the player's call instead of Resetti himself due to Resetti going on break.
    • One of the variations for the chalkboard item is called “Music”, and features a few lines of musical notes. If one were to play those notes in real life, they would discover it’s the title theme.
    • With the Happy Home Paradise DLC, players can invite shop staff and Paradise Planning to the music festival. This also applies to Dodo Airline's Wilbur, who when invited, takes the center stage and has a title unique to him.
  • Encounter Bait: Manila clams can be dug up on the beach and crafted into fish bait, which causes a random fish to appear when thrown into a body of water.
  • Epic Fail: Your villagers are... not very good fishers or bug catchers, to say the least. Their fishing rods lack a bobber and lure when they "cast" it into the rivers of your island. Also, every time they swing their net at a bug, they will fail to catch it and the bug will fly off and/or despawn, even against completely stationary targets.
  • Equipment Upgrade:
    • By spending accumulated Nook Miles after paying off the Deserted Island Experience Package, the player can unlock various upgrades to their "kit", like having a tool ring selection or extra pocket space.
    • The initial set of tools the player will be able to craft are called flimsy tools, but recipes for regular tools can be learned. They require the flimsy tools and some other kind of material (usually an iron fragment), but they basically become upgraded to be sturdier, better versions of the tools.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Timmy and Tommy will buy a lot of stuff from the player, including random bugs, garbage fished out of the river, and weeds picked from the ground, but one of the few things they won't buy is counterfeit art sold by Redd. note 
  • Extended Gameplay: As with New Leaf, get K.K. Slider confirmed for a visit in Project K, he'll show up at the start of the next day and play "Welcome Horizons" for everyone while the credits roll. There's still many things to do after the credits, and you don't get the ability to modify the island's geography until the "post-game" starts. As well, you can view this ending scene again every time you request a song from K.K. Slider onwards.
  • Fake Longevity: Funding the shops on Harv’s Island in Update 2.0.0 will take a whole week without the use of time travel. This is because the game will not let you build every stall in one day, instead making you wait a whole day after you finish donating to one before you can finish another. Consequently, you can only unlock one stall per day. This prevents eager players from putting down 700,000 bells immediately to unlock everything overnight, forcing the player to check in each day until everything is fully funded and available.
  • Fetch Quest:
    • When building new infrastructure in town, Tom Nook will ask you to collect the materials to make it happen. For instance, to open Nook's Cranny, you need to acquire 30 of each kind of wood as well as 30 iron nuggets.
    • Similarly, you have to give five different kinds of fish or bugs on the island to Tom Nook in the Resident Services tent for Blathers to come to the island. You then have to donate 15 more specimens to allow Blathers to get the authorization to actually build the museum. After the Nature Day update, you need a total of 60 specimens donated before Blathers expresses interest in adding an art exhibit, after which you must meet Redd the following day and buy the painting he offers for you so you can make a donation to initiate the museum expansion.
    • Sometimes villagers will ask the player to catch certain bugs or fish for them. The villager will express their gratitude to the player by giving them a random gift after the delivery is made and there’s no consequences for not accepting the mission. One downside does exist in that if the player does accept the quest and changes their mind about it, they cannot back out of it or talk to the villager about anything else unless the delivery is made. Talking to the villager again only has the villager reiterate what they want and telling the player where to find it. The only way to back out of the mission from that point is to either wait until the next day or time-travel to it.
  • Fiction 500: At this point Tom Nook is apparently wealthy enough that he owns several islands around the world, his own smartphone line, and construction and shipping companies, and merely brushes off the fact his apprentices are paying people thousands of Bells for literal trash. Apparently years of interest-free, no-deadline housing payments still managed to pay off!
  • Fight Clubbing: Donating enough of the summer night beetles to the museum will somehow have them set up one of these every night in the main bug exhibit room's giant tree. The opposing beetles will lock horns (or jaws) for several seconds while other beetles surround them as spectators. One beetle will eventually be knocked off and fly away, declared the loser. You can keep watching beetle fights if you exit and re-enter the room.
  • Firewood Resources: The wood, softwood and hardwood harvested from trees appear as small bundles of three log wedges, of the kind one might make to use as firewood, despite the fact that these are used to make items such as wooden furniture — including furniture visibly made from whole, un-split logs.
  • Fish-Eye Lens: One of the photo app filters added in the Version 2.0 update is a fisheye lens.
  • Fishing for Sole: Cans, tires, and even old boots can be reeled in by fishing (curiously, they all act exactly like normal fish until you pull them out of the water); one of the Mystery Tour islands even spawns only garbage and no fish. Junk items can be recycled via DIY recipes into unique items, wallpaper/flooring or even a pair of boots to wear. You can occasionally pull up a stone, too, like the ones you get from hitting rocks. During the Bunny Day event, eggs often disguise themselves as medium-sized fish, with your character saying "That's an egg, not a fish!" each time you get one. Fortunately, using bait guarantees actual fish.
  • Frigid Water Is Harmless: You can swim in the ocean even when it's winter in your hemisphere and the snow on the ground indicates that the water must be cold. You wear a wet suit, but, generally, dry suits are needed for colder water, and one of the suit options has shorts on the bottom while others are sleeveless.
  • Fun with Acronyms: One of the possible descriptions when investigating a lost item is seeing it has the phrase "Bikers Are More Fun" embroidered on it. Think about what... other phrase that has that acronym.note 
  • Furry Confusion:
    • Lampshaded when you fish up a frog (a possible "fish"); the dialogue box ponders if it's actually a frog villager.
      "I caught a frog! Or it's a new neighbor... and I have some apologizing to do."
    • Played straight with some other things, like the hamster cage and bird cage—both contain a live animal, and can be gifted to hamster or bird villagers. A section in the museum implies that there's some evolutionary source for these Half-Human Hybrids.
  • Furry Reminder: In Happy Home Paradise, Sprinkle (a penguin) and Bianca (a tiger that looks like a snow leopard) both want cold-themed houses, while Savannah (a horse that looks like a zebra) wants an oasis-themed house.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The Earth Day update reintroduced Redd and adds the Art Wing upgrade to the museum. However, you were required to donate the first art piece you get from Redd, which would always be genuine, in order to initiate the museum upgrade. Due to an oversight, the item was not inventory-locked and could be permanently lost by giving it away, selling it, or simply not buying it when Redd showed up, which would cause the game to be stuck in a strange state where the museum couldn't be renovated and Redd wouldn't visit the island ever again once he left. The workaround was to acquire a genuine work of art from someone else, to proceed with the museum renovation; this itself comes down to luck. As of the 2.0 update, the art wing of the museum is automatically unlocked, so it no longer relies on Redd's appearance.
    • In local co-op (i.e. multiple players from the same town locally), if one player checks the ABD to claim their daily Nook Miles streak, other players' Nook Miles streaks will be reset if they haven't already been claimed. This bug has been in the game since launch, but has not yet been patched.
    • Since the Earth Day update, attempting to use DIY cards and learn new recipes will, in rare cases, result in the game crashing.
    • Prior to version 1.2.0, there were a pair of serious glitches that resulted in broken plots that were near-impossible to fix. The first concerned adopting villagers who were forced out from another island through inviting amiibo campers, where there was a risk that the plot would be permanently stuck in a "reserved for 's new home" state. That was fixed, but a second, more serious glitch emerged - adopting any villager from another player's island carried a risk that the player would be stuck with a plot whose house would be permanently stuck in the "villager has moved out" state. Version 1.2.0 fixed these glitches and automatically fixed any glitched plots.
    • Version 2.0 had a glitch where redesigning villager homes while the airport gates were open could lead to save corruption. Nintendo released a patch within a few days to fix it.
  • Game Gourmet: From the Version 2 update onwards, you can cook a variety of food, using crops introduced in the update, fruit, fish, and more. Food can be consumed to gain stamina, or displayed like other furniture. You can also get snacks from Redd's raffle and to-go coffee from Brewster's.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Lazy villagers claim they have such an attachment to insects that they let them live on the floors of their homes. You won't see any if you take a look at their homes for yourself.
    • Only one of each kind of insect, fish, and fossil can be donated to the museum, but some of the exhibits show multiples of the same species. Donating a single anchovy results in an entire school of anchovies appearing in the fish tank.
    • After a Fishing Tournament or Bug Off concludes at 6 PM, villagers will comment afterwards that they managed to catch several different fish/bugs, despite the game never depicting them successfully doing so.
    • Normal villagers may occasionally bring up that they saw a honeybee flying past, even during the seven months they're dormant and not accessible to the player (August to February in the Northern Hemisphere).
    • On Halloween, wearing Jack's entire costume causes villagers to be spooked, believing you're the real Jack and causing them to give you candy only to see through the disguise immediately afterwards. Before and after the Halloween event begins and at any other time of the year, they will never be spooked and interacting with them results in normal interactions.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: When not being referred to by name, player characters are always referred to in gender-neutral terms, including but not limited to the pronouns "they" and "them". The Character Customization option that looks kinda like choosing a gender is a "style" or "aspect" outside of Japan, and can be changed at will just like the rest — though in some languages that require it, it does imply grammatical gender. Villagers will also do this after you get a new neighbor to move in, likely because they've never met.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item:
    • At sufficiently high friendship levels, villagers may ask to buy or trade for a random furniture/clothing item from your inventory. You can always decline the offer, though.
    • Once again, Pascal the otter appears and has a chance of asking for a scallop whenever you pull one from the ocean. In New Horizons, he trades them for mermaid-themed clothing/accessories and DIY recipes of furniture in the mermaid set, and can also give you pearls which are needed to craft those recipes and are rarely found in the ocean. Trading with him is almost always extremely worthwhile, since scallops have no other purpose besides a one-time museum donation and, afterward, as Shop Fodder and one of the ingredients needed for one of Franklin's recipes on Turkey Day, which only happens once a year. Unfortunately, Pascal only appears when you catch a scallop, and won't take more than one per day, so there's no use in stockpiling them for trading purposes.
  • Global Currency Exception:
    • Replacing MEOW Coupons from New Leaf is Nook Miles, points earned from the achievement system and daily tasks. Nook Miles can be redeemed at the Resident Services terminal for general upgrades, DIY recipes, exclusive outdoor furniture, and Nook Inc.-brand items. They're also used as payment for Rescue Services and Dodo Airlines (for buying new tools on a mystery island).
    • Cyrus sells items from the wedding set during the month of June, but he only accepts payment in Heart Crystals. Reese gives the player a bunch of Heart Crystals every time they complete a photoshoot for Cyrus and her during Wedding Season.
    • Happy Home Paradise introduces Poki, which is used to purchase items from the archipelago's gift shop and through Wardell's unlockable ordering service. Bells cannot be used to purchase items in the gift shop, nor can Poki be used to buy items on the main island that cost bells. That said, you can eventually unlock a special ABD that allows you to exchange Poki for Bells and vice versa, although the exchange rate fluctates daily.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Blathers describe the scientific name of the vampire squid succinctly.
    Blathers: That means "vampire squid from heck", you see.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • The museum has whole wings for bugs, fish, fossils, and art pieces, waiting to be filled with your donations. You can also check the in-game "Critterpedia" to see your progress on the first two.
    • DIY recipes can be learned from villagers or found on balloons or in bottles on the shore. Some recipes are seasonal, with their materials and the recipes themselves only appearing at certain times of the year.
