25 March 2020 18:31


Animal Crossing: New Horizons is Japan's biggest Switch release ever

The new Animal Crossing is already a worldwide smash hit, leading to the Switch having its best week of sales ever in Japan. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has already been confirmed as a massive hit in the UK, selling more in its first week than the launches of all the previous entries combined. New Horizons has become the fastest-selling Switch game ever in Japan, with 1.88 million physical copies sold in just a week. Although technically Pokémon Sword and Shield would've beaten it in the UK, if the sales of the two versions were combined, in Japan New Horizons breezed past Pokémon's record of 1.36 million. This all had a predictable effect on Switch hardware sales, which hit a record of 392,576 in just one week, for a lifetime total in Japan of 12.8 million (compared to X for PlayStation 4).

1 (-) Animal Crossing: New Horizons (NS) MORE: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is new UK number one – Games charts 7 March There's no stopping Animal Crossing: New Horizons, our new home and hangout in these troubling times. Put simply, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is Japan's biggest Switch game launch ever. It ably beat the previous game to hold the Switch's fastest-selling game record - Pokémon Sword and Shield, which managed a combined 1.36m sales over the same time period. Its launch week numbers beat those of previous entries New Leaf, Wild World and City Folk combined. The game's success also helped drive the Switch's weekly hardware sales total higher than the console's own launch week - up to a staggering 392,576 units.

Looking at the numbers of consoles sold - more than double the physical sales of Animal Crossing - it's easy to imagine how many more copies the game has sold digitally, which Famitsu numbers do not track. In my first weekend playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I had grand designs to pay off my initial mortgage and plant a robust orchard of fruit — but I didn't expect my proudest accomplishment to be picking more than 6,250 weeds. I was driven to complete that herculean feat because I was rewarded with Nook Miles, a new currency in the series that I've become obsessed with collecting. In New Horizons, you earn Nook Miles for doing just about anything on your island, such as traveling to other islands, talking to villagers, plucking weeds, or fishing. New Horizons also offers Nook Miles Plus, a rotating set of five mini-tasks like catching five bugs or talking to three villagers.

So if I don't feel like tackling a big challenge, like paying off my huge mortgage or trying to catch a rare fish, I can spend a few minutes chatting with some of my island's residents to get miles instead. Nook Miles can be turned into great in-game rewards, like an expanded inventory or a way to quickly select tools. Nook Miles may seem like micro-progression systems you might have encountered in mobile or free-to-play games like Fortnite — and that's intentional, according to New Horizons' director Aya Kyogoku. Nook Miles were designed in part to help ease players from the smartphone spinoff Pocket Camp into the new game. "We did realize that a lot of the fans who started playing Animal Crossing for the first time with Pocket Camp may have difficulties jumping into titles like New Horizons," Kyogoku told The Verge.

That island is typically filled with fish, bugs, fruit, and other resources to gather, which you can sell or use in some other way to improve your island. The whole time I'm making the trip, gathering resources, and bringing things back, I'm earning more Nook Miles that I can put toward my next ticket or one of the many other rewards offered. There are dozens of Nook Miles stamp cards, so I'm guessing that even when I've paid off every house mortgage and decked out my island to look exactly the way I want, I'll still have goals that will take me weeks to work through. Animal Crossing: New Horizons only arrived last week for the Nintendo Switch (), but the beloved game franchise is already topping the charts and winning hearts and minds. But as you jump into Animal Crossing, a few nuggets of wisdom will go a long way toward smoothing those early days.

Plus, for those unfamiliar with the franchise, some direction can help you navigate a game with little more structure than "collect everything you see." So here are a few tips and tricks for players of all kinds, whether Animal Crossing is already at home in your Switch or still on your horizon. Travel back in time before you move forward Screenshot by David Priest/CNET Time travel is a major theme in Animal Crossing, but a controversial one. Since the game takes place in real time, you actually have to wait a real day for buildings to get built and plants to grow. That way, as you play, you can bump it up a day every few hours to cover some of the early, slower-developing portions of the game more quickly. Don't put off paying your debts Screenshot by David Priest/CNET Tom Nook, the wealthy business-raccoon funding your adventure and constantly persuading you to spend more money than you have, puts you in what feels like deep debt on your first day. It takes a little time to build up Nook Miles--an achievement-based currency--early in the game, but work to earn them quickly and pay off that first debt ASAP. As soon as you craft your first bug net and fishing pole, start handing over your collected critters to Tom Nook. Long story short, after enough donations, Blathers the owl will come build a museum on the island and set you on a much larger collection project, opening up the game considerably. Learn to creep Screenshot by David Priest/CNET Catching fish takes a little practice, but I didn't realize I was catching bugs wrong until a few days into the game. Always hold a net while you're shaking trees Screenshot by David Priest/CNET During your first day or two on the island, when you're running around shaking trees to get sticks (how else are you going to build that ax?), wasp nests will occasionally fall from the branches. Plant plenty of fruit (and even money) Screenshot by David Priest/CNET Fruit trees are a great way to get income early in the game, and once you get a shovel, planting a pear or apple tree is super easy and pays off quickly. Digging up trees helps make groves for easy picking, and when you visit other islands, it helps transplant new fruit trees home without having to wait for them to regrow. Screenshot by David Priest/CNET Iron, clay and stone are all useful resources early in the game, but they're hard to come by. When you break a rock, you will get a single resource, and you'll have to wait for another rock to spawn elsewhere on the island (which, remember, takes real time days). Crafting is king (especially on the go) Crafting tools and items out of the refuse you discover around the island is a huge element early in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and you'll often want to craft while you're roaming far from home. Once you put these tricks into action, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will truly begin to open up to you. Now you know how to jump start your island getaway in Animal Crossing, check out some other tips for getting the most out of your Nintendo Switch and the seven other games you need to play on the console. Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch () is full of amazing flora and fauna, with plenty of fish to catch, bugs to net and fruit to harvest. This includes the stringfish--a fish so rare it'll net you a whopping 15,000 bells (the game's currency) should you decide to sell it. There were a few bits of kit I needed for my mission; a fishing rod, of course, bait (I'll come back to that) and a ladder to access the upper areas where the right sort of river can be found. You get the ladder once you've built the museum and the shop and Tom Nook gives you the mission to build three houses for new residents. In total I think I gathered over 100 clams to craft into bait. If you're playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, make sure to check out our top tips and hit me up on Twitter with @batteryhq to show off your best catches.