Beginner's Guide to Animal Crossing New Horizons | ACNH - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

ACNH - Starting Screen Timmy Tommy Nook Airport.png
Welcome to our Beginner's Guide to Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) for the Nintendo Switch. In addition to tips on starting off the game, we will cover what you should do daily to make the most of your time when playing Animal Crossing.

Before Getting to the Island

Before Getting to the Island
1 Put in your name and birthday,
2 Set up your look.
3 Select a hemisphere.
4 Select an island layout.
5 Choose what you want to bring to the island.

1. Put in Your Name and Birthday

ACNH - Name Input (Pre-Game).png

Cannot be changed later on!

The first thing you'll have to do when starting a new save game is typing in your name and birthday. These things cannot be changed later on, so pick something good!

Unchangeable Features

2. Set Up Your Look

ACNH - Character Customization.png

Can be changed later on

Next, choose how your character will look by selecting your skin color, facial features, hairstyle, and more! These can be changed later on, so you don't need to think too hard about it in the beginning. The hairstyles available to you in the beginning are pretty scarce, but you can get more later on.

How to Change Your Face and Hair

3. Select a Hemisphere

Choosing a Hemisphere

Affects the seasons

After choosing your name, birthday, and features, you will be able to select the hemisphere you want to live.

The main difference is that the seasons experienced will be polar opposites, meaning that the bugs and fish you can get in each month will differ. If you don't really have a preference, you can just go with the hemisphere you live in (northern hemisphere for U.S.A.).

Which Hemisphere Should You Choose?

4. Select an Island Layout

Rare Layouts
Star Shaped PondEnlarge Star-Shaped Pond Heart Shaped PondsEnlarge Heart Pond
Ribbon Shaped PondEnlarge Ribbon-Shaped Pond Bone Shaped PondEnlarge Bone-Shaped Pond

Some islands layouts are pretty rare

Next, you are given four island layouts to choose from. If you are lucky, you may be able to get one with a pond that has some kind of special shape!

Your lifestyle will be slightly affected by the shape of island that you choose to live in, so if you are particular about the layout you have, you could always reroll. To learn more about island layouts and rerolling, see the article below.

How to Choose the Best Island Layout

5. Choose What You Want to Bring to the Island

ACNH - What to Bring to the Island?.png

Has no effect on the rest of the game

The Nooklings will ask you what thing you would bring to a deserted island. Though it may seem like an important choice, it actually has no effect on the game, so answer with whatever first comes to mind!

What Should You Choose to Bring to the Island?

Before Getting Your NookPhone

Before Getting Your NookPhone
1 Greet your starting villagers.
2 Choose your tent location.
3 Get 10 branches and 6 fruits.
4 Decide on your island name.
5 Get your NookPhone after going to bed.

1. Greet Your Starting Villagers

ACNH - Starting Villagers.png

There are a few rules that determine your starting villagers

The first thing you will need to do is greet the first villages. There are a few rules for determining which starting villagers will appear, so be sure and check with the page below.

List of Starting Villagers

2. Choose Your Tent Location

ACNH - Where to Put Tent.png

You can move you house position later on

Next, decide the location of your tent and those of your villagers. After getting ahead a bit, you will be able to spend 50,000 Bells and move your house, but if you want to avoid having to pay this later, we suggest picking a good spot.

You can also set up your neighbors' tents!

Best Tent Location and How to Move

3. Get 10 Branches and 6 Fruits

ACNH - Cherries?.png

Shake trees to pick up items

After choosing your tent's location, Tom Nook will ask you for 10 Branches and 6 Fruits.

There are limited number of fallen branches that you can pick up, so you will need to shake the trees to make more fall down. Each tree has three fruit on it, so shaking two trees and picking up the fallen fruit will be enough.

Tree Branch Icon.pngHow to Get Tree Branches Fast ACNH - Apple Icon.pngHow to Get All Fruits

4. Decide on Your Island Name

ACNH - Island Names.png

This cannot be changed later

Next, Nook will ask you to come up with an island name. This cannot be changed later on, so pick something that you won't regret later.

Island Names | What Will You Name Your Island?

5. Get your NookPhone After Going to Bed

ACNH - NookPhone.png

After going to bed in your tent and then waking up, Nook will stop by to deliver your NookPhone. This will allow you to participate in various activities throughout the island, so check your apps and make the most of them!

List of NookPhone Apps and How to Unlock Them

Before Unlocking the Museum

Before Unlocking the Museum
1 Make a Fishing Rod and Net at Resident Services.
2 Hand 5 critters over to Tom Nook.
3 Decide where the museum will be built.
4 Make 15 more donations for an even bigger museum.

