One of the coolest things about the Animal Crossing franchise is that its open-ended structure allows players to have a rewarding experience however they approach it. Want to collect one of everything? Go nuts! Prefer to focus on designing clothes? Have fun! Want to dabble in everything the game has to offer? Me too!
However, this openness can feel like aimlessness. With so much to do, where does one even begin? Or, as someone who has played almost every entry in the series, “What is my incentive to fish, talk to strangers, and collect fruits again?”
Admittedly, I did not expect Animal Crossing: New Horizons to have a compelling answer to this question. The franchise has struggled with this question with every release past the original on GameCube. Lo and behold, I think New Horizons figured it out.
New to the game is a system called Nook Miles. Similar to Air Miles in real life, it’s a program that gives you rewards for completing activities. These miles can be redeemed for goods or for day-trips to mysterious new islands.
But its biggest benefit is that it acts as an ongoing achievement system. Tracking your progress across basically every possible activity, it can be used to provide players with direction. Not sure what to do next? Look at your Nook Miles and see what tasks are nearing completion. Do those, get the points, and cash them in for the next big reward on your wish list.
Nook Miles acts as a fantastic point of reference. Even though you’re doing the same things you always did in past Animal Crossing games, the program provides players with a new level of structure and direction. Everything you do gets you one step closer to a larger reward, making every activity feel more meaningful.
This is just one of the many reasons I’m loving Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We’ll talk more about it in future posts and in my final review. For now, I’ve got to water my flowers in order to get more Nook Miles! Happy travels!
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