  • Grandfather Clause: Though this game marks the introduction of live instrumentation to the Animal Crossing series, the K.K. Slider songs and airchecks still use the same sequenced instruments as previous games to maintain consistency.
  • Grows on Trees: Returning from the first game is the daily "golden spot", which can be dug up to receive a bag of 1,000 bells. Burying the bag in the same spot (or even more from your personal funds) results in a bell tree, which eventually bears three bell bags each worth the same amount you buriednote . It only works once; harvesting the bells turns it into a regular hardwood tree again.note 
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • One Nook Miles reward, "Netting Better!", has a description saying that you need to catch five wasps in a row to achieve it. It doesn't mention that this has to be done in one day; catching five wasps across a few days without getting stung doesn't activate it.
    • Breeding flowers isn't as easy as it sounds, especially when compared to the older titles; this one has an impressively complex genetics system based on real-world Mendelian inheritance, and nothing in-game implies that two seemingly identical plants can have hidden variations that affect breeding results. Unless you're an expert at genetics, you'd better off looking for a guide than simply mixing colors, as now there's some other factors to propagate hybrids. The game also doesn't tell you that watering by visiting players increases the probability of flowers spawning.note 
    • The Critterpedia gives detailed information about which months of the year and hours of the day every bug and fish is available... but only after you catch each one. This can cause a Last Lousy Point scenario if you're looking for a critter that only spawns in certain situations, such as flies and ants only appearing on rotted turnips, or coelacanths only being found when it rains.
    • The criteria for earning plaques and trophies from the Happy Home Academy are pretty opaque, since there's no NPC to explain them in this game; you just get a letter each week telling you your score.
    • Villagers have thought bubbles for a variety of reasons, including a particularly important one - asking the player whether they should leave. However, unless you learn about the hidden move-out cooldown and the one unique characteristic of the moving-out thought bubble note , you can't tell whether a villager's conversation will be about moving out or a completely unrelated subject until you talk to them.
    • There's a Nook Miles achievement that involves planting all six types of fruits. The game never tells you that there is no way to obtain two of the six fruits without another player giving them to you.
     H to M 
  • Halloween Episode: You can buy pumpkins and candy during the month of October to prepare for Halloween. Timmy and Tommy, Orville, Mabel, Isabelle, and Tom all wear costume accessories during the last few days of October. The special Halloween event occurs from 5 PM to midnight on October 31st. Your villagers dress up and approach you to trick-or-treat. Give them candy, they'll reward you; refuse to give them candy, they'll splatter decals on your face and make your skin white, green, blue, or purple.. You can also learn two special reactions ("Scare" and "Haunt") and help out a pumpkin-headed character named Jack.
  • Hammerspace: The game brings back the standard applications pertaining to how characters stash items on their person, but the game also uses it for the drummoid's visual gag. It's a gyroid with a metal cap and skirt that look like cymbals, so for it to play them, it collapses its body into some unknown void so the cymbal on top and bottom meet and make a sound.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: You can become one by buying Tom Nook's trademark "Aloha Shirt" from the Nook Stop (or two different colored variants). There are other shirts that fit the bill (that can be bought from the Able Sisters), such as the Bold Aloha Shirt and the Pineapple Aloha Shirt.
  • Healing Herb: You can now make medicine yourself using a wasp nest and 3 clumps of weeds.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: In a cross between this and Leaning on the Fourth Wall, at the end of any island ceremony Tom Nook says "anyone wishing to take a commemorative photo should get ready to press [O]," the Switch screenshot/video button. Harvey's tutorial for his photo studio has him directly tell you which buttons to press.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The name and birthday you enter in the intro magically appears on Timmy and Tommy's roster of islanders. A bit later, they let you and the other starter villagers offer ideas for the island's name; they always vote unanimously for your suggestion.
  • Hint Dropping:
    • Every time you pay off the mortgage to your home, Tom Nook (sometimes complete with a devious sideways glance) will not-so subtly suggest that your home could be better before (badly) trying to play it off as just him thinking out loud... and then again following up this by telling the player to talk to him if they're interested in what he's thinking.
    • amiibo campers will often do this after the second time that you invite them and complete their crafting request, hinting that you should invite them to the campsite one more time. That next time, completing their crafting request will give you the opportunity to have them stay on your island.
  • Hold the Unsolicited Ingredient:
    • Upon catching an anchovy, your player character will quip:
      "Stay away from my pizza!"
    • Downplayed upon catching a sea pineapple. Your villager says "Your move, sea pizzas" in reference to the pineapple on pizza debate, but they don't take any side in it.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
    • A literal example; instead of "hold your horses," the hedgehogs at Able Sisters say "confine your spines," as in "Sis, confine your spines— we're not even open yet!" As you get Sable to open up to you more, Mable will mention they've been "working like hedgehogs"note  to be successful after Label went off to become a famous designer.
    • Orville's use of "whisker" in place of "whiskey" in his use of the NATO Military Alphabet standard may be an instance of this, combined with possible Bowdlerization on account of whiskey not exactly being family-friendly.
  • Impossible Theft: An inversion. During his concerts, K.K. Slider somehow manages to slip a copy of his music into everyone's pockets while he was playing it right in front of everyone. The most likely explanation is that he passed it into the audience's pockets during the fade to black after a performance, but even then it'd have to happen at ludicrous speed.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests:
    • Any fish or bugs you catch come with a free tank or terrarium, seen when you place them outside or in your home storage. (The snapping turtle, perhaps because they couldn't decide whether it counts as aquatic, has no enclosure... don't walk too close to it.)
    • As in previous games, presents dangling from balloons periodically drift over your island, delivering random items or recipes to anyone who shoots them down. The achievement for balloon-sniping even says that no one knows where they come from.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Iron tools aren't as fancy or durable as golden tools, but the iron recipes are much easier to come by (golden tool recipes are earned with significant milestones, like shooting down 300 balloons) and use common materials (you'll likely harvest multiple iron nuggets a day while gold nuggets are much more rare). On top of that, even the golden tools break—you can cheaply craft a new iron tool or reset its durability with customization, which doesn't apply to golden tools.
  • Instant Costume Change: Wands are a new addition to the game that allow the player to instantly magic up one of eight outfits they've set up over their current one. These clothes don't actually replace the ones you're currently wearing though, and the effects can be dispelled at any time. The price of this luxury is that every wand recipe requires Star Fragments, a rare resource that will only wash up on the beach the morning after you wish on a shooting star. Even then, the conversion rate isn't 1:1, as the chances of getting a Star Fragment (or the even rarer Large Star Fragments and Zodiac Fragments) are relatively low even with a successful wish. Each outfit also "uses up" the clothing that go into it, meaning anything that isn't a custom design will not be usable as clothing until it's removed from the outfit.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: You cannot climb head-height ledges without the ladder, no matter what other climbable objects you may possess, and you cannot cross water without the vaulting pole, even if it appears shallow enough to wade through. Zig-zagged with water, though, as if a river or pond is narrow enough (two spaces or less) you can get across without switching tools just by hopping from one bank to the other.
  • Irony:
    • The airport is run by and named after dodo birds, which cannot fly (without a plane). They point this out in their introduction, saying that just because they're flightless doesn't mean their customers should be.
    • While patrolling your island at night, you may encounter Wisp, a ghost who is inexplicably afraid of ghosts, and mistakes you for one at first. In fact, he is one of the anonymous NPCs who can provide feedback on the island, with his review positively noting that the lack of other ghosts is ideal for him.
    • Many Lazy villagers have the "Play" hobby which in part is a villager being more likely to run around the island pretending to be an airplane, something that involves being active. On top of that, three Lazy villagers have the "Fitness" hobby.
    • Trash cans and other furniture that can be used to dispose of items will lower your Environment Score. But trash bags will raise them instead.
  • Island of Mystery:
    • By showing off a Nook Miles Ticket, Orville will give the player a choice in participating in the aptly-named Mystery Tour. The player is taken to a randomly-generated island rich in resources for them to take. Some islands are specifically themed as well, like a bamboo island, an island filled with hybrid flowers (later removed)an island that only has dangerous bugs, or an island that has big fish shadows. Here is a complete list.
    • Kapp’n will take you to mystery islands by boat after the 2.0 update. These are different than the Nook Miles Ticket ones and can have different seasons, various crops, acorns and maple leaves, shooting stars and shards from hitting rocks, and glowing moss and vines. Each trip costs 1,000 Nook Miles and you can only go once a day. Most islands have gyroid fragments and recipe bottles too.
  • Item Crafting: You can gather wood, stone, and other resources to craft new tools and furniture, much like in Pocket Camp.
  • It's Up to You: Though you're officially only the "resident representative," you have to do the bulk of all resource-gathering and fund-raising. As in New Leaf, certain island improvements, once placed, require large sums of bells before construction begins. And just like in New Leaf, villagers may contribute, but this is rare and it will only ever be pocket change—in practice the player(s) will have to raise nearly all of the funds. Tom Nook lampshades this, muttering that if the player doesn't donate, the project will likely never finish.
  • Justified Tutorial: Rather than putting the player to a relatively obscure yet functional village, they are instead dropped off on a deserted island. It is why certain services usually found at the start of older games in the series aren't immediately available, as it is up to the players to make the island livable.
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Besides the standard problem of items being worth less when you sell them back, Nook's Cranny is only open from 8 AM to 10 PM; outside those hours, you can only sell items through their drop box. This imposes an additional 20% earnings cut due to "handling fees," and you don't get the money until the next day. On the other hand, the drop box doesn't make you go through a loading screen or excessive textboxes (until the Nooklings call you at the start of the next day).
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Your villager preempts this upon catching a walking stick.
    Check out its walking schtick!
    Look, these are the jokes, OK?
  • Land, Sea, Sky:
    • On Bunny Day, eggs can be found in these three places. Leaf eggs are shaken from trees, wood eggs drop when cutting a tree, stone eggs can pop out of rocks, and earth eggs are dug from underground, all representing land; water eggs are fished from bodies of water, representing sea; and sky eggs regularly fly by on balloons, representing sky.
    • The zebra turkeyfish invokes this description from your character:
      "Land, air, water—make up your mind!"
  • Large Ham: Smug and Peppy villagers, at times.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: During Bug Offs, when Flick asks if you want to sell the bugs in the bug cage, he proceeds to comment that "I'm happy to liberate-" before backing up with "-BUY them all from you" midway through "liberate".
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Blathers' information when you ask him about a snapping turtle catch has two actual facts and one... personal anecdote.
    "The snapping turtle is a large turtle known for its crocodile-like body and long claws. No, wait—it is better known for its ferocious bite, which it can deliver with shocking speed for a turtle. NO, WAIT—it is BEST known for that time one chased me across a parking lot and I had to climb on top of a car."
  • Later Installment Weirdness:
    • Unlike previous titles, the game plops the player on an almost-barren island. Facilities that are already established in older games are missing or limited, requiring them to be established within the first few days. It will take a while (roughly a week) before it becomes a fully functional town on the scale of the starting towns of previous games; until then, players are slowly adjusted into the setting, like the brief tutorial phase from earlier games. This also means you won't get to hear hourly music until a week or so of gameplay.
    • This game introduces crafting to the main series, and a lot of mechanics are altered to account for it; chopped trees release chopped wood, struck rocks release ore and clay, and even weeds can be used to craft certain objects. Tools that would normally be purchased or earned are now crafted instead, and can now break as as a result (in previous games, only the axe was breakable). Even the coveted golden tools aren't exempt from breaking though they have a much higher durability rate than normal craft-able tools.
