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Animal Crossing (Series) Review

Game image Animal Crossing
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Posted: 14 months ago, last updated 4 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer, @boersc and Jo Robertson.


You live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game worlds, it’s the interconnected drama of the world and characters that makes it fascinating. This interconnection comprises not only how you impact the world, but how you relate to the other inhabitants and how the island changes with real-world time. Along with special events such as the Christmas and Easter festivals, you need to play in different seasons and times of day to collect particular insects and fish.

This is a controllable fantasy escape, but one that’s still intimately connected to the ticking of the real-world clock. It’s a place to visit for short bursts each day over the course of a full year.

You can play Animal Crossing on a variety of systems, each game follows the same basic format but has developed over the years:
  • Animal Crossing is played on Nintendo Gamecube.
  • Animal Crossing: Wild World is played on Nintendo DS.
  • Animal Crossing: City Folk is played on Nintendo Wii
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf is played on Nintendo 3DS
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons is played on Nintendo Switch.

Spin off games that offer a reduced experience in the Animal Crossing world:
  • Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is played on Nintendo 3DS.
  • Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is played on Nintendo Wii U.
  • Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is played on iOS or Android.

DetailsGame Details


Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2020

Platforms: GameCube, Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Wii

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @NintendoAmerica


Duration: It takes between half an hour and 45 minutes to play a round of this game. After the initial getting started on your island that may take around 10-15 hours, Animal Crossing is a game you play for around 30 minutes a day.
Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online. Animal Crossing New Horizons on a single system lets you have up to 4 people work together on one island but only the main person can build and progress. You can play with 8 people on one island online but again only the main person can progress things. Still, this is a lot of silly fun to run around together, bop people, send letters and suchlike. It's also a chance to trade items with players from their islands. You can specify certain people as Best Friends who can then collaborate more easily with you when you visit and send you things in the mail.


Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.  

You will need Nintendo Online (must be 18 to purchase, but can be any age to use) to play online with Nintendo Switch. Animal Crossing New Horizons will include in-game purchases in the future according to the ESRB rating.

In Animal Crossing New Horizons you can only have one island for each copy of the game, meaning that for two people to play in a family you really need two Switches and two copies of the game. One workaround is if you have a digital copy of the game and two Switches you can use them with different users with separate saves and islands. However, you can't visit each other's islands if you are using the same digital game.

As suggested by Washington Post, "If you want to play with a friend and experience the game at its best, you need at least two copies of the game and two systems."

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp on smartphone and tablet is free-to-start and offers in-game purchases with a chance of getting rare items.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Animal Crossing New Horizons is rated PEGI 3.

Animal Crossing New Horizons is rated ESRB EVERYONE with comic mischief. Some bugs can sting players, causing them to become dizzy and collapse. Players can bonk characters on the head and/or push them into holes. One character is seen with mucus dripping from his nose; the dialogue also contains comical references (e.g., “Whoever smelt it dealt it.”).

User-Generated Content: This game includes content created by other players, such as maps, outfits and items, that are not reflected in the game rating.

Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.


Accessibility for this game is as follows:
System Settings

Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. The Wii has a few helpful settings, like disable rumble, but you have to use gesture controls for most games and the system menu... read more about system accessibility settings.

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The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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