How To Time Travel In Animal Crossing: New Horizons

How To Time Travel In Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons operates on real world time, and you’ll often need to wait to unlock certain buildings, characters and materials. For those of us who just can’t wait, there’s a better solution — time travel.

This article has been updated since its original publication.

While time travel carries a great deal of reward, it’ll also cause major issues in the game. Here’s what you need to know about Animal Crossing‘s time travel function.

How do you time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Time travelling in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is fairly simple. Because the game operates on a real world clock, all you’ll need to do is change the time on your Nintendo Switch console.

Here’s how to do it:

  • On the home screen, navigate to settings
  • Select ‘System’ from the dropdown menu
  • Select ‘Date and Time’ and choose the date you want to travel to

When you open Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll wake up on your selected date.

What are the risks and rewards of time travel in Animal Crossing?

animal crossing new horizons time travel

Time travelling in Animal Crossing lets you skip through the painful wait times of construction works and gain new features like terraforming faster. You’ll be able to breeze through the first few days of Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ lengthy grind and get to work building your dream town.

You can even take advantage of the game’s banking system to gain millions of bells in interest — to do this, simply travel back in time (40+ years), deposit an amount in the bank and travel forward a few decades to claim your built up interest.

But for all its benefits, time travelling in New Horizons carries great risk particularly, when it comes to calendar events like Bunny Day, which runs from April 1-12.

To participate in events, your Nintendo Switch console connects to the internet and veries your console’s date. If the dates don’t match up, you won’t be able to participate — but changing them back should be no issue if you’ve time travelled and still want to take part.

While you can easily travel back to an event date with no consequences, note that your town will likely develop weed problems, any food left out will rot, cockroaches will invade your home and villagers will feel abandoned if you travel forward too far.

For the time poor, Animal Crossing‘s time travel function can be a godsend, but it also takes a lot of the fun and relaxation out of the game.

Should you choose to time travel, use your newfound power wisely.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a fun and relaxing game, but there's also a lot of hidden challenges you might not be aware of. If you speak to Isabelle at the Town Hall, you can ask for an island evaluation to get a score out of five. Most towns sit in the two to three star range — and you'll have to put in work to earn the elusive five stars.

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  • Brings to mind all the games where people try to use this and end up corrupting their save games.

    Which reminds me… oh god. I’ve forgotten to do a few months worth of Calendar Man visits in Arkham City. Oh well. Maybe next year.

  • With AC, it’s about the journey rather than the destination. You really shouldn’t time travel unless you want to get bored with the game real fast. Once all buildings are standing and you’ve finished the museum collection, all Nook Miles achievements and saw all seasonal events, there’s not much else to do. You can only change the layout of the island and move furniture around your house this many times until it gets boring. Don’t try and rush through any AC game, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Take it slow. It feels much more rewarding that way and the fun will last longer.

  • I don’t time travel myself but I totally understand that not everyone has the scheduling freedom to play in real time. If it’s what you’re into remember that all the daily stuff resets at 5am not midnight. 10am and 8pm are probably the times you want to hit unless you’re after a specific bug/fish. Everything is open, all the day stuff should have spawned by 10am and all the night stuff should have spawned by 8am.

    One big warning I’d give to people looking to get ahead through time travel is to make sure what you’re doing is actually worth the effort of changing the clock. A lot of people assume it’s a cheat and thus they must be making killer stacks of bells and super fast progress, but after traveling through a month they’ve made barely any bells and literally zero progress towards anything else. They’ve functionally played an entire month without buying stalks, shaking trees, talking to villagers, popping balloons, visiting mystery islands, etc so they have no DIY recipes, no good items, no progress towards achievements, no special floors/walls.

    There’s a big difference between getting the most out of your days and seeing the most days.

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