    • Name headers in dialogue boxes in earlier games were color-coded as so: blue for male villagers, pink for female villagers, and green for general NPCs like Tom Nook. New Horizons changed this, so now name headers are now individually color-coded for each character.
    • Also in regards to NPCs, Animalese is no longer tied exclusively to a character's gender or personality, but is instead uniquely tuned for each individual character based on their design (for instance, Maddie, a small dog villager, has a noticeably higher-pitched voice than Bianca, a larger tiger villager, despite both of them being peppy). In prior games, only Joan, Farley, Luna, and Lloid had unique voices for Animalese.
    • Your first day on the island isn't tied down into the real world clock, unlike the first days in other Animal Crossing titles. Only after you get past the first day and go to bed will the game be synced to real world time.
    • In prior games, K.K. Slider would regularly visit your town on Saturdays, and his musical performances are the only way to see the game's Closing Credits. In New Horizons, however, you need to develop your town to a point where K.K. becomes interested in visiting your island, so the credits only come after around two weeks of playtime.
    • This game implements autosave, though it is still possible to manually save by quitting. As a result, Resetti's reset rants, which in New Leaf were already downplayed and had to be opted into, are completely gone.
    • At launch, many staple NPCs were completely absent from New Horizons, with their services being dropped or transferred to new characters (such as Wilbur and Orville fulfilling travel in place of Kapp'n and Porter, and Label replacing Gracie as a fashion analyst). Many of them were added to later updates.
    • Emotions were gained through Dr. Shrunk in all other games, However in New Horizons, islanders will occasionally give them out instead, and they are now called "reactions".
    • Wisp reverts back to his traits from the original Animal Crossing, where he wears a hitaikakushi instead of a turban (since his lamp isn't present), his sidequest is to catch five spirit pieces, and the reward can be an uncatalogued furniture, wallpaper, flooring or clothing.
    • During the first year of release, the game's holiday events weren't in the game to start, but added via updates around the time of the holiday in the real world to dissuade people from setting the clock forward and obtaining unique holiday items out of time. Until the time matched in the real world, "time-traveling" players would find nothing different on days like October 31 (Halloween) or December 24 (Toy Day). Though they're permanently accessible once they're added, it still means you have to be up to the latest version to participate, so if you're for some reason unable to connect your Switch to the internet, you're out of luck.
    • Mail has received a complete overhaul. Your mailbox can hold many more letters in it, but as a trade-off, your inventory no longer has a mail section, thus you can't carry any with you. Important letters can be marked as favorites for future reference, and catalog deliveries now don't come attached with letters but arrive directly as packages. There's no post office, so sending mail is handled through the Dodo Airlines office instead; since you can't carry them with you, they'll hold in-progress letters, so purchasing letter paper is gone as well. Finally, you can send letters over the internet to friends you've visited before (in New Leaf, you had to be at their town to do so, rather redundantly).
    • Pitfall seeds are no longer found buried on the map each day and are instead obtained via crafting once the player learns the recipe.
    • Due to the Nintendo Switch Online paid service, this marks the first Animal Crossing game where you actually need to pay a subscription fee to be able to visit others online, and those living in regions without the service are only able to access local offline play.
    • Furniture gyroids, introduced in the 2.0 update, have undergone several changes after consistent appearances in prior games. For one, they no longer just appear buried in the ground the day after precipitation in your town, but can also grow from gyroid fragments the player buries and waters in the ground. The gyroids are also all new varieties, including this game's Brewstoid, and have much more diverse appearances and body shapes since each can afford to have a unique character model now. They no longer come in different "families" with size variations, each adopting its own proportions within the height of "standard" gyroids in previous games, but they have color variations and they can be customized to them. This is the first game in which gyroids can be placed on top of furniture, and this game adds the wall display option, which places the gyroid on a small wall-mounted shelf. The game also lacks a cap for active gyroids within a room.
    • Unlike earlier installments, your basement contributes to your home's Happy Home Academy score.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A lazy villager can do this, which can come off as a little creepy considering he describes things that the players know but he as a character shouldn't notice.
    Lazy Villager: There's a weird rumor goin' around... Some folks? They're saying none of this is real. None of it. They say the island is just a game. And everything we say? Or do? It's just to amuse somebody else! And...I dunno. I kinda maybe believe it? SO many things would make sense, ya know? Have ya ever thought fruit grows way too fast? And ain't it weird that trees all have three kinds of wood? And have ya ever noticed there's pretty music everywhere? It's great, but it's weird... And does Tom Nook make ANY kind of sense to you?! "Yeah, I'll buy your seashells so you can give me back my own money to pay off a house I'm selling to you!" I mean... WHAT? It's all so obvious! Our lives are fake! We all shoulda saw it a loooong time ago! A long old time ago... A huh huh huh! I'm joking! It's a joke! Nobody said that! You oughta see the look on your face!
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • Occasionally a Normal villager will comment that she recognizes you from somewhere, and then claim she saw you were the subject of the cover story of a magazine once, asking you if this is true. Then she realizes she's wrong, and asks if you and her can just forget she asked about it.
    • The protocol of Dodo Airlines for Mystery Tours (an activity where the player visits a randomly generated island to gather resources, collect specimens, and potentially meet a villager, but at the caveat of leaving anything not pocketed behind) is to never speak of any island visited by said tour ever again, to give an in-world reasoning for its randomness.
      Wilbur: Also, there's one redline item you need to memorize like your latte order: Anything you leave behind stays here. We don't come back to these places. Ever. I actually burn the flight plans afterward. Security reasons. Can't explain more than that.
  • Light-Flicker Teleportation: The graveyard wall, a special wallpaper obtained from Saharah, shows a misty graveyard framed by tree arches in the foreground. Turning off the lights and hitting the switch the final time before the cycle goes back to "lights on" spawns a ghost in the background. Turning the lights back on gets rid of the ghost, and the next time the lights are off, the ghost gets closer, jumping around for a couple of cycles until it's standing in the foreground between one of the tree arches.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Can finally be subverted for the villagers! Though they only have their starting clothes at first, you can expand their wardrobe by giving them more items, and they can randomly rotate out what they'll wear for the day. They'll also change out of the usual depending on the occasion, such as workout clothes when they're doing exercises, or in their pajamas when they're about to sleep for the night. They also have dedicated outfits for rain (if they forego using an umbrella), snow, Fishing Tourneys, and Bug Offs, and on birthdays they'll be wearing formal suits or dresses and a cake hat for the occasion. They can also be given clothes by other villagers if you deliver them. On top of all that, they may even use your custom designs if you add them to the back wall.
  • Literal Genie: Asking Wisp for "something new" can give you something you already have, but in a new color. Surprisingly useful, as unlocking different-colored variations of purchasable items is not easy.
  • Literal-Minded: Once you're appointed as the representative of the residents, Tom Nook asks if you'd like to say a word or two towards the residents. Naturally, one of the options is to just say "a word or two".
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: As of Version 2.0, there are 413 villagers present in the game — the 333 baseline villagers from New Leaf plus the 50 added to its Welcome amiibo update, the eight new villagers present at launch, the six Sanrio-inspired villagers added to Version 1.9, and the 16 villagers added to Version 2.0 itself. There's also 61 special characters present — 63 if you consider DJ KK and Gullivarr separate from K.K. Slider and Gulliver.
  • Lost in Translation: If you're wondering why the "Bamboo Hat" recipe doesn't actually use bamboo, the name isn't entirely accurate. While there is a bamboo-made variation, its real-life equivalent is the Asian conical hat, which is usually made of straw. The name itself is also one of several names it is known by, as it differs by region (e.g. the Japanese jingasa, the Vietnamese nón lá, etc.).
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The fishing tourney has elements of this. Unlike in past games, fish size plays no role; C.J. simply wants everyone to catch as many fish as possible in three minutes. However, how many fish you catch is mostly up to the fish themselves. While you can stand in an ideal spot along the southern beach and toss in bait and immediately cast your line, a fish may not appear immediately after the bait hits the water, and you have no control over how long it takes to hook the fish.
    • Going on Mystery Island tours is essentially a crapshoot, with a very high chance you end up on an island with the same fruit trees and flower variety as those on your native island, and actually desirable islands like the coin rock island, shark island, and the tarantula island being extremely rare. This is doubly so if you're using the Mystery Tour to find desirable villagers, with some players spending dozens of tickets hoping a preferred villager appears. However, this is at least dampened by one furniture piece always spawning in a tree on Mystery Tours (unless it's a fruit tree or bamboo only island) and a high chance of a fossil appearing, so you can at least come back with something.
    • Trying to get all the non-seasonal DIY recipes from villagers. Besides the message bottles that wash up on shore daily, three villagers can be found crafting or cooking in their homes and it is completely random who does the crafting. Furthermore, each villager personality has a preset pool of crafts they make, and the one they choose in their respective pools is also random.
    • Hybrid flower breeding. Because the system uses simplified Mendelian genetics and all flowers have at least 3 sets of genes, putting the correct parent flowers together does not always guarantee that you will obtain the offspring flowers in the desired colour.
    • Obtaining a villager's photo. While you can raise the friendship level to 255 (the maximum) and always give items with a high enough sellback value, you still only have a maximum 10% chance of the villager giving you their photo when they reciprocate.
    • Getting a random campsite villager to move in is full of RNG, even more so if you want them to kick a specific villager out. It is random whether your dialogue with the villager will give you a chance to invite them. If you invite them to stay, it is random whether they will flat-out reject you, challenge you to a card game that decides whether they will move in (or rarely) agree immediately. If they challenge you to a card game, it can randomly be a 1-in-2 (card colour) or a 1-in-4 (card suit) game of pure chance. Fortunately, you have unlimited attempts until the 5am daily reset, so you can mash the A button until the villager agrees to move in. However, if they move into a full town, they will pick a random villager to replace (and that villager will not change under normal circumstances), so if they pick a villager you intend to keep, you have to soft reset at the right moment and start all over again!
    • Getting "swag" from the Fishing Tourney or Bug-Off, or items from Redd's Raffle, is mostly luck; the game is nice enough to give you one of each item initially, but if you want multiples of anything (especially relevant for the Raffle, which gives some single-use consumable items like fireworks and bubble blowers), it could take a while to get the right items.
    • Returning a lost item to its owner without showing it to anyone else first (which gives the maximum friendship bonus) can be this. Investigating the lost item will either give a hint to the personality of the villager it belongs to, or hint that it belongs to a villager with low friendship with the player. If you have multiple villagers satisfying the criteria, it is down to luck whether you find the correct one on the first try.
    • Getting maximum friendship points for the "sick villager" sidequest. To do so, you need to have another villager tell you that said villager is ill and have medicine ready the first time you visit the sick villager. Whether another villager will inform you of that villager's illness in a conversation is down to luck.
    • The Halloween event introduced pumpkins. When you plant pumpkins using pumpkin sprouts, the plant, when fully grown, will eventually produce pumpkins in one in four colours, with orange being far more common than the other three. You won't know what colour the pumpkins are until the pumpkins are ready for harvesting, and once the pumpkin colour is revealed, that is the only colour of pumpkin that that plant will produce. Fortunately, planting a pumpkin of a specific colour guarantees a plant that produces that colour of pumpkin, so you can multiply rarer pumpkins quickly.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": If other villagers are near you when a wasp nest falls out of a tree or when an attacking tarantula/scorpion is in the vicinity, they're just as panicked as you are.