1. Make a Fishing Rod and Net at Resident Services

ACNH - Flimsy Fishing Rod.png
Once the payback of your first loan begins, the first thing you'll want to do is make a Flimsy Fishing Rod and a Flimsy Net.

Both of these recipes can be obtained by inspecting the DIY workbench at Resident Services and taking part in the DIY tutorial. Get the recipes for free and make the tools right away.

How to Get DIY Crafting Recipes | List of Recipes

2. Hand 5 Critters Over to Tom Nook

ACNH - Hand Over Critters.png

What do you receive for each critter you hand over?

Item Number Reward
1st Critter Critterpedia
2nd Critter Flimsy Axe and Wooden Furniture Recipes
3rd Critter Flower Seeds (Random Type)
4th Critter Flimsy Watering Can Recipe
5th Critter Museum Unlocked
After choosing a location, the museum will be open from the next day.

After giving a total of five bugs or fish to Nook, he will call his old friend Blathers, who will then come to the island to set up a pre-museum tent.

You will get an item or recipe each time you show him one of these, so first go out and get the five critters you want to show him, and don't sell them!

3. Choose the Museum's Location

ACNH - Museum Location.png

The building will be finished the following day

You will need to give five creatures (bugs and fish) to Tom Nook, at which point you will be able to choose the location of the museum. After you do this, Blathers will come to your island from the next day, so start saving up things to donate!

How to Unlock the Museum

Paying Back Your First Loan

Repaying the first loan
Save 5,000 Nook Miles and pay back the first loan.

Save 5,000 Miles and Pay Back the First Loan

ACNH - Getaway Package

After you pay back your first loan, you will be able to do a lot more on your island. After building your first fishing rod, shoot for 5000 miles to pay back your initial loan.

How to Get 5,000 Nook Miles Fast

Ask to upgrade your home right away

After paying of the 5,000 Nook Miles, go ahead and ask Nook for a home renovation. This will allow you to pick up even more Nook Miles, giving you access to Nook Mile-exclusive items from the Nook Stop.

How to Pay Off Your Loan and Upgrade Your Tent and House

Unlocking Nook's Cranny

Unlocking Nook's Cranny
1 Gather 30 of each required material.
2 Decide on the shop's location.

Gather 30 of Each Required Material

Required Materials Quantity
Wood 30
Iron Nugget

In order to unlock Nook's Cranny, you first need to gather up 30 of each required material from the list above.

Wood and stones, etc, will be dropped from trees and rocks once per day, so in order to build a ton of furniture and tools, be collect a lot of materials right away!

Things you should collect daily

Source Material Gained
Trees (Including Fruit Trees) 3 of the following:
Rocks 8 of the following:
・Iron Nuggets
Occasionally Bells will appear from a Money Rock

How to Unlock Nook's Cranny and Upgrade It

Decide on a Location

ACNH - Nook

After you have finally gotten all of the materials from above, you will be able to choose the shop's location. Anywhere open is fine, but since you'll be going there a lot, try and pick a spot near your own house! Talk to Timmy again after to complete the preparations.

To see more details on how to build Nook's Cranny, see the article below.

How to Unlock Nook's Cranny and Upgrade It

Building a House

Building a House
1 Get a lot of Miles to collect even more items.
2 Make lots of money.

Get a Lot of Miles to Collect More Items

ACNH - Nook Miles+.png

After asking Tom Nook for a home upgrade, you will be able to use the Nook Stop terminal to exchange your miles for more useful tools. This will allow you to get your hands on tools that don't break as quickly as the flimsy ones you start with.

After paying off your inital loan, you'll be able to upgrade to Nook Miles+ which will increase the number of miles you can get per day.

For starters, you should aim to save up enough Miles to ge the Pocket Organization Guide and the Pretty Good Tools Recipes.

What Should You Spend Nook Miles on First?

Make Lots of Money!

ACNH - 98000 Bells Loan.png

You will need to repay a new loan of 98,000 Bells after upgrading your home. This time, you have to pay in Bells instead of Miles, so sell fish and bugs and start saving!

How to Get Bells (Money) Fast

Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Should I do After Day 2?

Round the Corners

Answer: Become an Island Designer!

One of the main goals in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is to become an Island Designer. To do this, complete Tom Nook's tasks to earn as many items, bells (money), and Nook Miles as possible.

What You Can Do with Island Designer

How Do I Chop Down Trees?

