Animal Crossing New Horizons: 5 Traditions That Nintendo Should Add

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is definitely the biggest entry into the series, but is lacking in content. Let's look at five greatly missed traditions that Nintendo needs to bring back to the latest game to rekindle the spirit of Animal Crossing.

Animal Crossing New Horizons: 5 Traditions That Nintendo Should Add Cover

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is easily the most popular entry in the Animal Crossing series, but adding these 5 traditions would make the Nintendo classic even better! New Horizons is Nintendo’s smash-hit entry to the established series pioneered on the GameCube. Since its debut in the year 2001, Animal Crossing has built up a massive following because of its adorable and captivating world, featuring a vast array of loveable characters and activities.

Despite the huge success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, fans have been left feeling a little let down by some of the features from older games that have not been brought back into the latest title. Being an informed super-fan myself, I will detail which ones I think should really make a return to the Switch title.

1. Nintendo Items

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the first title in the series to have no official Nintendo items in the game from the get-go. Players were granted Mario-themed items in an update on March 1st, 2021, but this wanes in comparison to the Nintendo-themed items available in past games. Animal Crossing: New Leaf had a fortune cookie system containing such items.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Mario 35th anniversary collaboration items.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Mario 35th anniversary collaboration items.

The system allowed players to purchase cookies with points, and receive one of fifty Nintendo items! These included items from Nintendogs (the best items), The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and even Pikmin, and made customizing your houses even more fun with these recognizable pieces. Having these in New Horizons would allow so much more creative freedom, especially with being able to place things outside and place more houses in one ‘town’ than ever before.

2. Doctor Shrunk

Now, here’s a character you may or may not have heard of. The zany axolotl known as Doctor Shrunk has been seen in almost every Animal Crossing game until this point. In Wild World and City Folk, he taught your character emotions and performed short shows pertaining to them. In New Horizons, this is unfortunately obsolete due to learning emotion reactions off any villager on your island…

Doctor Shrunk from the Animal Crossing franchise.

Doctor Shrunk from the Animal Crossing franchise.

Doctor Shrunk also brought a new destination with him – in previous games, he was found at a marquee and even had his own club where K.K. Slider would perform! The possibility of a night-time entertainment venue being added back to Animal Crossing is very exciting. Though it is fun sitting outside watching K.K. Slider’s performance, the rustic charm has worn off for a lot of players, and an indoor area would be a welcomed addition.

3. Themed Ranges of Items

The most detailed items in the Animal Crossing series are undoubtedly from Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Nintendo’s mobile game based on the franchise. The game featured different, watered-down gameplay, but has had thousands of furniture and apparel items added to it over the years – with regular updates bringing new collections of realistic hairstyles, modern clothing, and themed furniture ranges. Every year there are new Christmas, Halloween, and St Patrick’s Day items, as well as new events for every season bringing new rewards.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp logo.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp logo.

New Horizons has been getting collaborations with designers such as PUMA, which in itself is really cool, but the collaborations only feature designs that players can scan in via QR code, not actual items to physically own in the game, as well as a collection of real-life shoes. And the Sanrio items were only available with the Amiibo cards – which were incredibly hard to get a hold of! New Horizons would thrive on getting regular new furniture sets, or new clothing items – even themed ranges being brought over from Pocket Camp!

4. Tortimer’s Island and Mini-Games

Animal Crossing: New Horizon’s island setting was a point of contention for many fans. The tropical location was a delightful and welcomed way to play – however, it had people questioning how it would continue the tradition of a separate island away from the town your character resides in. Since the GameCube age, Animal Crossing has had an offshore island that the player can visit. These islands featured new flowers, fruits, and friends, as well as bringing mini-games into the mix.

Tortimer's Island as seen in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Tortimer’s Island as seen in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

In New Leaf, the Island was hosted by Tortimer – the elderly previous mayor of the games’ towns – and his family. Decked out in board shorts and a tropical shirt, he told you how to play many ‘island tours’ and rewarded you for your performance in the games like balloon popping, bug hunting, and furniture finding.

The Welcome Amiibo update for New Leaf also added two more structured games – Desert Island Escape and Puzzle League – unlocked via certain items. Desert Island Escape sent three villagers off to, as it suggests, survive and escape an island, whereas Puzzle League was an Animal Crossing-specific version of the game. Desert Island Escape was brought into Amiibo Festival on the Wii U – so this gives me hope that it may be brought to New Horizons, too!

More entertainment and things to do with friends would be very welcome to New Horizons. I say unto you, Nintendo, please give us Tortimer back!

5. Brewster the Barista

Whether you are a seasoned Animal Crossing fan or have just picked it up – you will have heard of Brewster and his café. But… where is he? Dataminers have found evidence that he will be making a triumphant return to the series, but as of Autumn 2021, this has yet to become a reality. Brewster has always manned the café in your town – be it in the museum or in its own building. There have previously been minigames associated with it along with coffee-themed items. Allegedly, Brewster’s shop will be added to the museum in a design overhaul. There is leverage to this theory as Nintendo is still releasing regular updates for the game!

Brewster in the Animal Crossing series.

Brewster in the Animal Crossing series.

Having Brewster back would make the game feel a lot more like the older titles. It would give villagers and animals alike a place of respite, and another location to hang out in. Brewster could even have a new character with him (like Flick taking over the Bug-Off)! There is so much that could be done with this character and his space that Nintendo is probably taking their time to perfect it. Hopefully, he will grace the game in a future update.

Some of these forgotten traditions can be forgiven as they have been replaced by newer characters and systems, or different areas. Despite a couple of these features simply not working on New Horizons’ island setting (sadly), Nintendo should still work them into the latest game, as these features would all bring something different and add more playtime to New Horizons to further the game’s gigantic success!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Your island, your life! (Nintendo Switch)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out now for Nintendo Switch.

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