  • The Maze: During the first week of May, Tom Nook grants the player as special Nook Miles ticket in honor of May Day, which transports them to a unique hedge maze island, filled with narrow passages and holes to jump across. Getting to the end requires finding tools and materials hidden throughout the maze. Reaching the end rewards you with several bell vouchers (more can be reached if you play perfectly) and lets you meet Rover, who gives away his briefcase as a furniture item.note 
  • Meaningful Name: The dodos who run the airport are named Orville and Wilbur, as in fellow flight enthusiasts The Wright Brothers.
  • Mech vs. Beast: One of the possible programs that may appear on television furniture is what appears to be a toku movie of the Robot Hero fighting the Monster (the same as the ones available at the Nook Stop terminal).
  • Military Alphabet: Wilbur uses the NATO variation frequently, tying in with his profession as a pilot. The only major liberty is that "Whiskey" (W) is replaced with "Whisker," acting both as Bowdlerization and a case of Hold Your Hippogriffs (given the game's cast of anthropomorphic animals).
  • Missing Secret: Manila clams have all the traits of a standard "Critter" item: there's an animation and text box when you dig one up, they have a unique pockets icon and the "Show it off!" option when selected, they don't stack, and they can't be thrown away with a trash can. However, the game counts them as part of the "Other" category with other crafting materials, so they can't be donated to the museum or placed on display. Even after deep-sea creatures were added into a later update, manila clams still don't directly qualify as a critter.
  • Moby Schtick: When you catch a whale shark—technically a fish, not a whale, but the biggest ocean fish in the game—your character shouts "THAR SHE BLOWS!"
  • Money Spider:
    • Each day, one of the rocks on your island will dispense Bells (instead of stones, iron, and clay) when smacked with a shovel, ten non-fruit trees will randomly drop 100 Bells each and two trees will have a piece of furniture everyday. Best not to question who keeps stuffing them in there, or how. Sometimes the Dodo Airline will deliver you to an island with several boulder banks, and most of them have a piece of furniture hidden somewhere.
    • More literally, some bugs and fish can be sold for massive amounts of money. Scorpions and tarantulas are worth 8000 Bells a piece, and Wasps for 2500 bells each. The Barreleye is worth a whopping 12000 at Nook's Cranny or 18000 with CJ.
  • Monster Clown:
    • Implied. Lazy villagers may recount the time a birthday clown showed up for a party and never left, sometimes hearing honking coming from inside the walls of their old house. Villagers who move out to let campsite visitors move in might mention "night clowns" as their reason for leaving the island.
    • Also discussed. Sometimes Lazy villagers will talk about pizza, and how hating pineapple as a topping is trendy like being afraid of clowns or being grossed out by the word moist.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The crafting animation involves sawing, hammering, and dramatic clouds of dust, which creates a comical effect when, depending on the recipe, the process of crafting should really be something gentle. For instance, the succulent plant would be made by arranging plants in a can, and the recycled boots would be the product of merely putting two fished-up boots next to each other, but they get the dramatic woodshop tools and animations all the same, with the same amount of triumph. Plus, if any NPC is nearby, they'll applaud you when you finish.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: The player characters look as skinny as ever, but a snack can let them shatter rocks with a single swing of a shovel or an axe or dig up entire trees to stuff into their pockets. And just as in previous games, they are able to fish up and hold giant fish like tuna and sharks with nothing but a plain old rod and their bare hands.
  • Musical Nod:
    • The latter half of the title screen theme sounds similar to the latter half of the original game's title screen theme.
    • As mentioned above in Call-Back, the theme that plays in K.K. Slider's monologue is done in a very similar style to the opening theme from the GameCube game.
    • When you move into your tent, you receive a radio, which occasionally plays hourly themes from New Leaf alongside K.K. Slider tunes.
    • The Bunny Day theme is a direct remake of the New Leaf equivalent, with live instrumentation.
    • Among K.K. Slider's new "fake" songs (the ones that play when you request an invalid title), one is the title theme from Wild World and City Folk.
    • The Wedding Event theme is a slower remake of the Re-Tail theme from New Leaf.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: When Nook shows you your first bill, two of your options for the reaction are confusion about Bells (the AC world's currency). Nook thinks you're joking for a second before he realizes that you're not and apologizes.
  • My Name Is ???:
    • When visiting Nook's Cranny some time after it's built, you may find Timmy and Tommy talking to Mabel from the Able Sisters store, but the text boxes display her name as "???" until Timmy addresses her by name.
    • When accessing the Dream function for the first time, Luna's text box displays her name as "???" until she identifies herself.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the three flavor texts for the squid is "I caught a squid! Do they...not actually 'bloop'?" This nods back to the flavor text for the same creature in Doubutsu no Mori e+ (in which it debuted), which translates to "I caught a squid! It's a Blooper!"
    • The Roost contains framed photos of its history near the entrance. Of the three there, one is a screenshot of K.K. performing at the Roost in Animal Crossing: Wild World, the other is a drawing of the Roost's building in Animal Crossing: New Leaf; the third meanwhile is an entirely original image of Blathers & Brewster.

     N to S 
  • "El Niño" Is Spanish for "The Niño": Smug villagers may greet the player with "buongiorno" and explain that it's Italian for "it's gonna be a great giorno".
  • National Geographic Nudity: Though player characters can never wear less than a pair of shorts and undershirt, several of Redd's statues—most notably the Gallant Statue and Beautiful Statue—are partly or entirely nude and, er, anatomically correct. The game maintains its E rating partly because these are replicas of famous real-life sculptures, and partly because they were not in the game on release day.
  • Nerf:
    • The 1.2.0 patch evens out the spawn rate of bugs, making less valuable species more likely to appear over more lucrative ones during months where the latter were previously unusually common. This, for instance, makes the "tarantula/scorpion island" exploit, where a player can make these bugs more likely to spawn by removing all plants on a mystery island, more of a grueling task. The same patch also lowered the ABD's interest rate, making it more difficult to build up Bells by time traveling forward.
    • The chances of a villager showing up at the campsite, compared to New Leaf, is much less common.
    • The Rainbow Stag, which previously sold for 10,000 bells, now sells for 6,000 bells instead.
  • Never Say "Die": Two decorative items you can craft are the "western-style stone" and "zen-style stone," which are very obviously gravestones (the latter being the traditional-Japanese variety) with the word "grave" removed. Some Western players have used the latter as an ordinary decoration, seemingly without realizing what it resembles. Strangely, the "golden casket" goes uncensored, though it looks more like an ancient-Egyptian sarcophagus.
  • No Fair Cheating:
    • As a deterrent to "time traveling", turning back your system's clock will cause any and all turnips, both in your possession and on the island, to instantly spoil.note 
    • Some players hack their island into what is called a "treasure island", where foreign players can travel to their island, sell a stack of turnips for an absurdly negative price, then return to their island and find 999,999,999 Bells in their own ABD savings. The side effect: the sales counter for "Conquering the Stalk Market" counts a nine-figure loss, putting that achievement effectively out of reach.
    • There is no way for players to drop their bugs, fish and sea creatures to be picked up, which means players cannot give their creatures to other players. If you want to get every single creature in the game and complete your Critterpedia and Museum, you have to catch them all by yourself!
    • Taking more than 20 minutes to design a villager's home in Happy Home Paradise gives a further bonus to the player's "rank" (a hidden system that determines the player's grade and correspondingly, salary) and will cause the villager, when next visited, to give the player one piece of flooring, wallpaper or rug used in the design. Simply leaving the game open for 20 minutes will not work - the timer pauses after 1 minute of inactivity!
  • Nobody Poops: If you're lucky enough to get a toilet and make yourself full eating fruit, you can avert this. While it's obviously not depicted, the player's stomach, represented by the number of fruits eaten, drains back to 0.
    And that takes care of that!
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The "dresses" category of clothing included not just dresses, but anything that covers the whole body, such as robes, jumpsuits, and overalls. Many of these are also themed costumes, which prompted the 1.2.0 patch to give the category a more appropriate name, "dress-up".
    • As in previous mainline installments, the "orange pansy" isn't truly orange, but red with a yellow center. While full-orange pansies exist in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, they are renamed "coral pansies" to avoid confusion.
  • Noodle Implements: When a villager is "thinking," indicating they need help with something, one of the random messages they can mutter is "Hmm... But where will I get lasers?"
  • Noodle Incident:
    • A smug villager might have the following to say during Festivale:
      Smug: Festivale is a time where I can really challenge myself as a dancer and push society's boundaries. Don't worry—I won't push them too far. We all remember what happened last time.
    • A smug villager may talk about how they're banned worldwide from aquariums, refusing to say why other than a nebulous "merman incident". That they can still visit your island's museum aquarium is completely unmentioned.
    • If you talk to a lazy villager during your player's birthday party, they'll mention how it took four tries to get the piñata right. The first one broke on its own, the second one was empty, and the third one...
  • "No Peeking!" Request: Some villagers will ask you to turn around when they change into the clothing item you just gave them.
  • Not Completely Useless:
    • In past games, the trash items (old boots, tires, and cans) found by fishing were just inventory filler and a way to attract flies, and you would need to pay shopkeepers to get rid of them unless you had a trash can. In New Horizons, getting them can inspire your islander to make DIY recipes that require them, so the trash becomes a nice rare find. The actual worst item you can pull is a single stone, since you can get stones faster by bashing rocks.
    • Weeds are now a crafting material for a large number of DIY recipes.
    • If any of Gulliver's communicator parts haven't been given to him before he leaves, they turn into rusted parts; one also spawns in the resident services recycling bin if his sidequest is finished that day. These rusted parts are just trash... unless you're working to build the robot hero, which requires 30 rusted parts for its DIY recipe.
    • One rare island has a river where you can only fish up trash, and most insects don't appear. It doesn't have any hybrid flowers or rare fruit either, so it may seem worthless (unless you're specifically looking for trash, as mentioned above). However, if you're playing during a season where giant water bugs spawn, you can make a tidy profit off of it; these normally rare bugs will swarm the river and can then be sold for 2,000 Bells eachnote .
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: If Gulliver washes up on your island, he asks the player to collect the missing pieces of his broken communicator so he can call for help. If another player on the same island checks the beach, they will find Gulliver washed up on shore, still needing a rescue. According to him, he was taking a nap while waiting for rescue and mentions that the first player already helped him fix his communicator, only to look down and find it broken again. Supposedly, the waves knocked the parts loose while he was napping and now he's asking the second player for help fixing the communicator that the first player already helped fix. Gulliver is also just so accident prone that he'll end up falling off his boat again in 2-3 weeks time. His pirate counterpart Gullivarr is similar in both of these manners.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • With the exception of the axe, iron tools can actually be customized. While it seems strange that this can be done to breakable equipment, the game doesn't tell the player that it resets the tool's durability by replacing the old tool with a new one of the chosen variation. If the player suspects that their fishing rod is on the verge of breaking, they can simply customize it.
    • While each mystery tour island is meant to be unique with their own quirks, with one being specifically the "terror bug island" (i.e. the island that spawns only tarantulas or scorpions, depending on the season), the player can actually force most of the islands into limiting the spawn of bugsExplanation  to the point where it becomes a makeshift terror bug island. The only excluded mystery tour island type is the one that doesn't spawn insects at all. However, mystery islands with rivers can spawn giant water bugs during certain months, hindering the tarantula spawn rate, so riverless islands are optimal.
