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Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise DLC Review (Switch eShop)

When Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer was released on 3DS, it was considered a bit of an odd animal by some. It was fun and charming enough, but the main problem was that it was difficult to sell as a standalone retail game. It was a good time when you took the plunge, but the designer / decor concept didn’t fit easily with Nintendo’s release strategy.

We are now in a different era with more powerful hardware and a far more successful and extensive eShop, and as a result, Nintendo decided to take the plunge into a mainline game of Animal Crossing with its first paid DLC – aside from monetizing it, of course free mobile title Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise is available as part of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack or as an individual purchase and offers a lot of content, but most of all, of course, it integrates with the main experience to offer it even more Depth.

Once you have the DLC, it will appear in-game much like free content additions – seamlessly. You are told to go to the airport, where you will be introduced to Lottie and essentially get a job, and then all you have to do is decide to go to the airport whenever it fits your Animal Crossing schedule. It’s that simple, and at the beginning you will be treated to an extremely nice introductory sequence that gives this player a very cozy atmosphere.

As with many Animal Crossing games, you are encouraged to play in small chunks, immersing yourself daily or at least in short sessions throughout the day. You’re nudged to rest, not overwork, and so on, and we think it’s best enjoyed at a steady pace, maybe one design a day. Some will want to dive in and spend hours designing houses – and that’s fine, of course – but there is a lot to be said for integrating this DLC into your daily pattern with the wider game.

Just like the “original” 3DS that formed the basis for this expansion, the focus is on working for customers to bring them dream homes. You have a brief overview, choose a desired property – with different islands with different landscapes and seasons – and then get to work. You can work outside of any property, although ours prefer basic Our instinct for design prompted us to duck into the house relatively early on to face the task at hand.

An important point is that this falls into the “healthy” category in the sense that participation counts. Each challenge will give you some essential pieces of furniture that you should consider mandatory, and then you will be given a wider selection of “suggested” items that fit the theme. You’re certainly not trying to use everything, nor are you stopped from exploring the wider categories and getting a bit wild with your design. Ultimately, despite our dubious sense of style, we had enthusiastic customers who adored their vacation home.

So this is not a win or lose game, as such you are simply having a good time; this is Animal Crossing for you. Similar to the core game, however, it’s the atmosphere and sunny optimism of the experience that provide the motivation to create the best darned rooms. Even as we fiddled with room layouts and compared carpets, the player chasing dots said “why bother” only to be told to relax and unwind. The lack of criticism and challenge is welcome, you just do your best and everyone is very nice. That’s nothing bad.

Real depth is also offered in the further course. New skills are gradually being rolled out, so it takes a while to set up partitions and do the fanciest things. It’s a steady approach that works well, and it will take a reasonable amount of time to work through all of Happy Home Paradise’s “story”. It can take several weeks to dig through your clients if you want, depending on how much you invest on a daily basis.

And luckily, your many designs have an overarching purpose. You end up designing “facilities” as part of steady progress, and as your customer base grows you may find that you like them and build bonds like you do on your island home; You get more out of the light-touch progression beats when you get to know the villager’s characters. In addition, you can also use souvenir chocolates to lure the residents of your island to the new location, or finally, use amiibo cards to summon favorite characters.

With its clever additions to the designer formula, Happy Home Paradise also creates cute new scenes and contexts for characters that you may not have seen in the base game. If the sheer charm and joy of Animal Crossing is a reason you still love the series, you’re going to love some of the settings and scenarios here. As already mentioned, you get what you put in and those who do their best with designs are rewarded with moments that are pure joy.

Little by little you also have the opportunity to purchase a large selection of stylish novelties and goodies. Your job has its own currency – poki – which you spend in the office store when everyday things catch your eye. You’ll also make a lot of that money over time, so you’re unlikely to run out of money. Also, after you’ve bought something once and go home, it’ll be added to your standard catalog and you can use Bells to buy duplicates. Since the DLC is a one-time “premium” purchase, aspects like this are designed to be fun without the dangers of microtransaction approaches.

Your new design and optimization skills will follow you from your work island too – that may not explain this well enough. For example, you learn early on how to polish objects to a shine. When you go home, press ‘L’ and you’ll have the same skill (and cute outfit) on your home island. As a result, once you learn nice new techniques, you can immediately start making your own island a little bit fancier. All of this is part of this natural integration that ensures that the extension doesn’t feel out of place or “locked in”.

Assuming the price stays relatively static and stays on the Switch Online Expansion Pass, is it worth buying with one of these purchase options? Absolutely. Whatever your method of purchase, it’s great value here – the Light Touch story is relatively long and you’ll have a relaxed and charming time. It’s not a rush-to-rush game “campaign”, but rather fits the template of the broader Animal Crossing experience to suit regular, relaxed sessions. There’s no rush and it integrates so naturally with the main game that you could soon completely forget about its DLC status.

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With Happy Home Paradise, Animal Crossing: New Horizons feels like a “definitive” release, especially when combined with the extensive free additions to version 2.0. It’s beautifully polished – and that’s no indication of the skills you deserve here – adding even more variety and depth to your daily AC island life. You can discover new villagers to call friends and maybe even learn a little about how to better decorate rooms and houses. Most importantly, it just makes us smile – that alone is the best recommendation we can make.



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