One of Nintendo’s big selling points for Animal Crossing: New Horizons was that the game would get updated throughout the year with fresh events and new reasons to keep playing. For the first few weeks, the game was flying high without any major post-launch support beyond patching out exploits. But now that we’ve had a taste of multiple events in rapid succession, they’ve inadvertently made the game worse.
Let’s start with Bunny Day. The in-game equivalent of Easter features an egg hunt where players can find eggs hidden throughout. These eggs can then be crafted into event-exclusive items. Build them all to receive a special gift from Zipper, an overly-enthusiastic, somewhat-mysterious, and definitely creepy rabbit who may-or-may-not be in a costume.
Partaking in an egg hunt sounds like a great idea until you experience how it’s integrated. Instead of being tied to its own mechanic, finding eggs is tied to your standard actions of digging, chopping wood, shaking trees, shooting balloons, and fishing.
This creates a whole host of problems. If you need wood, chopping out wooden eggs just slows you down. It’s disappointing when you dig up an earth egg instead of a fossil. Sky eggs were always a rarity, even when the initial spawn rates for everything else were way too high. Fishing became a nightmare, as large silhouettes would repeatedly surface as water eggs. All of the Bunny Day’s activities actually got in the way of everything else one would want to do.
Overlapping the tail end of the Bunny Day event was the first fishing tournament. Players were tasked with catching hundreds of fish of they wanted to unlock all of the items and trophies. The scoring requirements alone were awful, forcing players to grind for hours at a time – even if groups gained bonus points for playing together. Randomly snatching eggs instead of fish made the grind even more painful. My one consolation came from inviting Rachel from Double Jump onto my island and comparing scores after each round. For the record, she bested me in our mini competition.
Though I don’t know for certain, I’m pretty sure that the Bunny Day event also compromised the overlapping cherry blossom event in the northern hemisphere. The trees looked beautiful, but my gut says the game weighting Bunny Egg recipes greatly outweighed the cherry blossom recipes. I got all of the Bunny Day recipes and never had a chance of getting all the recipes for cherry blossom items.
Updating Animal Crossing: New Horizons with fresh content is a worthwhile endeavour. Sadly, its execution during these overlapping events proved that Nintendo has plenty of kinks to work out. I came away from them all feeling more annoyed than amused due to the plethora of ways these events compromised what made the game fun in the first place. Hoping Nintendo is able to course correct for future events from here.
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