    • Nook Mile Tickets were meant to be taken straight to Dodo Airlines to visit mystery islands, but because each one represents a roll for a random villager (and thus value that Bells cannot buy)note , "NMTs" have become the de facto currency for online players. You can't buy tickets with Bells (except from other players), so there's no shortcut to generating them; and any that do get produced are quickly consumed by villager-hunters, so the number of them in circulation is relatively stable. Of note is that apart from villager trading, NMTs were the only way to get the first 8 new villagers in New Horizons (including the extremely popular Raymond) until the release of fifth series of Animal Crossing amiibo cards.
    • Unlike earlier games, running through flowers won't kill them; it'll just have a chance at reverting them to the bud stage. However, flowers in this stage can still breed, and unlike blooming flowers, they can't be plucked (plucking flowers reverts them to stems, which can't breed). As such, if you have a field of breeder flowers you can't block off to visitors for whatever reason, you can intentionally trample them to keep them safe from thieves.
    • Unlike in previous entries, the player can have up to 10 player type residents on their island with this feature being added with the intended purpose of having multiple people live on the same island and play together with Party Mode. The villagers even treat the second profile as a different person when they’re interacted with. Adding more profiles, can also be good for having extra storage if your main house storage is full which a lot of players instead use it for. Players have also opted to add more houses for other uses such as making themed buildings (e.g. bath houses, diners, hotels) for other players to visit. As of the Dream Island update, all player villagers will walk around the island as NPCs when another player visits the dream version of the island, so some players use multiple player houses to add more NPCs for dream visitors to interact with.
    • Flowers will not propagate onto custom paths. Some players thus apply completely invisible custom paths over grass to control where flowers propagate, saving time on gardening.
    • Shrubs count as trees for the purpose of Nook Miles+ quests and Island Evaluations, but unlike trees, you don't need to eat fruit to dig them up when they're fully grown. This makes them usable as makeshift fence gates for places you want to be able to access while others are visiting but still protect from those visitors, as only the host and anyone they trusted enough to mark as a "best friend" can use a shovel to dig them up.
    • Following on from New Leaf, cushions can have custom designs placed on them - and like most furniture, can now be placed outside. Custom designs have been created to make them appear to be something else with a similar shape, such as sacks of fertilizer or a packet of potato chips. Similarly, custom designs on wide-brimmed hats are often used to simulate cakes and other types of food.
    • Weeds have been significantly graphically overhauled since the earlier games, and even change their appearance with the seasons. The island rating is also no longer significantly affected by themnote . Some players thus plant and breed significant quantities of weeds as decoration.
    • Resident Services includes a function to move a villager's house, aiding the player in reconfiguring their island. However, the villager moving-out algorithm is programmed to make sure that villagers who are in the process of having their house moved cannot ask to leave the island. Some players use this to speed up the process of getting specific villagers to move out by finding out if a villager is about to ask to move out, inquiring at Resident Services to move said villager's house, then cancelling the move. This clears the "moving out" flag from the villager. Since the player did not tell the villager to stay in the "asking to move out" dialogue sequence (which triggers a 5-day cooldown during which no villager will ask to move), the game will re-roll for another villager to ask to move out the next day. Conversely, by holding on to the moving kit of a villager whom the player wants to keep, that villager can be excluded from the pool of villagers who can ask to move out.
    • After collecting two DIY recipes, the "document stack" item can be converted into "scattered papers" and back ad infinitum. Some players thus keep a document stack in their inventory so that they can quickly clear the Nook Miles+ goal to "craft 3 DIY items" if it appears.
    • Fake art is intended to be unsellable in-game and of little use... unless you go online, where both real and fake art are in demand, and fake art can still be traded for significant amounts of Nook Miles Tickets!
    • Before the arrival of partitions in Happy Home Paradise, the "climbing wall" item, particularly the "natural" variation, was often turned around and used as a de facto wooden panel.
    • Saving and quitting has a couple of unorthodox uses, such as re-rolling villager states to get a villager out of an ungiftable state or resetting the global thought bubble cooldown to help ascertain if a villager's thought bubble is the persistent "moving-out thought bubble".
    • Making a fruit garden is easy enough, but what about a vegetable garden? Since crops didn't exist before the Halloween update (and didn't include crops beyond the pumpkin until 2.0), and the only other actual vegetable—the turnip—goes rotten if not sold a week after buying, other items have been used as vegetables, such as white mum cushions for cabbages and yellow hyacinths for corn. Red pansy buds are popularly used as strawberries.
    • Patch 1.9.0 introduced custom design umbrellas. Some users swiftly figured out that their hexagonal shape made them great canvases for isometric illustrations. As a result, there are custom designs for umbrellas that make the umbrella look like a box-shaped item, such as a cat in a pethouse or a wooden box full of fruits. To complete the illusion, the umbrella is placed with its canopy directly facing the camera.
    • Face-cutout standees also returned in patch 1.9.0. Within hours of the patch's release, players had figured out that they could be used to simulate walls or items with circular windows, such as the side of a bus or the front of a building.
  • Notzilla: The "monster statue" available from the Nook Stop looks (and sounds) rather familiar.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: All NPCs that can walk can also teleport anywhere that doesn't require a vaulting pole or ladder to reach, much to the dismay of players who attempt to fence-in their unwanted villagers. Particularly obvious when a villager is assigned to be somewhere other than "outside" or "in their home" - you could walk out of a building and then re-enter, only to find that said villager has teleported inside.
  • Old Save Bonus: Having account data for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp linked to your Nintendo Account allows you to pick up a Special Order Ticket for use in New Horizons. Redeeming it in the Nintendo eShop via code ports several Pocket Camp goods as furnishings for use on your island, such as the Brake Tapper machine, Fortune Cookie Cart, and miniatures of the camper vans.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Effectively; few things can actually harm you, but two of those (tarantulas and scorpions) knock you out in one hit, and wasps take only two hits to do the same. Fortunately, Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, so all you lose from "dying" is the opportunity to capture the critter that took you out.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When someone with an upgraded Museum is ready to open Roost Café in Version 2.0, the player will find Blathers up during the day pondering something.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: The first time you initiate one of the networked services at Dodo Airlines (traveling to other islands, traveling specifically over network play, or accepting visitors from other islands), Orville says that the "legal eagles" need you to read the terms of service.
  • Overhead Interaction Indicator: Villagers will sometimes have a thought bubble above their heads, indicating a concern that provides an opportunity for the player. These concerns include giving the player a nickname, developing a new catchphrase, wanting to sell or gift something, or moving away from the island. Other times, they'll just share a random thought with the player.
  • Oxygen Meter: It's not shown, and this being Animal Crossing you don't drown, but you can only dive underwater for a little under 10 seconds before your character will automatically surface for air.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Furniture and clothing items are presented in the catalog as one item with variations, instead of each having a separate entry like in previous games. These variations can be simple texture swaps, like the mug coming in several colors and patterns, or feature deeper changes to the model, such as the frying pan containing different dishes.
    • Wallpapers and floors still come in palette-swapped forms, but unlike the above, they remain separate items.
  • Panacea: Downplayed. Medicine is only seen treating two things, but those two things are wildly different (wasp stings and whatever sick villagers are sick with), yet it treats both equally well.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: The "shiny-bows parasol", complete with lace, bows, and ruffles. Comes in four color variations: blue, pink, white, and purple.
  • Parody of Evolution: The museum's hall of fossils has branching lines on the floor leading to different exhibits, depicting the evolutionary tree. The lines eventually lead to a window in the last room with silhouettes of different villager species, some connected to other fossils, lightly poking at the fact that evolution in this universe has culminated in humanoid animals. The line next to the monkey and connected to the australopithecus has no silhouette; if you stand in that spot behind the window, a light comes on as if you have been added to the evolutionary tree, representing humans.
  • Photo Mode: The Nookphone has a Camera app, which allows the player to take a picture of their character and pick from a few filters. The 2.0 update adds a handheld mode, allowing the player to see from their character's point of view, and a tripod mode.
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
    • The "magical dress" is a classic Magical Girl-style dress, complete with lace, ruffles, Giant Poofy Sleeves, and a bow in the front adorned with a heart.
    • A few fancy mermaid-themed dresses can be obtained from Pascal in exchange for a scallop, with Seashell Bras, seashell-shaped ruffles, and belts made out of pearls.
  • Piñata Enemy:
    • Tarantulas and scorpions, the two dangerous bugs which are seasonal counterparts of each other, occasionally appear at night; if you can catch them without getting bit, each one sells for 8,000 Bells. A popular strategy for making money is to either hunt for the fabled Tarantula/Scorpion Island, or create one by visiting any random island and clearing all the trees and other objects to increase the chance of arachnid spawns.
    • Less arachnophobia-inducing techniques include fishing for koi at ponds at night, or catching lucrative butterflies like peacock or emperor butterflies or their beetle counterparts like the giraffe beetle.
    • In this game, wasps are exceptionally easy to catch with the right technique. note  Five wasp spawns are possible per day, and each sells for 2,500 bells each (that's a daily profit of 12,500 bells), in addition to providing a wasp nest that can be used in DIY recipes to make honeycomb flooring, wallpaper, and medicine.
  • Play Every Day: In addition to the series staples...
    • Most sources of DIY materials (trees, rocks etc.) only give a certain amount of materials per day, resetting the next day.
    • Once you pay off your moving-in fee, you gain access to Nook Miles+, daily tasks that give a small amount of Nook Miles when completed. The first five daily tasks give double the Nook Miles they usually award, and on rare occasions, one will give quintuple rewards.
    • Accessing the Nook Stop every day gives you Miles for how many consecutive days you've done so, starting with 50 miles on day one and capping out at 300 miles on day seven; every following consecutive day in a streak will net you 300 miles. While the cap does come oddly early, it makes it easy to build back up to should you end up breaking the streak.note 
    • With the expanded gifting system, you have one chance every day to give a gift to each of your villagers. This is the primary means of raising friendship levels with them.
    • Every morning, a message in a bottle arrives with a random DIY recipe. Similarly, each day provides three opportunities to find a villager who is busy crafting or cooking and thus obtain a random DIY or cooking recipe.
    • Every day, two random non-fruit trees will release a random piece of furniture when shaken for the first time. These furniture can be in variations that are not (and will never be) sold in your island's Nook's Cranny. In addition, five random non-fruit trees will spawn wasp nests when first shaken. Wasps are extremely easy to catch and each sells for 2,500 bells.
    • The Wedding Season event is this, as it’s the first month long event implemented into New Horizons and requires the player to play the event for at least 6 days before they can obtain and trade for everything. Thankfully, they make good use of the time allotted by giving the player various reasons to want to travel to Harv’s Island and take pictures with Reese and Cyrus. For the first 6 days/photoshoots, taking photos of the couple awards the player free, customizable Wedding Themed items each day (One of which is the Wedding Organ which is 40 heart crystals otherwise. Quite expensive considering the max amount of heart crystals a player can get per day) as well as up to 11 heart crystals per day that can either be traded with Cyrus for more of his furniture or given to villagers who have unique reactions to receiving them as gifts. As well on day 6, the player will receive two free diys for the Wedding Wand and Wedding Fence. On day 7 onwards, Reese will no longer specifically request ceremony and reception type themes, allowing the player to use what furniture they want so long as it incorporates the color scheme she asks for. The max amount of heart crystals the player can receive per day is capped at 15, and all of the items for the wedding set are unlocked, allowing the player to spend the rest of their time trading for the other items.
