Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been out for a little over two years at this point, and the game's sold over 36 million copies. Since release, though, there have been tons of updates and even a major DLC, Happy Home Paradise, added to the game. Accordingly, many continue to wonder if they should start fresh with a totally new island. So, in this article, we'll tell you if you should restart your Animal Crossing island.
Why Do People Restart Their Animal Crossing Islands?
Animal Crossing is a game all about slow, endless progression. Over the course of weeks, months, and even years in real-time, you slowly experience everything the game has to offer, finding more items, locating the best villagers, and enjoying each seasonal event. So, restarting your island can seem counterintuitive, at a glance.
However, there are a few major reasons why those who choose to restart actually do it. First off, villagers. Getting a good set of villagers you actually like is a big part of the Animal Crossing experience, and rather than trying to move out every one of your villagers and replace them, hopefully, with somebody better, it can be easier to simply restart your game and try your hand at finding villagers and inviting them to your island once again.
Outside of the villager grind, if you've done a lot of terraforming, the process of undoing your previous work, moving buildings around, and re-terraforming your island can take dozens of hours itself, and many already planning on making that kind of time commitment to the game may simply prefer to restart their island and start from scratch.
Plus, there are ways you can make restarting your island less punishing. If you have a friend you trust, or even access to another Switch with a copy of Animal Crossing, you can actually store quite a lot of your stuff on another island, restart your island, and then return and bring all your stuff back, immediately leaping you ahead in terms of progress, items, furniture, etcetera.
Naturally, your first time playing New Horizons will be a lot slower than any future playthroughs, so it's also very true that you can speed through the early game much quicker when you know what you're doing. Plus, New Horizons has an extremely vibrant economy online, so you can effectively trade for anything you lose (or simply just want) rather easily, assuming you've the Bells or Nook Mile Tickets, of course.
All told, people restart their islands mainly because they aren't happy with its setup or the villagers they've got, and there can oftentimes be ways to make the process not feel so slow and punishing, so it's less work than you think it might be. However, if there was a better way of managing villagers and switching up how your island looks, restarting wouldn't be as compelling an option.
What You Can Do Instead of Restarting Your Animal Crossing Island
The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do instead of restarting that try to solve the same problems restarting solves. If you haven't played that much Animal Crossing, restarting isn't a big deal, but chances are, you're only thinking about restarting if you've already played the game for a while. And in those cases, restarting always comes with massive drawbacks in the form of either losing all the items you found, crafted, and cataloged or spending all the time needed to save your stuff on another island.
In terms of villagers, if you don't like even any of the villagers you have, you can change your entire roster more directly and effectively than by restarting. First off, there's a huge community on websites, Discords, and even eBay listings where people buy, sell, and trade villagers. With some work, you'll usually be able to find what you're looking for, if you've got the cash for it.
There's also a robust community out there for DIYing your own Amiibo cards. Like emulation or modding, Nintendo doesn't really want you to do this, and depending on where you live it can technically fall into a legal gray area, but nonetheless, this is a popular solution backed up by a large community online and a healthy variety of apps and services. Through Amiibo cards, you can invite any villager you want to your island, and you can choose who you'd like to replace directly.
Lastly, if you're feeling intimidated by having to re-terraform or island your island again, you may be better served by time-traveling for the duration of the 'renovation' rather than by restarting. See, restarting will, naturally, add on a ton of time for you to build up your island and resources before you can even really think about villagers or terraforming. Of course, time-traveling through your restart can lessen the impact of this, but by simply speeding through moving houses, inviting campsite villagers, and waiting for flowers and crops to grow, making massive changes to an existing island becomes a lot more manageable.
Plus, you can rely on many services from the community. People are willing to help you plan designs, make you custom patterns, do chores for you, and, really, almost anything you can think up. By leveraging the multiplayer component of the game, you can oftentimes accomplish much more than you can by restarting.
However, it's fair to say that a lot of these tips and tricks you can fold into a restarted island to make that process even smoother and easier. This is definitely true. Ultimately, if you want to restart your island, you should, but just make sure you're not going to instantly feel intimidated by the journey ahead of you and regret the decision before quickly tiring of the game and leaving it behind altogether. As always, do what's best for you!