16 Smaller Fun Features & Details in Animal Crossing: New Horizons You Might Have Missed (Analysis)

9 months ago 15 Comments

You’ve almost certainly already watched the entire Animal Crossing Direct yourself by now, but there’s even more smaller but exciting new Animal Crossing: New Horizons details you might have missed on first glance!

We thought this would be more interesting than simply recapping the major highlights from the Direct that you’ve likely already seen yourself or heard about multiple times. So instead, let’s go over sixteen pretty exciting smaller features and details seen in the new Animal Crossing: New Horizons footage released this week.

Much of the information in here also comes from the additional gameplay video clips released via the official Animal Crossing site that we compiled over here, in addition to information from the Animal Crossing Direct presentation too. Be sure to give those website clips a watch if you haven’t yet!

The Complete Set of Path Tiling Options

During the Animal Crossing Direct, more details on the path tiling feature in New Horizons were revealed showing the menu for selecting the type of path to place. However, not every path option was available and some remained locked.

Good news though! In one of the official website gameplay clips, the complete menu of path tiling options with every style unlocked was revealed for a very brief moment. You could easily miss it if you blinked, so here’s a screenshot with every path style!

The Critterpedia Has More Info Than Ever Before

Like most menus in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Critterpedia can now be found as an app on the NookPhone. Thanks to one of the official website clips, we can get a quick glance at how the Critterpedia looks in New Horizons.

It’s good we got this sneak peek because there are some sweet upgrades to be spotted even from just a few quick seconds of footage! For one, the Critterpedia now has details revealing the active months and hours of the day for every creature you’ve caught so far.

Unfortunately, we don’t think you can see this new information without first catching the creature once, but it’ll be helpful in a pinch for when villagers request a specific fish for example.

But wait, that’s not everything — there’s one more small yet very impactful feature to spot and that’s a new Donated indicator! Using this brand new indicator, you’ll now easily be able to check and see what creatures you’ve already donated to the Museum without making the trek over to find out.

This donated marker feature is going to be a huge help, especially in those early days when you’re not quite sure if you possibly missed donating one of the common creatures. I can’t be the only one who’s sold that first Coelacanth out of desperation for bells, only to forget whether I donated one later!

Marked Acres with Letters and Numbers Return

On the full map screen loaded from the NookPhone, we can spot a feature that hasn’t made an appearance in the Animal Crossing since GameCube — marked acres with letters and numbers!

In the original Animal Crossing, the map’s acres has a much larger presence than later games with each one marked using a letter and number system ranging from Acre A-1 to Acre E-5. In part, this was due to the game’s use of completely separately loaded acre squares, which have since been replaced by the ‘rolling log’ system used today.

Despite the ‘rolling log’ system remaining in use, we can clearly see that the acre markings have returned! This might seem superficial at first glance, but these markings enable new gameplay features that have been missing in recent games.

For example, in Animal Crossing on GameCube, a villager will sometimes bury and hide a rare item in a specific acre leaving a note on the Bulletin Board sharing where you might find it. (image credit) Or when checking on the status of your Perfect Town, the game can easily pin-point where in your town you need to fix things up.

Those are just some examples of what previous games have done too — there’s plenty of new possibilities that Nintendo could think up for implementing the acre markings in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see!

Message In A Bottle Confirmed

There’s been many, many hints about the message in a bottle feature returning in Animal Crossing: New Horizons between the back of the special edition Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch system and the art on a pre-order cleaning cloth.

None of those hints were particularly concrete, but we finally have confirmation that it’s actually happening with a small appearance seen on the beach in an official website gameplay clip! In the bottom right of the clip showing the player at the dock, a message in the bottle can clearly be seen on the shore.

We don’t know how the message in a bottle will work in New Horizons yet, but in Animal Crossing: Wild World they functioned as a way to send an anonymous message to another player, or receive one from another player on your shore.

Sometimes you could also find one on your shore written by Nintendo, and not another player, and some of them were pretty funny!

The Nooklings Shop Decorates Seasonally

In Animal Crossing, the vast majority of shops and buildings have a fixed exterior design that never changes outside of upgrades, but it looks like the Nookling Shops will change their appearance occasionally based on current seasons or happenings. Or at least the fancier versions will!

In one scene that features in the Animal Crossing Direct, we can see the shop is decked out with Halloween decorations including spider webs and pumpkins. Presumably this scene takes place in October.

Then in another scene from the website gameplay video clips, the same shop appears to be decorated with summer seasonal decorations like a lighthouse and a lifesaver!