    • Pumpkin plants take two days to produce pumpkins after being harvested. The number of pumpkins the plant produces depends on the number of days that it was watered. Thus, to obtain three pumpkins per plant, you must water your pumpkin plants once every day (if the rain or snow hasn't already done the job). The same rules apply to all produce introduced in the Version 2.0 update.
    • Kapp'n's boat tours are available only once per day, and they offer the big draw of allowing you to find a gyroid fragment on the island you visit, which you can bury on your own island and water in order to grow a full gyroid the following day. This is the only way to get gyroids besides when they appear after rainy days on your island, so taking a boat tour each day is necessary to complete your gyroid collection at a decent pace.
  • Point of No Return: After leaving a mystery island, you can never return to that specific island, so anything you may have left behind is gone forever. Wilbur warns you about this on your first trip, and makes you do a double-confirmation every time you fly back to base. Of course, this is putting aside the fact that there are only 25 different kinds of islands you can travel to and the only real differences between most of them are what can be found there. Played more straight with the May Day maze island; Tom Nook gives you only one ticket for it, so leaving early will lock you out of getting a special piece of furniture for a whole year.
  • Power-Up Food:
    • Edible items have always been, well, edible, but now there's a gameplay reason to do so, as it grants stamina to do things like break rocks with your shovel or axe or dig up full-grown trees. You can stock up to ten points of stamina, and the points can be cancelled by sitting on a toilet.
    • Most food items, like fruit, grant one feat of strength.
    • Starting in 2021, you can win frozen treats, cotton candy, and boba drinks from Redd's August fireworks stall. They can be "used" up to three times each, with each use granting one point of stamina.
    • Starting with Version 2.0, the cooking mechanic can make meals that provide all ten units of strength at once.
  • Promoted to Parent: Turns out Sable was this with Mable since Mable was young with their parent died. The same is true with little Label as well.
  • Pun With Pi: Starting from the version 1.8.0 update, players can order "π pies" from the Seasonal section of the Nook Shopping service from March 1st to 14th in honour of "Pi Day"note . To underscore the point, each pie is decorated with a "π" baked into the crust, and is even priced at 314 bells.
  • Punctuation Changes the Meaning: When a smug character gives you a gift to give to another villager, he tells you, "No rush", before he corrects himself, saying, "No, rush!"
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: There are absolutely no more restrictions to the character customization regarding gender, with only a switch in the "Face Paint/Other" section of the customization screen determining whether the game treats you as a boy or a girl (referred to as "style", and with significantly less impact overall), and you can change it at any point so long as you are in front of a mirror. Both genders can wear any clothing item, and characters do not account for the player's gender or even refer to them with gendered terms at all.
  • Random Number God:
    • At the start of every day, two non-fruit trees in your village will have furniture, five will have wasp nests, ten will have a stack of 100 bells.
    • At the start of every day, up to four fossils will appear in unoccupied spots of soil that aren't obscured by trees or buildings; if there are fossils that still haven't been dug up from the previous day/s the number caps at six before new fossils stop appearing.
    • At the start of every day, one glowing spot per player containing a bag of 1000 bells will appear in spots of soil that can grow trees; a stack/bag of bells can be buried back in the glowing spot to grow a bell tree. If between 2000-99000 bells are buried there will 3:7 odds that the three bags of bells the tree bears will be of same amount buried or the minimum amount possible: 1000 bells for 2000-9000 buried or 10000 bells for 11000-99000 buried.
    • At the start of every day, one rock will spawn bells when struck with a shovel or axe, the rest will spawn stones, clay, iron nuggets, or a gold nugget, up to eight bell/material drops per rock.
    • At the start of every day, if there are less than six rocks on your island, a new rock will randomly spawn on an unobstructed tile.
    • While you have total control over whether your villagers stay or leave, most of villager management, from move-out requests to who you'll find on mystery islands, is subject to RNG. The epitome of this randomness is random campers at the campsite - from start (whether a random camper will appear) to finish (the one villager that they will ask to replace), the whole process is full of randomness.
    • At the start of every day, one message bottle per player containing a DIY recipe will appear on the shore.
  • Rare Random Drop: Gold nuggets come from whacking rocks or popping blue balloons around 1% of the time, in place of the usual iron/stone/clay. They're needed for a number of popular recipes like the gold watering can and robot hero, so they're one of the most valuable items for trading.
  • Renovating the Player Headquarters: Brought Up to Eleven compared to previous games, with the player able to build up and customize an entire island.
  • Repeatable Quest:
    • Whenever Gulliver, Gullivarrr or Wisp shows up, they need your help in the same way every time. Gulliver needs you to find the parts of his broken communicator, while Wisp gets scared when you talk to him and loses pieces of his spirit that you need to retrieve. Gullivarrr requires you to find his missing communicator.
    • During the month of June, Cyrus and Reese are at Harv's Island taking pictures for their wedding anniversary. Players can pop in once per day to take a picture or set up a party.
  • Retcon: The museum development sequence received one in the 2.0. update. Prior to 2.0, the museum would be built with only a first floor and basement, and meeting Redd and obtaining an art piece would cause Blathers to expand the museum to have a second-floor art gallery. 2.0 introduces the Harv's Island commune where Redd can be set up, meaning he could ostensibly be met before the scripted first encounter. Perhaps because of this, for new players post-2.0, the museum starts out constructed with the second floor and art gallery already included. The new sequence may also be a patch for the flaw in the prior unlock sequence where not donating the art piece from Redd's first visit would essentially screw the player out of the museum upgrade until they could acquire a real art piece from another player, as Redd would not begin visits in the regular rotation and allow the player to obtain any more art if his artwork from that visit was lost and not donated or not obtained.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The running mystery behind what gyroids exactly are has been invoked further and possibly deepened in this game. The mechanic of being able to grow them in the earth out of fragments of gyroid pottery, with watering indicated by eerie vapors rising from the hole, raises several unsettling questions, especially since they were easier to regard as simple animate or haunted sculptures in previous games, but now seem decidedly more organic. The visual and material diversity of the new gyroids also brings up questions, since they no longer feel as unified in style or, perhaps, tradition, introducing questions of "what counts as/can become a gyroid"...at the same time as the game is suggesting that no one makes them in-universe. Furthermore, two of them, the stelloid and laseroid, seem decidedly extraterrestrial, rather than merely space-themed.
  • Same Character, but Different: The wave 1 Summer free update implemented on July 3rd does this with Gullivarrr, who washes up on the player' shore dressed as a pirate. Despite his quest and dialogue being similar to sailor Gulliver's, with minor differences such as the way the player finds his communicator as well as his dialogue being written to sound more pirate-y, he is treated as an entirely different character than Gulliver, and introduces himself as Gullivarrr mid-conversation, replacing the blue "Gulliver" name bubble with a red one. The rewards he gives the player for finishing the quest are also different from Gulliver's standard rewards, but are mailed the same way. This is taken even further, as Gullivarrr doesn’t recognize the player as someone he knows even if the player has interacted with Gulliver before. Gulliver and Gullivarrr can appear on the players island during the same week, but not on consecutive days, adding more mystery to whether they’re the same person, or if Gullivarrr is just a bird that happens to look similar to Gulliver. When the Series 5 set of Animal Crossing amiibo cards came out, Gulliver recieved a new card, but Gullivarrr was left out (Tom Nook and Isabelle, meanwhile, got two new cards each). The trailer pokes fun at this.
    New encounter! -player character interacts with "Gulliver"- New encounter...?
  • Scare Chord: Plays along with the "Shocked" emote, which most prominently shows up when you talk to and abruptly awaken a sleeping Blathers. Since he's an owl and sleeps all day, this will probably happen more often than not when you need to submit something to the museum (unless you prefer to make donations at night). You also get this sound effect whenever you lose out on a present by dropping it into water or knock a wasp nest out of a tree. Villagers also have this reaction if they're observing a bug and you scare the bug off by running past.
    Blathers: Hoooooo... WHO?!
  • Scenery Porn: Animal Crossing has never looked more gorgeous. The textures on the plant life look much more lifelike, and little details like the trees gently rustling in the wind or raindrops making the water ripple make the experience much more immersive. You can also treat yourself to some breathtaking views of the sunset over the ocean if you go to the northernmost part of the island at dusk.
  • Self-Deprecation: "_____ Trash" is one of the unlockable titles you can put on your passport. So you can call yourself "Accomplished Trash", "Carefree Trash", "Eco-Friendly Trash"...whatever you feel like.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • You can get a shovel before you're intended tonote  by traveling to a mystery island and buying one from Wilbur.
    • It's possible to get other tools prematurely by travelling to a friend's more developed island and buying them (or their DIY recipes, particularly the Ladder and Vaulting Pole) from the local shop.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When you catch a red dragonfly, your character will comment "Didn't even have to roll for initiative!" referencing Dungeons & Dragons.
    • One furniture piece that can be purchased with your Nook Miles is a giant Kaiju statue of a spike-backed reptilian monster that roars and breathes fire, essentially a knockoff Godzilla. It even plays a tinny theme parody.
    • The "robot hero", which looks like something out of Transformers or Gundam. Its color scheme, especially the helmet, appear to specifically homage Kamen Rider Drive.
    • One of the random island evaluations you might get for a one-star rating has a villager mention that they don't want it to be popular because, "It's a secret to everybody", referencing The Legend of Zelda.
    • Catching a horse mackerel results in the quip "of course, Mack... er... el", referencing the TV show Mister Ed.
    • The various television furniture in the game occasionally show a short scene from what appears to be a movie, where an evil-looking wizard and his henchman are standing on a balcony on top of a tower, adressing a large army beneath him in a menacing fashion, similar to the scene of Saruman addressing his uruk-hai army in the Peter Jackson version of The Two Towers.
    • The text for catching a great purple emperor butterfly features a nod to 80's pop/rock sensation Prince with the flavor text, "Its purple reign is over now!"
    • The official companion guide features a picture of a grey-haired Villager with a bowl-cut wearing glasses, who is shocked at a TV in a dark room, looking a lot like the main character and premise of Persona 4.
    • The "adventure dress" looks just like the one worn by titular character of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and even has the four card suits on its front.
    • The "dragon suit", aside from the large dragon insignia on the front, looks like it was lifted from Bruce Lee's iconic yellow tracksuit in Game of Death.
    • The "zap suit" and "noble zap suit" let you dress up as a Sentai, with the color variations being the most common colors for teams in Super Sentai: pink, blue, green, red, yellow, and black. The last two are silver and white, which are the colors most commonly used for Sixth Rangers.
    • The "magical dress" lets you dress up as a Magical Girl, and the color variations are the exact line-up from Yes! Pretty Cure 5: pink, yellow, green, blue, red, and purple. The last two variations are black and light blue, which resemble Cure Black and Cure White.
    • The "tulip surprise box" has a little princess figurine in it, likely a reference to Thumbelina, who was born from a tulip blossom.
    • The "peach surprise box" has a baby boy figurine inside, referencing how the title character of Momotarō is found.
    • The "bamboo doll" is a glowing stalk of bamboo with a baby doll inside, referencing Princess Kaguya from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.
    • The K.K. Slider song "K.K. Robot Synth", "K.K. Loid" in the Japanese version, is a shout-out to Vocaloid. His appearance on the cover of the record evokes the looks of Hatsune Miku and KAITO. As well, he holds a microphone that is commonly associated with the first Japanese Vocaloid, MEIKO.
