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Animal Crossing: New Horizons balloon colors guide

Shoot down balloons to get some sweet loot

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An Animal Crossing character holding a slingshot stands under a blue balloon with a gift attached 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.

While playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Switch, players will occasionally find balloons flying overhead carrying gifts.

To get the gifts, you’ll need a Slingshot to shoot these down. You can typically nab one from the Timmy’s tent store, even before Nook’s Cranny opens. You can also craft them once you take Tom Nook’s DIY class within the first few days of being on the island.

To find balloons, you’ll have to listen closely for the sound of wind blowing. The louder it is, the closer you are to a balloon. Use your right analog stick to tilt the camera to help you look around. Once you’re directly under it, press A to fire your Slingshot. Once the balloon gets hit, it’ll pop, and a present will fall to the ground.

Take care to not pop them over water, or you’ll lose the present. There is a Nook Mileage achievement for doing this once, so it may be worth letting happen just one time.

During the daytime, (from 5 a.m. until 6 p.m.) balloons will spawn from one side of your beach. At nighttime, (from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m.) balloons will spawn from the other side instead.

Balloons all carry a random assortment of items inside, though certain colors are more likely to carry certain things. Based on our tests, as well as reports from others, we can determine that the following colors drop these things the most often:

  • Yellow balloons: Bells
  • Blue balloons: crafting materials (Clay, Iron Nuggets, etc)

There are conflicting reports and not enough data to confirm for sure what red and green balloons drop the most, but green balloons are skewing towards clothing in our data. Some people have reported that red balloons will drop DIY recipes more than others, but we haven’t been able to confirm this.

During some special events, like Bunny Day, specially colored balloons will fly around your island with special items and recipes.

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