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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.

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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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. For instance, smug villagers will always send forged statues.
  • 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.
  • 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, few of the classic furniture pieces return, and most of their equivalent replacements are less simple and poppy, looking more like something that could be found in a real furniture catalogue, either due to more restrained or more detailed designs. The museum is also massively upgraded to feel more like a real museum's inticately designed spaces.
  • 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.
    • Lloid the Gyroid returns from New Leaf as the foreman/donation collector for bridge and staircase construction, even though standard Gyroids are absent in New Horizons (meaning new players may not know what he's supposed to be). By extension, Coco the rabbit villager also applies, as she heavily resembles a Gyroid herself, but lacks context alongside Lloid in New Horizons. This doesn't apply as much in the Japanese version, since they're based on haniwa (Japanese clay figures buried with the deceased) and thus have historical context.
    • 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.
    • The "autograph card" wall hanging has two customization options for the top-middle card. One is K.K. Slider's signature (labeled "musician's signature"), and the other is "comedian's signature", a doodle of Dr. Shrunk, which lacks context as Shrunk does not appear in New Horizons.
    • 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. This would fit... had New Horizons kept the original format of the respective events from earlier games in which the villagers do actively participate as competition against the player.
    • Tripping still exists, but without the bad luck that causes it. You can only trip when you're holding a balloon (and subsequently lose it to the skies) or wearing the King Tut Mask. Anything that alludes to good or bad luck is absent.
    • Feng Shui returns, but only in the form of home decoration for the Happy Home Academy point system. Decorating your house a certain way will boost points, but it doesn't affect any other aspect of your island.
  • Artifact Title: The yearly holiday events such as Bunny Day and Nature Day no longer occur on a single day, but have instead been lengthened to last several days (likely as an Anti-Frustration Feature to lower the chance some players might miss the event). However, the actual specific date of the real-world holiday still had some special events, like Zipper appearing in the town square (instead of in some random uninhabited corner of the island).
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Referenced by Blathers when you give him a frog.
    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.
  • 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.
    • Cranky villagers after seeing your face after you’ve been stung by wasps.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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 . Lastly, all 8 of the new villagers introduced in this gamenote  do not have amiibo cards made; considering that Nintendo has only mentioned reprinting the series 1 to 4 amiibo cards, it is unlikely that they will have one made soon. 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 villager posters without amiibos, you need all 391 villagers to have lived on your island at some point in time. And all this even before considering the special NPC posters, which can't be unlocked without amiibos. The only respite is that posters can still be ordered by those who have them properly unlocked and gifted to other players.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Certain series mainstays like Kapp'n, Rover, and Resettinote , and the returning cast from New Leafnote  don't make an appearance, not even when you try to summon them through Photopia's amiibo feature. That said, Nintendo periodically adds support, Photopia included, for missing characters (Rover, for example, appears during the May Day event, and some Welcome amiibo villagers have also been added, when they were completely absent at launch day).
    • Averted with Joan, Chip, and Nat, who were replaced by descendants. Daisy Mae is Joan's granddaughter, and C.J. and Flick are the respective children of Chip and Nat. All three are mentioned by their successors in dialogue.
    • Subverted slightly with Resetti; an image of Resetti can be seen on communication error messages, such as when an island the player is attempting to visit is actually full.
  • 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:
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: An especially outrageous case with random campsite villagers. When attempting to invite them to your island, there is a high chance that they will turn you down and suggest that they will visit again sometime later. This suggests to a player that they've lost their chance to successfully invite the camper and need to wait for said camper to re-appear in the campsite. Doing that would be a terrible mistake - that camper will NOT reappear in the campsite for a long, long timenote . The correct thing to do is to to keep interacting until the game rolls for the villager to accept your invitation (or for you to win their card game).
  • 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 the player to state that they've spent a fortune on their sense of self-importance.
  • 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. It is currently unknown if they'll be returning beyond Wedding Season to fulfill a new role.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: If Harvey calls you, he says he's "calling on the phone part of your phone."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 three "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.
  • 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.
  • Dumb Dodo Bird: Two dodos named Orville and Wilbur run the airport, the joke being that flightless birds are the ones flying the plane. They're not particularly dimwitted, though, and are more 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.
  • Dummied Out: The constantly-updating "games as a service" design of this entry means many, many fan-favorite features can be found by dataminers, several of which have later been implemented. The museum's art wing and the diving function were both found before release, and the Roost (now called the Museum Cafe) still lurks unused in the code.
     E to G 
  • 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.
  • 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 despawn if it is despawnable).
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The Earth Day update reintroduces Redd and adds the Art Wing upgrade to the museum. However, you're required to donate the first art piece you get from Redd, which will always be genuine, in order to initiate the museum upgrade. Due to an oversight, the item is not inventory-locked and can be permanently lost by giving it away, selling it, or simply not buying it when Redd shows up, which will cause the game to be stuck in a strange state where the museum can't be renovated and Redd won't visit the island ever again once he leaves. The only known workaround is to acquire a genuine work of art from someone else, to proceed with the museum renovation; this comes down to luck, as Redd's appearances are uncommon to begin with and it's random whether he'll have even one genuine piece.