    • Catching a great white shark prompts the message, "Watch out for its jaws!" Jaws is a story about a great white shark terrorizing a small town.
    • The comment for the Angelfish quips, "The other fish told me to do it!" referencing Angels in the Outfield.
    • It's probably not a coincidence that the clownfish and the surgeonfish (also known as a blue tang) are right next to each other in the Critterpedia.
    • When Gullivarrr sends the player pirate furniture in the mail, he signs his letters as "The Dread Pirate Gullivarrr". A key character from The Princess Bride is "The Dread Pirate Roberts".
    • During Bunny Day, peppy villagers may comment on finding colorful bottles washed up on the beach, saying that it inspired them to write some song lyrics. Said lyrics, appropriately, parody the chorus of "Message in a Bottle" by The Police.
      "Message in a bottle, ooooohhhh; Makes me hungry for a waffle, ooooohhhh."
    • Two of the Gaming Desktop item customization options ("Third-person game" and "First-person game") has an interface that resembles the chat program Discord as the left-most screen. In addition, the center monitor in the First-person game customization option displays a game that looks suspiciously similar to Splatoon.
    • Gruff the Goat's requested house theme in Happy Home Paradise is a "House of Horrors" horror-movie set. Included within the "Order" tab's suggested clothing for the theme is the hockey mask accessory.
    • If a smug villager invites you to their house, at the beginning of the visit they can greet you with "Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome".
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Many of the fossils have been designed or updated to reflect discoveries made since the last game. Particularly, the theropods have non-pronated hands, Tyrannosaurus rex has gastralium (belly ribs), Spinosaurus is based on the 2014 discovery (short hindlegs, a small pelvis, and a dip in the middle of the dorsal sail) and is actually one of the most scientifically accurate depictions of the dinosaur in popular media (even though the tail on it was rendered inaccurate a month after release), Stegosaurus has a longer neck and elevated tail, Ankylosaurus has half-rings on the neck, and Quetzalcoatlus is mounted as walking on the ground instead of flying.
    • The ancestral trail in the fossil exhibit has theropods being close to ornithischians rather than sauropods, alluding to the revived dinosaur clade Ornithoscelida. It also has Dimetrodon close to mammals, and birds close to Archaeopteryx and Deinonychus.
    • In his description for Deinonychus, Blathers points out the major difference between it and Velociraptor is that Velociraptor is only two feet high in real life (the large raptors from Jurassic Park are actually based on Utahraptor, which was mistaken for Deinonychus by both the film makers and the original author). He also states that both are believed to have had feathers.
    • The paintings and statues in the museum's art wing are all based on real art pieces of note, and each has a label explaining its source and history. Most of the fakes can be identified by looking up the real-world counterpart and playing spot-the-difference.
    • As much as flower hybrids are a Guide Dang It!, the crossbreeding mechanics is equivalent to school-level Mendelian genetics. If you write down the phenotype code of two parent flowers onto a Punnett Square, you'll get a solid hypothesis on the parents' offspring. As a result, it's possible for offspring to be carriers of recessive traits, contrary to looking like the parent flowers. Additionally, pink and orange hybrids accurately express incomplete dominance found in real-life flowers instead of simply being tied to color theory.
    • Many people who caught the horseshoe crab and donated it to the museum may be wondering where it is, as it isn't among the ocean tanks. It turns out that it's actually in the freshwater exhibit, in the tank reserved for species that live in brackish water (like the sturgeon, mitten crab and pond smelt). This reflects the real habitat of the animal, despite it being classed as a sea creature.
    • One of the few artwork that are always authentic is the "Familiar Statue", which as noted in its museum description that it was casted over 20 times, meaning that authentic pieces can be found all over the world such as this one.
  • Socialization Bonus: In addition to the series staples...
    • Certain stages of the tutorial phase can be breezed through if you have helpful friends to give you significant amounts of wood and iron nuggets, or even just more furniture and flowers to decorate your island (with which you can quickly reach the three-star rating needed to end the tutorial phase). In fact, with the help of a more seasoned player, a new player can even access certain key tools and DIY recipes long before they are intended to.
    • Visiting players can also donate towards the construction of bridges and inclines. With a few friends, even the most expensive bridges and inclines will be ready the next day.
    • You can get 800 Nook Miles once every day, simply by visiting another player's island. This is a substantial amount (2.5x what you get for accessing the Nook Stop, and worth even more than most x5 Nook Miles+ goals).
    • Certain Nook Miles achievements, in particular the "K.K. Slider concerts attended" and "villager birthdays celebrated" achievements, can be progressed even faster by flying to someone's island and attending another event. There are also two simple ones which are progressed by visiting other players and hosting other players.
    • Every island's Nook's Cranny will have a different selection of Hot Item(s) of the Day, which is a DIY item that can be sold back at twice the usual price. If you want to liquidate excess raw materials for the best price as quickly as possible, find a friend whose island has a Hot Item of the Day that you can craft and which uses the appropriate raw materials.
    • Thanks to having North and South Hemisphere settings, travelling to an island on the other side of the equator allows you to experience the opposite seasons' happenings, such as catching out-of-season critters to fill your Critterpedia quicker. With this, a Southern Hemisphere islander who bought the game on launch day could theoretically have completed their Critterpedia in mid-July without either player time-travellingnote .
    • A good amount of Nook Shopping furniture has variations (e.g. red and blue diner chairs). Before version 2.0 which introduced Reese and Cyrus on Harv's Island, there was no way to convert a variation of a catalogue item into any other variation. Any island will only ever have one particular variation of Nook Shopping furniture available for sale, and the chances to get the other variations in single player are highly limited (and for "expensive" items, pretty much non-existent). Thus, before version 2.0, the primary way to unlock other variations was to obtain or catalognote  other variations from other players. Even after Reese and Cyrus were introduced, "catalog-ing" remains useful as the fastest way to unlock Nook Shopping items and their variations.
    • If you visit another person's island, you too can go find the villager who is crafting or cooking and obtain the DIY or cooking recipe that they are giving out. This also applies to Celeste appearances, which is the only way to speed up collecting the star fragment DIY recipes. Also, most chances to acquire DIY or cooking recipes have the possibility of giving the player a recipe that they already know, whose only use is to be sent to someone else who doesn't have it.
    • Non-native fruit that are not coconuts sell for 500 bells, 5x the price of native fruit and twice the price of coconuts. If you sell your native fruit on an island with a different native fruit, you can get the full 500 bells for them. Even better, having a friend gift you a good amount of non-native fruit is a great way to start an orchard and generate a steady stream of Bells. More importantly, two out of the six types of fruits are impossible to obtain solonote , so you need someone to send them to you if you want them.
    • Flowers must be watered to breed, but the base chance, whether the flower is watered by a resident player, rain or a helpful villager (or any combination of the above), is only 5%. However, if a non-resident player waters a flower, there is a 15% bonus chance that the flower will propagate. This bonus can stack up to 5 times with 5 different visiting players watering your plants, for a base chance of propagation of 80%!
    • Played straight by the Fishing Tourney, but zig-zagged hard by the Bug-Off. While participating in either event with other players, the entry fee is waived and further bonus points are added to each player's point gains based on the whole group's total catches. However, the key difference is that fish bait exists, but not bug bait. Hence, in a Fishing Tourney, multiple players can throw in copious amounts of fish bait and rack up multiples of what a single player would have been able to catch, while maintaining the profit per player when they sell their individual catches. However, in a Bug-Off, the party will always be limited by the game's spawn rate for bugs. To make things worse, bugs (especially rare bugs) seem to spawn less often in multiplayer, hampering the party's point gains and individual profits from selling the bugs.
    • Zig-zagged with inviting villagers. A player with an empty plot can go to another player's island and invite a villager who is about to move out ("in boxes") to live on their island. However, playing online also exposes the player to the "void villager" system: playing online with another player can result in the first player silently and unavoidably picking up the data of a "void villager" who has moved out of the other player's island without being adopted. If the first player subsequently has an empty plot (either by placing one or having a villager leave) and fails to invite a new villager of their choice within one day, a "void villager" is guaranteed to forcibly move in and become a resident, depriving the player of their chance to invite a villager of their choice - all in a game where evicting villagers on demand is impossible unless you have an amiibo. Worst of all, considering the plethora of villager adoption groups and forums, said "void villager" is often a generally undesirable one who no one wanted to adopt, or a villager whose house is a complete mess because of indiscriminate gifting by the previous player.
  • Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying: Just like previous iterations of Animal Crossing, what is called the "Emperor Butterfly" in the English translations is actually the Blue Morpho and not the Purple Emperor (the latter of which actually has its own separate entry in this game). The long-standing translation error for the wasps (called "bees" in previous games) has been corrected, though.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Various items have a sound to indicate when they’re nearby. For example, the player will be able to hear balloons blowing in the wind when they’re nearby.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The mystery tour islands have a very calming theme that plays even when you're on the dreaded "tarantulas only" and "scorpions only" islands.
  • Spooky Painting: Some of the artwork that Redd sells you is not only fake, but also apparently haunted, and can change appearance depending on the time of day. For example, one version of the Girl with a Pearl Earring painting will actually open and close her eyes.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Villagers acknowledge when you’ve interacted with them multiple times, with some being more passive aggressive about the constant interactions than others. They also have unique dialogue for visiting them multiple times in their houses within a certain timespan. As well, talking to a villager 5 or more times in a row can cause them to become burnt out and not want to talk to you for a while until the scrambled thought bubble goes away.
  • Stylistic Suck: If you fish up enough garbage, you'll unlock DIY recipes for filled garbage bags, and wallpaper and flooring for your house that resembles a landfill. The only reason you'd ever want to use these items— if not to sell them— is to intentionally make your house look like a dumpster. Similarly, there's a set of worn-out clothes (e.g. Torn pants, Shattered glasses) that make you look like you're a poor dumpster diver, and the Sloppy furniture set, which makes your house look unkempt.
  • Sudden Name Change: The K.K. Slider song "Señor K.K." has been renamed to "K.K. Mariachi", a first for the series (discounting formatting changes, such as "K.K. Etude" versus "K.K. Étude").
  • Super Swimming Skills: Initially, players couldn't swim at all—with an Invisible Wall at the water's edge to enforce this—but the first summer update added wetsuits, which transform you into an unstoppable swimming machine. You can only stay underwater for a few seconds at a time, but can swim around at full speed forever without needing to rest.
  • Surprise Creepy:
    • The lazy villagers can have a line of dialogue like this.
      Lazy Villager: The best tasting island is [insert player's island name]! Everything tastes good! [suddenly making a scary face] Everything.
    • The haunted forged art can also be this if the player isn't expecting it.
    • Sometimes, when a campsite visitor moves in, they'll talk to a random villager who the visitor will relay a message for:
      They said that were already considering moving out, on account of all the night clowns.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Just like Main Street, Harv's plaza serves as a successor to the City, as a hub of various shops and characters.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • If a peppy villager sees you with a shovel, they get concerned about what you've dug up. Fortunately for you, they certainly haven't buried 73 pitfall traps around the island.
    • When you first meet Zipper, the patron saint of Bunny Day, he makes sure to let you know he is not a person wearing a rabbit costume. He has a zipper on his back, and will act noticeably irritated if you try talking to him from behind. When he finds out you've been making up your own DIY recipes for the eggs, he'll slip and grumble that maybe next year you should be in the bunny costume.note 
     T to Z 
  • Temporary Online Content: Although this is more of an offline thing, the Nature Day event was previously an event that was added in version 1.2.0 that allowed the player to earn extra Nook Miles by participating in garden-related activities. As a similar Nook Shopping event has taken the spot of the Nature Day event, as of version 1.9.0, the standard Nature Day evnet is no longer accessible.
  • Terrain Sculpting: A new feature added to this installment is the ability to alter the landscape, such as covering up rivers or digging away cliffs, if you so choose. However, you are only allowed to do this after attracting K.K. Slider to the island and viewing the credits.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Every villager is coded to have a specific food and drink for their basic eating and drinking animations. For example, Biff will eat a lollipop and drink a can of soda. In addition, in the warmer seasons, villagers will occasionally drink the juices of your island's signature fruit and may bring it up in chats. When conversing with villagers on other islands, they will frequently ask if the player knows/has tried their island's native fruit.
  • Tradesnark™: The English version dubs the online password system Dodo Code™. (Most other languages omit the trademark symbol or simply call them passwords.)
  • Transformation Name Announcement: Using a wand to equip a saved outfit causes the player to say the name of the saved outfit.
  • Transformation Trinket: Wands allow you to save several different outfits and magically swap between them, without needing to rummage through a dresser.
  • Trash of the Titans: Cranky villagers, when discussing the theory that objects have souls, will mention having stacks of paper plates nine feet tall in their garage, because their belief that objects have souls makes them feel bad about throwing things away.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • Subversion: the game may assign you Nook Miles+ missions that are impossible to complete—for example, asking you to sell items or have fossils assessed when the relevant facilities are closed for renovations. However, you can fulfill these goals by visiting another player's island, if you're able.
    • The Nature Day update featured a rather severe bug involving Redd. Specifically, if you talk to Blathers after making 60 donations and he announces the intent to upgrade the museum, buy the first art piece from Redd (which will always be genuine) and then gift it away or sell it instead of donating it, your museum will never upgrade and once Redd leaves he will never visit your island ever again, leaving your museum stuck without an art wing.note  The reason most people didn't encounter this bug was because of Complacent Gaming Syndrome, it was discovered by a player whose young son gave the painting away when she left him with the Switch unsupervised. This was eventually addressed in version 2.0 by removing that initial Redd encounter and having the museum start with the art wing when built.
    • The July 2020 update features a very major bug in regards to getting the Mermaid DIYs. Usually whenever you get a scallop, Pascal will offer to obtain your scallop in exchange for either a piece of Mermaid clothing, a Mermaid DIY, or a pearl. However, should one have any Mermaid furniture catalogued, Pascal will not give that particular furniture its respective recipe, making it impossible to complete the Mermaid set (unless you make another account to get the DIY recipes from) if by chance you already catalogued the entire set alone.
  • Unseen No More: Prior to the Version 2.0 update, Mr. Resetti and his brother Don were only present in the game as voices when using the Rescue Service, and can't be contacted with amiibo. They can now be occasionally seen in person at the Roost, and have all the amiibo functionality of the other special characters.
  • Vague Age: Even more so than the previous games with most types of villager save for the Cranky types, who make it explicitly clear that they're older than everyone else, and the Snooty types, who seem adult-like for the most part.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The cruel things you could always do to the villagers return: whacking them with a net, not curing their flea problem, leading them into pitfalls, etc. It’s also common to build fences around villagers’ homes to get them to leave.
    • You can trigger Blathers's fear of bugs by showing off any bug in the main room of the museum while he is awake; he will become visibly uncomfortable.
    • Pitfalls seeds are DIY items in this game, meaning that the player has to craft and place them to torment their villagers, rather than them just appearing where an unwitting villager has chosen to walk by chance.
    • The easiest way to get lots of "rusted parts" for constructing a Robot Hero is to wait for Gulliver to wash up on your beach, dig up his communicator parts, then not return them. If you hold onto them until the next day, they become rusted parts. Giving them back to him rewards you with one part (found in the island recycle bin) and a random special item, but not doing so earns you 5 parts (and no special item). Without those components, Gulliver can't fix his phone to call his shipmates, but that's his problem, apparently. Not helping is the implication that his shipmates are ignoring him for being too frequent a repeat offender when he does get the communicator fixed and puts out the distress call. Same thing happens with Gullivarrr; if you don't return his water-logged communicator, it degrades into a stack of five rusted parts the next day.
    • June's "Wedding Season" event sees the player setting up wedding anniversary photos for Reese and Cyrus on Harv's Island. Some players have gotten... a bit off-track with that request. Humorously, it’s still possible for Reese to like the photos with wacky set designs.
    • The dislike of Bunny Day has led to players putting Zipper in a cell made from the jail bars DIY simply for his association with the event.
    • Averted starting in version 1.3.0: after said update running bugs no longer fall into water if chased to the edge, instead they fly, jump, or skitter away depending on their locomotive capabilities (hopping bugs can still go in, though). Released non-flying bugs will drop at the player's feet and flee in the same way.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential:
    • Despite the measures taken to maintain the E-rating, people have gotten... creative when it comes to getting around them. Shaving off one of the Ls on "Hell", for example, or naming their home Pen Island. More ambitious players have abused the custom outfit designer to create nude-suits, and players are full-on uploading pornographic images with the QR scanner. They will be reported if posted online, but if you don’t...
    • Harv's Island, being a free-for-all photo studio, opens up the game to quite some abuse as shown on Taiwanese and Hong Kong social media accounts. Sure, it'll be tame since Scenery Censor has to be used to murky out the scene and invite the viewer to use their imagination, but with some carefully set emotions, strategically placed furniture and careful camera angles (and maybe nude-suits), you can imply one villager is doing the deed with another... Not helping is the fact that the main room accidentally resembles a Casting Couch room.
    • And, as always, the custom designs can be used for any kind of artwork. New to New Horizons is the ability to display canvases of your designs on your wall at multiple heights, which combined with the much more easily obtainable villager posters this time around has already lead to some...weird images going around on the internet.
    • Statue of Michelangelo's David. Punching bag. Wonky camera angle. Comedic Sociopathy ensues.note 
    • There is no apparent profanity filter for the characters nor the player; while there is one for letters and bulletin board messages, in which typed-out offensive words are rendered as an asterisk, there isn't one for anything beyond that. Due to this, there have been some hilarious mishaps where islanders have picked up and reiterated inappropriate words used by players. You can also name your island pretty much anything due to the lack of a filter. And let's not get started on non-English cuss words, romanized from non-Latin alphabet or otherwise, which the game seemingly ignoresnote .
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • Hitting a villager repeatedly with a net, not surprisingly, upsets them, and costs you three friendship points. If you apologize, there's a 20% chance you'll gain those three points back; if this happens, and you talk to them a second time, you get another three points. Combining this with Save Scumming lets you grind to max friendship by whacking your "friend" with a net over and over.note 
    • One of the trash DIY recipes is for (filled and tied up) trash bags. If you place it outside, not only does it contribute positively to your island rating, it even gives an additional bonus because it has the "outdoor" tag.
  • Viral Unlockable: Zig-zagged with the Pitfall recipe. You can randomly obtain a DIY card with the recipe from a bottle, balloon or Jock villager, but you can also learn how to craft one by digging up a Pitfall that another player has set, which causes you to come up with the recipe on the spot.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Per usual, the player character is this but the villagers themselves can become this when invited to Harv's Island, giving the player the option to choose what they wear for the photo shoots and scene set ups.
  • Virtuous Bees: This installment finally corrects the translation error by making the bees that attack you into wasps, so now only the completely peaceful honeybees are left. Blathers even admits (if a bit reluctantly) that bees are a bug "a wee bit less ghastly than most, I admit."
  • We Buy Anything: Timmy and Tommy will buy everything the player presents to them, including weeds this time. Lampshaded by Tom Nook, who comments that this isn't a particularly sound business plan.
  • Welcome to Corneria: The first time you chat with one of your villagers in a day while they're outside, they will say one of several preset lines based on their personality. Slightly alleviated with version 2.0 that slightly expanded said dialogue pool.
    Jock villager: I like to name my muscles. Like, in my six pack, I've got Abigail, Abdul, Abe, Abby, Abel, and Abner. My abs!
    Lazy villager: The weather is great today! I'm gonna lay down in the grass and talk to some bugs!
    Snooty villager: Isn't this weather gorgeous, [catchphrase]? It makes [island name] look as if it could be the background for a fashion shoot!
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: The villagers, male or female, have no qualms against wearing dresses or suits regardless of their gender. The smug villagers outright say they don't mind wearing anything so long as it's cute.
  • Wicked Wasps: The creatures previously localized as "bees" have finally been correctly localized as wasps,note  and as in previous games, they will sting you if you shake them out of a tree. New to this game is that if you get stung while you've still got a puffy eye, the sting will knock you out just like a tarantula or scorpion attack.
  • Wish Upon a Shooting Star: Whenever meteors appear, you can look up at the sky using the right stick and wish upon the meteor, represented by said meteor glowing brightly when wished upon. The next day, star fragments will wash up on shore. How many you get depends on how many wishes you made, and you may get fragments of specific stars or constellations as well. Unlike previous games, though, you won't always get the same number of items as the number of wishes you made. Celeste sometimes appears at night, giving out recipes for items which require these star fragments to create.
  • Word-Salad Humor: Wilbur's codenames when you talk to him about returning from an island are complete nonsense, which just makes them sillier when combined with his stone-faced personality.
    Bellbottom Surf Rock this is Stovetop Pocket Watch, do you require assistance?
    Trainwreck banana bread is reporting tango step aerobics is go.
  • You Have Researched Breathing:
    • You can't use Emote Animations until one of your villagers teaches you your first one, so you cannot smile, express surprise, etc. until someone shows you the ropes. Additional emotes beyond the handful of basic ones must also be learned individually. The "Shocked" emote is the worst example, as your character does it automatically upon knocking down a wasp nest or dropping a present into a body of water, but you can't do it manually until a villager teaches it to you.
    • Some of the DIY "recipes" seem entirely too trivial to require instructions, such as the "cherry-blossom pile" or "green-leaf pile," both of which are literally just piles of plant matter but crafting either requires you to read a limited-edition recipe item. Some simple constructions like the "tire stack" avoid this by having your character learn the recipe automatically after getting the necessary items.
  • Younger and Hipper: Several of the visiting characters of prior games have been replaced with Suspiciously Similar Substitutes that are more youthful (if not just direct descendants), but more or less serve the same purpose. Nat is replaced by Flick (who is implied to be Nat's son), who, much unlike the British jungle explorer-equipped Nat, is a punk-dressed lizard who contemplates bugs heavily and does art commissions on the side; Chip is replaced by his son C.J., an energetic livestreamer who specializes in a fishing equivalent of e-sports that he dubs "seasports" as opposed to Chip's more classic fisherman theme; and Joan has retired and allowed her granddaughter Daisy Mae to sell turnips in her place. In a case not involving a new character, Label replaces her mentor Gracie in the role of visiting fashion judge since she's left her sisters again to start her own fashion brandnote .
  • You No Take Candle: As was the case in previous games, Saharah the rug-peddling camel talks in strange broken English, saying things like "Yes, a rug for your purchasing. What size shall be the rug of yours?"

 
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AC: New Horizons

When meteors appear in the sky at night, your character can make wishes on them.

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Main / WishUponAShootingStar

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