Technically, we don’t actually know for sure whether this shop is actually the Nooklings Shop or not, but it’s a pretty safe bet given that all the daily essentials like flower seeds and medicine you expect to find there are in the windows.

The GameCube Glowing Dig Spot Might Return

Hidden on the left side at night during one of the sweeping landscape shots during the Animal Crossing Direct, a suspicious glowing marker can be seen on the ground! While we don’t know for sure what this is yet, it sure bears a suspicious resemblance to the glowing dig spots seen back in Animal Crossing for GameCube.

For the unfamiliar, that game featured a daily special dig spot each and every day marked by a shining glowing aura. Digging your shovel into the spot rewarded you with 1000 Bells, but more importantly you could bury either a shovel or a bag of bells back into the spot for something special to happen!

If you buried a shovel, a golden tree would begin to grow eventually dropping a golden shovel tool when shaken. If you buried a bag of bells, a Bell Tree could potentially grow in that spot. (in later games, this can be done anywhere)

As a big fan of the original GameCube game, I’m really hoping this is the return of the shining spot, but I’m not totally convinced yet by what we’re seeing. I’m open to the possibility it could be something else too until we see more.

Furniture Can Now Use Half Tiles

We’ve known for some time that Animal Crossing: New Horizons will make use of the new half tile system from Happy Home Designer allowing for more refined placement and arrangement of furniture in those smaller increments.

It turns out that feature is taking an extra step beyond Happy Home Designer though as one of the website gameplay clips reveals a crafting screen for a new furniture that features a size of 1.5 x 1.5 tiles! Yes, that’s right — furniture in New Horizons can use half tiles for their sizes too!

We have to wonder whether any pre-existing furniture from past Animal Crossing will be remade into half tile increments too, can you think of any good items that would benefit from this change?

New Helpful Crafting UI Indicators

Speaking of crafting, there’s a few more handy new indicators seen in the crafting user interface to mark various helpful information!

Specifically, we can see three new icons in the craftable items list…

  • An icon indicating an item can be customized into different colors or other changes
  • An icon indicating you have already previously crafted an item
  • An icon indicating you have an item in your item storage already

Beyond these icons on the main crafting list, we can find them displayed on individual pages too. All three indicators are confirmed by information and icons shown on the individual page as seen below.

It’s great to see that the user interface for crafting has been carefully designed to be easy to keep track of all the items we’ll have to create!

Mystery Furniture Customization Currency?

One of the most exciting reveals in the Animal Crossing Direct for myself was the improved flow to customization of furniture in New Horizons. While the customization feature offered many fun options in New Leaf, I found myself rarely using it in practice due to the clunky dialogue with Cyrus and the 30-minute timer.

Thankfully, these issues seem to be fixed in New Horizons with instant customization and a very helpful interface showing all of the options on one screen with design previews! But we couldn’t help notice that some kind of mysterious new currency will required now to make custom changes.

We can see this new currency resembling a yellow box with a paint brush both as a required 4 cost to make the customization change in the screenshot above, as well as a total amount currently available displayed in the top right of the screen. This is the same as how Bells and Nook Miles are displayed.

One important questions remains then — how will we obtain this new mystery currency? I’ve got no clue from everything I’ve seen so far, but if I’m missing something and this currency has been revealed with how to get it, please let me know in the comments. What do you think?

You Might Get To Pick Which Villagers Move In

If you pay attention closely to Tom Nook’s dialogue during the section of the Animal Crossing Direct showing off new residents moving onto your island, there’s an interesting detail that could hint at the choices you’ll have with new villagers.

Specifically, Tom Nook says to the player that ‘we have 3 interested parties’ and the number three is even highlighted with blue colored text! In our opinion, this seems to pretty clearly indicate that we’ll be given the option to actually pick from three potential villager applicants to join the island.

While it might not be the complete flexibility some fans may hope for, having the option to pick from 3 potential villagers to move in would still be a huge step forward in customization and allow you to keep those…. undesired animals away from your paradise!

Passport Titles

We’ve known about the Nook Miles feature since E3 last year where completing select goals around your island will earn you some of the new Nook Miles currency. But a little extra tidbit related to Nook Miles appeared in the Animal Crossing Direct when completing a goal!

As seen in the screenshot above, when you complete a goal a pop-up shows how many Nook Miles you have been rewarded, but there’s a second section we haven’t seen before. It appears we will unlock ‘title keywords’ too!

