Bits & Bytes: Paradise

Robert talks the Happy Home Paradise DLC expansion in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 11/14/2021 23:58 Comment on this     ShareThis

Bits & Bytes is a weekly column where Editor-in-Chief Robert shares his thoughts about video games and the industry on a lazy Sunday. Light reading for a day of rest, Bits & Bytes is short, to the point, and something to read with a nice drink.

I’ll admit it: I stopped playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons daily around April or May this year. Oh, I’d check in here and there, rip out some weeds, go on digital dates with my girlfriend. I didn’t abandon my island completely. Yet, for as much as I enjoyed New Horizons at launch and in the months that followed, especially while being stuck home during quarantine, I was shocked by how quickly I stopped being excited about the game. In fact, it’s the first Animal Crossing game that so rapidly exhausted its welcome with me.

Maybe it was the missing features and character, maybe it was having been so locked in for so long due to COVID, but I quickly became exhausted with my island and its upkeep. Then Nintendo went and launched Version 2.0 of New Horizons alongside the Happy Home Paradise DLC. My goodness. Talk about an absolute blast of fresh air. New Horizons is reborn with this content drop, my friends. And I’m once again logging in extensive hours playing.

The 2.0 update alone is enough to be satisfying. New items, new places to go, new things to do—those who aren’t interested in buying the DLC won’t be disappointed. Version 2.0 is no slouch. You can get the full rundown at this link, but in short know that you’ll have your hands full planting crops, expanding Harv’s Island, and saying hello to Brewster on a daily basis.

The Happy Home Paradise expansion is what really makes this refresh of New Horizons sing. It’s brilliant. It has been a long time since I played Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer on 3DS, but Happy Home Paradise was a firm reminder as to why I loved that game so much back in the day. I think one of the main draws for many an Animal Crossing fan is decorating their houses. This is that activity with a massive injection of adrenaline. The expanded tools, the greater variety of items, the increased control over placement of said items within the house, and the introduction of partitions and pillars have all resulted in an intoxicating new way to experience New Horizons.

If there’s any downside to it all, it’s that coming back to my main island feels almost underwhelming. The unbridled creative spirit of Happy Home Paradise has sucked me back in and won’t let go anytime soon. I lose hours perfecting each home for my clients. Being able to bring favorite neighbors from my island to Lotti’s paradise, plus calling in favorites with amiibo and amiibo cards, further amplifies the experience. I implore you to check out Version 2.0 and Happy Home Paradise if you fell off with New Horizons like I did—or if you’d originally thought the game seemed to vanilla from the outset.

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