clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ bugs are way too realistic

Nobody asked for the bugs in Animal Crossing to be hyper realistic, but here we are

An Animal Crossing character holds up a bug, which has a mosaic censoring it. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

I have an issue with bugs. While I won’t go into hysterics upon seeing one, they make my skin crawl. I’d rather not see any bugs, ever. Unfortunately, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which is supposed to be my getaway to a fantasy animal world, has turned into a bug-infested nightmare.

Previous Animal Crossing games had bug-based mechanics, but the insects and arachnids of games like New Leaf and City Folk were never particularly scary, in part due to their low resolution graphics. Sure, they were still disgusting bugs and they made awful buzzing sounds when you scared them off trees, but they were never realistic enough to deter me from catching them. But with the higher resolution graphics of the Nintendo Switch comes ... higher resolution buggies.

Both the bugs and fish in New Horizons you can catch have been updated to look more realistic — contrary to Animal Crossing’s cute, cartoon art style. While I don’t mind the high-fidelity fish, seeing my adorable villager hoist up photorealistic insects and other creepy crawlies has definitely made me shiver on multiple occasions.

Butterflies and some other small bugs, like pill bugs, are OK. The detail for butterflies is mostly in the wings, so it’s not like the game forces me to zoom in on the insects’ faces. Everything else, though, is absolutely abhorrent.

I caught a centipede in the game, and knowing that I would be forced to look at the disgusting creature with its many legs, I turned my Nintendo Switch screen away and just smashed A until my character put the bug into her pocket.

An animated GIF of a spider chasing a villager in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
A terrifying encounter
Image: Nintendo

When the sun sets, predators come out. To ensure that you feel like you could potentially be in danger, just like a real-life deserted island, tarantulas and scorpions venture out at night. While previous games had these as rare creatures that could only appear during specific months of the year, at least one of them will always be eligible to pop up and kill you when you least expect it. And they spawn fairly frequently.

Everything in Animal Crossing is so adorable. I have a campsite with a bench and a campfire, a hot spring area surrounded by bamboo, and a delightful fruit orchard. It only takes one scorpion to completely ruin this delightful atmosphere. And it happens too often.

One night I celebrated the opening of a new bridge in my town with Tom Nook and my other residents, only to be plopped back into the square in front of Resident Services automatically after. A tarantula was there waiting for me. I yelped in real life and booked it back to my character’s home, entering in hopes of despawning the foul beast. I was safe, but only for a moment. From that day on, I consistently flip the clock from p.m. to a.m. when it gets too late in the day in hopes of avoiding the awful arachnid.

Blathers talks about how disgusting bugs are while holding a caged bug
Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

I’m not the only one who shares this sentiment. Blathers, the museum curator, despises bugs. In fact, when you hand him a new bug and tell him that you don’t want to hear his spiel about the bug, he seems relieved. (He appears disappointed for fossils and fish.) He doesn’t want to talk about them. He sweats and freaks out when you hand him one, but Blathers is still out here running the museum fully. He’s inspiring. Just like him, I will suck it up and force myself to persevere. I will collect all the bugs. Even the tarantula.

We’re all looking for relaxation in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Now is when we need a simulated tropical island vacation the most. Nintendo, if you’re reading this, please provide the option to disable the appearance of some of these scarier bugs. The butterflies can stay, but let me get rid of the creepy arachnids.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon