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Four Animal Crossing improvements we’d love to see

We’ve prepared a list of demands

A villager carrying a fishing rod smiles on the beach in a screenshot from Animal Crossing: New Horizons Image: Nintendo via Polygon
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

To play an Animal Crossing game, one needs some degree of patience. There are massive home loans and public works projects to pay off, daily chores to grind through, and the interminable waiting for a good villager, like Hamlet the perfect jock hamster, to come to my island. Seriously, where is he?

But certain aspects of Animal Crossing: New Horizons are testing our patience, and there are some quality-of-life tweaks that could go a long way to making the Nintendo Switch life sim less stressful. Nintendo has been aggressively updating the game to fix bugs and tweak systems, so hopefully the game maker will address some of our bigger concerns sooner rather than later.

Here are just a few things we’d love to see smoothed out in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Bulk crafting

Crafting DIY items from recipes is a big component of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Nintendo has streamlined aspects of the building process, but there is still room for improvement. We’d love to be able to bulk craft certain items, like fish bait, medicine, and household items. Anyone who struggled to catch a stringfish in March knows the pain of making fish bait, but sometimes you just feel like crafting a full set of chairs from all that excess wood, y’know?

Alternatively, to address the fish bait situation specifically, it sure would be nice if manila clams stacked the same way that seashells and fruit do. Or, just let Tommy and Timmy sell us bait in bulk. When the end of the month rolls around, and we’re all mass producing fish bait, let’s hope Nintendo has some sort of solution for us.

Crafting items from storage

I keep a lot of building materials, like wood and iron nuggets, in my pockets, just in case a tool breaks and I need to whip up a replacement. But I also have approximately 9,000 Bunny Day eggs sitting in storage right now in anticipation of a mass crafting project for our thankless servant Zipper. The point is: It sure would be nice if working at a DIY workbench would let players craft items utilizing the materials in storage in their homes. Everyone wants to free up space in their pockets for tarantula hunting, and this option would be really nice to have.

A faster Dodo Airlines experience

Nintendo is a developer beloved for its ability to make fun, highly polished, and inventive video games. Nintendo is less beloved for its ability to integrate internet connectivity and online multiplayer in its video games. Animal Crossing: New Horizons lets players visit each other’s islands over the internet, and the implementation of that feature is so very Nintendo. Merely getting through the dialogue steps required to visit a friend via Dodo Code is one of the bigger pain points in New Horizons, which is further compounded by the actual traveling process that affects all players on an island.

Twitter user Mehdi recently presented a possible option for streamlined Dodo Airlines dialogue (and bulk crafting, too!), which we like:

And look, we know that Nintendo wants to be considerate of new players and utilize clear, easy-to-follow instructions for playing its games online. But as we play Animal Crossing games for months, if not years, eventually we’re all going to get even more impatient with this process.

Of course, joining someone’s island (or having someone join your island) is a pain in general. Connecting takes a long time, it effectively pauses the game for all players any time someone joins or leaves a session, and online play is just finicky in general. That’s a bigger issue, and something we hope Nintendo will eventually streamline.

Tool durability

Tools break in Animal Crossing: New Horizons — even gold ones. That’s ... fine. It’s Nintendo’s decision and I’m sure it has its reasons. What’s not so cool is the surprise puff of smoke that signals that your shovel, fishing rod, or ax has just broken, and it’s time to craft a replacement. What would be nice is some sort of indicator or warning that a tool is about to break. Some players have suggested durability meters, which would present a possible UI challenge. Perhaps Animal Crossing: New Horizons could communicate an impending tool breakdown in other ways, either visually or aurally. All I know is that Polygon’s own commerce editor recently had her shovel break in the middle of whacking at a money rock, depriving her of thousands of bells. That feels bad.

What else?

There are a dozen other little quirks and annoyances I could list here, and some of my Polygon colleagues have suggested tweaks to how we plant flowers, how to more efficiently purchase clothing from the Able Sisters, and other text-skipping options (some of those butterfly-catching puns are already getting stale). But what else stands out to you? What would improve your Animal Crossing: New Horizons quality of life?

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.