What are title keywords exactly? We don’t know for sure yet, but let’s connect a few simple dots. The icon displayed next to the title is actually the Passport icon! That’s the new name for your Town Pass Card as far as we can tell so far.

So our guess is that these title keywords could as options to give your character a fancy title on your personal passport. For example, by unlocking the Accomplished title keyword from this goal, maybe my profile name could read Accomplished Justin instead of Justin.

This feature would be very reminiscent of the titles you can unlock in MMOs like World of Warcraft and add a fun extra element to show off your Nook Miles accomplishments to friends!

More Items Revealed in Shops via Japanese Direct

One of the highlights of the Animal Crossing Direct was getting to see more information and visuals on the various shops in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but it turns out there’s even more to be seen if you watch the Japanese version too!

Nook’s Cranny, Able Sisters, and Kicks’ shopping window all feature different items for sale between the English Animal Crossing Direct and the Japanese Nintendo Direct. Take a look at all of the different items between both versions in the screenshots below…

Amiibo Can Unlock Villager and Special Character Posters

The Animal Crossing Direct covered how you can use compatible amiibo figures and cards to invite villagers to your campground or take pictures with them in a photo shoot at Photopia, but there’s one extra amiibo feature that wasn’t covered in the presentation.

According to the Japanese website, scanning an amiibo will unlock a special poster for that character to purchase! This will work for both special characters and villagers.

What a great way to decorate your home with your favorite Animal Crossing characters!

Ornaments Drop From Christmas Trees, Craft With Them?

This is a bit of weird one that we don’t really have much of an explanation for, but in a quick clip near the end of the Animal Crossing Direct, the player can be seen shaking a tree with Christmas lights… and dropping an ornament from it?!

She then proceeds to pick up the ornament into her pockets and run away with it. I’m at a bit of a loss for what this could be, but the most obvious possibility that comes to mind is a crafting material to create Christmas and holiday themed furniture!

Expand Your Inventory & Other Features With Nook Miles

Possibly one of the most exciting smaller features to be spotted in this week’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons news has to be the greatly expanded inventory option! Specifically seen in one of the official website gameplay video clips, the player inventory can be completely doubled to four full rows of inventory space at some point.

Big inventory expansion has been one of my personal Animal Crossing dreams for a long time and I’m so glad it’s finally here. Besides, we’re definitely going to need it with all of the new crafting materials, which is probably why Nintendo added it.

We’re guessing that this expanded inventory is likely unlocked via the ‘Pocket Organization Guide’ special item purchasable for 5000 Nook Miles. It’s possible that this refers to something else, but given the hefty price, it makes sense. If not, we’re pretty sure it’ll be another even more expensive Nook Miles upgrade.

Speaking of Nook Miles upgrades, there’s a few other pretty interesting unlocks seen in the same list including…

  • ‘Nook Miles Ticket’ to unlock adventuring to a Mystery Tours island
  • ‘Custom Design Pro Editor’ to unlock the more advanced pattern maker
  • ‘Pretty Good Tools Recipes’ to unlock the next quality level of tool crafting recipes
  • ‘Tool Ring: It’s Essential!’ to unlock the shortcut to access your tools faster on a dial
  • ‘Top 8 Pop Hairstyles’ and ‘Top 8 Cool Hairstyles’ to unlock additional hairstyles beyond the initial eight
  • ‘Top 8 Stylish Hair Colors’ to unlock additional hair colors beyond the initial eight

K.K. Slider Spotted

This isn’t really a new ‘feature’ so to speak, but if you look really closely in the top left of the Animal Crossing Direct when the various players of an 8-player island are being shown off, you can see a brief glimpse of K.K. Slider himself!

And looking at the design of the doors behind him, we can tell that he’s standing in front of the proper Town Hall later built on the Resident Services plot.

Based on this it seems that K.K. Slider will appear as a visitor in front of the Town Hall from time to time, just like other special characters were seen doing in the Direct such as Kicks, Label, and Harvey. That’s a little odd though given he’s had a venue to perform at for many Animal Crossing games now — perhaps this is just a first introduction to unlock building his venue?


Whew!! Over 2800 words later, that’s our summary of 16 smaller fun features and details in Animal Crossing: New Horizons you might have missed from the recent Animal Crossing Direct and other new footage released this month.

I hope you enjoyed reading and learned something new you didn’t already know — please leave a comment below sharing what your favorite feature or detail on this list is!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches worldwide in less a month from now on March 20th! Check out our release date countdown here, or pre-order the game here. Stay tuned to Animal Crossing World for more news as we approach the release!

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