    • 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.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: 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.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: 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 Vendor Trash; 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.
  • 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 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 tree again.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • You can speed up the crafting animation by double-tapping or holding down A. However, the game makes no mention of this. However, the News app on the Switch Menu may give you a message that points this out, among other tips for the game.
    • Getting a good supply of iron (especially enough to build a shop) can be difficult if you don't know exactly what you're doing. Solution 
    • It's fairly clear that shovels can hit rocks, but axes also work; this was possible since the first Animal Crossing, but was never needed nor mentioned. Here, it's necessary if you want to get materials from rocks as early as possible, since you don't get the DIY recipe for the Flimsy Shovel until Blathers moves in.
    • 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. This can be confusing if you hear about the reward by just the description or from another player (since it's one of the rewards that doesn't show up until you complete it).
    • Trying to get the Able Sisters to set up shop in your island. So far no one has found the exact conditions needed to trigger the relevant Event Flag, only that they need to buy stuff from Mabel every time she sets up her pop-up shop. Some have reported unlocking her shop setup quest after only one day of buying from her, others buy as much as they can and spend a lot of bells on her merchandise and don't get the sidequest to trigger until after three or more days on which she shows upnote . Once you get the shop up, it's a good idea to talk to Sable each day, but you probably wouldn't do that without an external hint, since for the first few days she just makes a dismissive comment about being busy. After several days of you apparently pestering her, she suddenly goes into Defrosting Ice Queen mode, and she eventually starts gifting you patterns, with which you can customise certain types of furniture.
    • 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 
    • Unless you already figured out the tricky patterns of turnips in previous games, the price fluctuations can seem pretty random. Among other things, you're not told that turnip prices change twice a day (there's one price in the morning, and another from noon to closing time), or that your results last week and the buying price affect the sell-price pattern. How to buy turnips isn't obvious either, since you have to find a wandering NPC that only appears on Sundays before noon; the Nook siblings mention they're available on Sunday, but that's the only clue you get.
    • The game never tells you this, but the number of unread messages on the island's billboard is signified by the number of birds that perch on the sign; the more birds that are perched on the sign, the more unread messages there are (with a maximum of four birds).
    • 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. Just as in previous games, where and when to catch specific bugs and fish you haven't caught yet, you'll either have to guess randomly or look it up online because the game provides no hints. This can be particularly annoying for bugs and fish which require a specific condition to spawn, 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.
    • Rugs and "mysterious" walls/floors sold by Saharah are the same for all players for a given instance of her, unless you buy walls/floors using "Saharah tickets" instead of Bells—those ones are random for each player. None of the dialog or anything else ingame hints at this. Time traveling will also affect which item a player gets if they’re visiting another player's Saharah and are a day or several days ahead of that player in-game time.
    • One of the DIY recipe packs, "Wildest Dreams DIY", includes a DIY recipe for an ironwood kitchenette. The recipe requires an ironwood dresser and a cutting board, among other materials. You are not informed that both these furniture items can only be crafted through DIY recipes, and neither recipe is included in any pack of DIY recipes.
    • Balloon present spawns are not totally random. They have a chance to spawn whenever the minute digits end in "4" or "9". While only two balloon spawns are guaranteed per hour, spawns can be forced by entering a building and interacting with an NPC, then leaving before the appropriate minute arrives. Different balloon colours will also prioritise different items - for example, yellow balloons are more likely to drop Bells.
    • Unlike earlier titles, every villager now has a fixed hobby, which dictates what actions your villagers are more likely to do. There are currently six possible hobbies; Musicnote , fitness note , fashionnote , educationnote , naturenote , and playnote . As with the other entries here, the game makes no mention of the hobby system or the hobby types. Even if you figure out that some actions are exclusive to villagers of a certain hobby, it’s usually a guessing game without a guide on hand, as villagers can still perform actions that are not associated with their hobby, such as singing at a music player despite not having a music hobby. Furthermore, not every hobby has an exclusive action, and the "education" and "nature" hobbies both have similar-looking, hobby-exclusive actions involving holding a booknote .
    • You may encounter villagers that are crafting and obtain DIY recipes from them, but what the game does not tell you is that you can do this up to 3 times a day, and the villager that is crafting will change 3 hours after you collect the DIY recipe. Furthermore, each villager personality type has a pool of recipes that villagers of that personality will usually pull from when crafting.
    • Villagers sending art to the player via mail returns in this game, however, it is not stated anywhere that this is a possibility until the player themselves actually see it happening. It also isn’t stated anywhere that only male villagers will send the player art and what kind of art they can send depends on their personality type. Jock and Lazy villagers will send the player art that can be genuine or fake. Cranky villagers will only ever send statues which will be genuine or fake. Smug villagers will only ever send fake art.
    • Most DIY items sell for twice the price of the raw materials that go into them, disregarding any intermediate crafting steps (if another DIY item is a raw material). However, the formula treats all fruits (except the coconut) as selling for 100 bells. Thus, unless one is progressing certain Nook Miles achievements, all raw materials, except non-native fruit, should be converted into DIY items before selling. Similarly, even if a non-native fruit DIY item is the Hot Item of the Day (selling for double the usual price and thus 4 times the price of the raw materials), the offer should not be taken as non-native fruits sell for 500 bells each!