ACNH - Chop Bamboo.png

Answer: Chop trees down with the Axe.

Though you can easily obtain the Flimsy Axe, and the Stone Axe, early in the game, you won't be able to chop down trees until you have the Axe.

Once you've repaid the initial loan of 5,000 Miles to Tom Nook, you'll be able to purchase the Pretty Good Tools Recipes for 3,000 Miles from Nook Stop on the “Redeem Your Miles” screen. This will give you access to a variety of non-Flimsy tools, including the Axe.

How to Chop Down Trees

How Do I Get Across the River?

ANCH - Crossing a River

Answer: One method is by using the Vaulting Pole.

You will be able to cross the river after obtaining the Vaulting Pole. To obtain it, give Tom Nook 5 distinct creatures, obtain the DIY recipe from Blathers, then create it in the DIY workbench. Click the button below for detailed instructions and for other methods of crossing the river.

How to Cross the River

Do I Have to Wait a Day for Events to Pass?

ACNH - Match Real World Time.png

Answer: No. You can travel to the future by changing the date and time on your Switch.

If you can't wait for the actual day to pass, manually change the date and time of your Switch. However, there are pros and cons to time travelling, so do it wisely. Click the button below to learn how to time travel.

How to Time Travel

How Do I Climb a Cliff?

ACNH - Ladder Recipe.png

Answer: Obtain and use the Ladder.

After crossing the river, you will still be limited by cliffs. The ladder won't be obtained until later in the game, but don't worry! You'll be able to progress through the game without obtaining it right away. Click the button below for detailed instructions on how to get the Ladder and climb cliffs.

How to Climb Cliffs

Can I Break Rocks?

ACNH - Whack Rocks.png

Answer: Yes! Eat fruit, then break rocks with an Axe or a Shovel.

It's possible to break rocks by eating food to gain stamina, then breaking rocks with an Axe or a Shovel. You can break one rock per one fruit eaten.

Rocks return after a day, so don't worry about running out of rocks to break! Click the button below for detailed instructions of how to break rocks.

How to Break Rocks

When Will the Airport (Online Play) Be Available?

ACNH - Orville Dialogue Online Play.png

Answer: One day after starting

The Airport is open for business from the second day of play. When you start playing, Tom Nook will announce that the Airport has been opened. Although you will arrive via the airport at the start of the game, you won't be able to start using its services until playing the game for at least one day.
How to Unlock the Airport

How Do I Raise My Island Rating?

ANCH - 5 Star Island.jpg

Answer: Decorate your Island!

To increase the island's star rating, decorate it with lots of furniture and add more flowers and trees. Placing DIY furniture will significantly increase your ratings, so rack up those materials and recipes!

How to Increase Island Star Rating

Can You Proceed With the Story As The Second Player?

Answer: You cannot proceed if you're not the Island Representative

The second and subsequent players cannot affect the story directly. Instead, they have to help the Island Representative to gather materials and furniture necessary to advance the story.

How Do You Make a Second Island?

Nintendo Switch

Answer: You need a second Switch

To create a second island, you need to have a second Switch. The way save files work in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is that each save file contains one island for one Switch. Every user one a Switch will have to share that island.

Related Guides


All Tips & Tricks

Beginner Guides

Beginner Guides
BeginnerBeginner's Guide to Animal Crossing New Horizons Unchangeable FeaturesUnchangeable Features
Which Hemisphere Should You Choose.pngChoosing a Hemisphere Choosing the Best IslandBest Island Layouts
What Should You Choose to Bring to the Island - Partial.pngWhat Should You Choose to Bring to the Island? Picking an IslandPicking an Island Name
Choosing the Best Tent LocationBest Tent Location How to Cross the River and Water Banner.pngHow to Cross Rivers and Waters
How to Get Furniture and Materails For House Kits.pngHow to Get Furniture and Materials for House Kits How to Climb Cliffs.pngHow to Climb Cliffs
What is the Bulletin Board Partial Banner.jpgWhat is the Bulletin Board? ACNH - How to Get Pocket Camp Items.pngHow to Get Pocket Camp Items
ACNh - How to Get Nook Points Thumbnail.pngHow to Get Nook Points


13 Anonymousabout 1 year

>>12 I don't think those are costumes. I think those are stuffed toys that looks like they're as big as costumes because of the scaled tables.

12 Anonymousabout 1 year

>>11 Just get a huge stuffed toy! Cheaper and Smaller. You can also sleep with it in bed so its functional hehe

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