    • Giving the villagers clothing and accessories that match their favorite style and color affects how many friendship points you’ll get from them. The thing is, there is nothing in-game that tells you what the favorite colors of the villagers are, and the player, should they at all become aware that each villager has two favorites colors and preferred styles, will have to rely on an internet guide to determine what their favorite clothing gifts are. The Able Sisters also don’t have the option in-game to sort clothing by the fashion styles they represent, so from there it becomes even more of a guessing game of what article of clothing fits into a certain category.
    • Unlocking Reactions is a bit more random than it is in the previous entries in the franchise. Outside of the first few the players has unlocked, The player now learns reactions from villagers. They can only be taught one reaction per day. The Dang It part comes in as the player is not told that reactions are tied to villager personality, nor which ones are tied to which personalities. Furthermore, they are not informed that the last emote they can learn from each personality type depends on having the "best friends" friendship level with them. It’s entirely random and sometimes rare for the villager to teach them, meaning a player may have to keep an unwanted villager type longer than desired in order to complete the reaction chart. Thankfully the Nook Miles achievement is a bit more lenient, as the final stamp on that card only requires you to collect 42 of the 44 reactions.
    • It's well known that catching scorpions and tarantulas requires you to stop moving when they enter a defensive pose, but what's less well known is that the same technique is needed to catch the rarer horned beetles, as they are sensitive enough to noise that they will fly away even if you creep up to them normally. If they suddenly stop their idle animation as you approach them, freeze and wait for them to move again before moving closer into net range.
    • Patch 1.3.0 stealthily changed the gifting mechanics. Almost any gift now guarantees the villager will give an item in return, instead of just money; however, for a chance of getting the coveted framed photo, you have to give them a gift that sells for at least 750 (2,500 before 1.4.0) bells. The game gives no indication that the monetary value of the gift matters at all, and even with a sufficiently expensive gift and high enough friendship, the chance of getting a photo is quite low, so you're unlikely to figure this out on your own.
    • Villagers have thought bubbles for a variety of reasons, including a particularly important one - asking the player whether they should leave. The player is not told two especially useful things about villagers moving out: first, that there is a cooldown between villagers asking to move out (17 days from last "yes", or 5 days from last "no"). Second the "villager moving out" thought bubble often persists on that villager even if the player enters a building, interacts with an NPC inside, then exits (other thought bubbles will be cleared).
    • Unlike earlier installments, your basement contributes to your home's Happy Home Academy score. The player might only realise this when the Happy Home Academy letter makes negative comments on their basement design.
    • While it's obvious that some categories of gifts (e.g. wall-mounted furniture, bottoms, wallpaper) will never be used by villagers, what the player is given zero hints about is how gifted furniture is used by villagers. Every villager has "slots" in their house for furniture (sometimes including some initially unfilled slots). Each slot can only fit furniture of the correct size, and for some slots, this also needs to be furniture of the right type (e.g. a 2x2 bed can only be replaced by gifting another 2x2 bed). Some slots may contain furniture with a hidden "fixed" tag; these furniture can never be replaced, and furniture with said "fixed" tag will never be used by villagers even if you gift it to them.
    • In winter, the player is able to roll up snowballs and create Snowboys. When the first Snowboy is created, it will give the player a DIY recipe for the Frozen furniture series and a Large Snowflake required to craft the item, regardless of the sizes of snowballs. After that, however, if the size ratio of the snowballs isn't just right, the Snowboy will instead chastise the player and not give them anything at all, only remaining on the island as dead weight. You are not told what you did wrong, only that it wasn't quite right (he does tell you if you're close, but not how close). On top of that, you're only given one chance per day.
     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.
  • 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, an island that only has dangerous bugs, or an island that has big fish shadows. Here is a complete list.
  • 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 villagers, at times.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Hourly music in prior games would begin playing after the tutorial was completed. In this game, hourly music only starts after the upgraded Residential Services building is completed, which means at best it's "only" a week until you unlock it.
    • 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, and he only appears on the communication error screen and when using Nook Inc.'s Rescue Service (where he's only seen in text).
    • 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 turned into holiday characters or added as traveling NPCs: for example, after the first major update, Leif and Redd were added to the set of possible daily vendors, Rover appears on the special May Day island (though he implies that he may return), and Reese and Cyrus are present on Harv's Island for all of Wedding Season.
    • 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".
    • This is the first mainline game where Gyroids are not available as furniture. A data-mine however reveals that Gyroids will be returning to the series as part of a future museum upgrade.
    • 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 until or unless you're able to.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 might wear a raincoat and hat in lieu of an umbrella when it rains, and on birthdays they'll be wearing formal suits or dresses and a cake hat for the occasion. They can be given clothes by other villagers. On top of all that, they'll buy new clothing from Able Sisters entirely on their own, and may even buy 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-coloured 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".
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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:
    • Some dialogue hints at future updates that have yet to be announced or implemented. At launch, the art wing of the museum was absent, yet when hanging around the museum, cranky villagers occasionally talk about viewing the gallery. Others mention visiting the similarly absent Roost café, and Isabelle outright suggests building more shops even when you have the current maximum amount.
    • 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. It was originally thought to be a sign that sea creatures from New Leaf would eventually be added to the game as a third critter category; while this did happen, manila clams are not considered sea creatures and remain as an odd in-between in the items system.
  • 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:
    • 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.

     N to S 
  • 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 altered the spawn rate of bugs, making less valuable species more likely to appear over more lucrative ones. 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.
  • "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".
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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?"
  • 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.
  • 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 are the only way to get the 8 new villagers in New Horizons who lack an amiibo (including the extremely popular Raymond).
    • 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.
    • 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 fertiliser 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!
    • The "climbing wall" item, particularly the "natural" variation, is often turned around and used as a de facto wooden panel.
  • 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.
  • Olympic Swimmer: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, in addition to providing a wasp nest that can be used in DIY recipes to make honeycomb flooring and wallpaper.
  • 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 ten 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.
    • 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 and thus obtain a random DIY 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 2 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 3 pumpkins per plant, you must water your pumpkin plants once every day (if the rain or snow hasn't already done the job).
  • 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 axe or dig up full-grown trees. Each food item eaten grants one feat of strength. The effect can be cancelled by sitting on a toilet.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Repeatable Quest:
    • Whenever Gulliver, Gullivarrr or Wisp shows up, they need your help in the same way everytime. 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.
  • Same Character, but Different: The wave 1 Summer free update implemented on July 3rd does this to “Gulliver”, who washes up on the players 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. 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 "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 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.
    • 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.
    • 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".
  • 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 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.
  • 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 furniture has variations (e.g. red and blue diner chairs) which cannot be converted into each other through customization. Any island will only ever have one particular variation of that furniture available for sale. Like obtaining furniture, the fastest way to unlock other variations is for someone to let you obtain or catalognote  that variation.
    • If you visit another person's island, you too can go find the villager who is crafting and obtain the DIY 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 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 near-impossible to obtain solonote , so you will almost certainly 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.
  • Soundcoded 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.
  • 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").
  • 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 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 
  • 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.
     T to Z 
  • 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: Your villagers can sometimes be seen drinking the juices of your island's signature fruit and occasionally bring it up in chats, especially when you visit another island and one villager asks if you know their town's main 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 9 feet tall in their garage, because their belief that objects have souls makes them feel bad about throwing things away.
  • 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.
    • 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, and not dig up his communicator parts. If you just leave them buried all day, they become rusted parts. Giving them back to him rewards you with one part 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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, makes them angry, 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 
    • Many of the DIY recipes for shell and flower furniture involve you somehow turning these shells and plucked flowers into furniture that are synthetic, often much larger depictions of said raw materials, whose construction in real life shouldn't require any of those raw materials. The most notable offender is the Shell Rug - you somehow turn 3 Giant Clam shells into a woven shell-shaped rug.
    • 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.
    • Using a Customization Kit (implied to be paint) to change the color of an Iron Tool will replace it with a brand-new tool of the selected color, indirectly repairing it to full durability.
    • Eating fruit gives you the ability to dig up fully-grown trees. You can then dispose of said fully-grown trees using a normal-sized trashcan.
  • 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, they will say one of several preset lines based on their personality and whenever they are first spoken to outside or inside their homes and if it's sunny, raining, or snow.
  • 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?"


Video Example(s):


ACNH: Wilbur Mystery Islands

Wilbur giving a villager the rundown about Mystery Island Tours in Animal Crossing New Horizons. Anyone else find it sus that we can never revisit these islands?

How well does it match the trope?

4.2 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain

Media sources:

Main / LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain