Baby’s First Switch: A Beginner’s Guide to Animal Crossing

Baby’s First Switch: A Beginner’s Guide to Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing New Horizons. Image: Nintendo

It’s been about a month since I started playing Animal Crossing and asked for all your best tips and tricks to help guide me along my journey and wow y’all really did help me out.

From learning that patience is a virtue to how to get more bells, I’ve learned a lot in my first month of playing and now I want to impart some of that wisdom to those who might have just started playing Animal Crossing.

So, without further ado, here is this week’s Baby’s First Switch, you’re ultimate beginner’s guide to Animal Crossing. 

Setting up your island

It seems only logical to start a beginner’s guide with some tips about how to set up your island.

As soon as you land in the fabulous world of Animal Crossing you’ll be prompted to name your island. Just be wary that you can’t change it after it’s been set, so think of a good name!

The same goes for your name and your birthday so make sure you get it right the first time otherwise you’ll be stuck with a typo in your name forever.

When it comes time to pick the layout of your island, make sure you pick your favourite one where you’ll have enough space to put tents, houses and a museum down. The last thing you want is to run out of space or have your island feel too crowded.

Unlike your island and user name and your birthday, you can change the layout of your island in the future but it will take a long time, so settle on one that you like.

Getting bells

I think something that everyone who plays Animal Crossing wants to know is how to get more Bells. Bells are basically the currency system within the game and you can gain them for doing certain tasks on the island.

Like our treacherous reality, we have to buy and sell things to make a living whilst also paying off the debts that we owe. This means that Bells are quite the commodity.

The best way to gain Bells, which was pointed out by several readers, is to use the Stalk Market when you get to that point in the game.

Every Sunday the markets will pop up and you can buy some turnips to then sell later on in Nookling’s Shop for a higher price during the week. Don’t think it as scalping but more an entrepreneurial scheme.

In the meantime, however, you can find some Bells by digging the shiny spots in the ground that pop up once a day. These little golden spots will give you 1,000 Bells which is pretty neat.

If you rebury the bag of bells, a Bell Tree will start to sprout which you can reap the benefits of every few days.

A good hack is to plant a larger quantity of Bells back into the ground so you can get a bigger Bell Tree. Wow, I wish this was real life.

Baby’s First Switch: A Beginner’s Guide to Animal Crossing
Money Tree. Image: Nintendo Animal Crossing: New Horizons Guide.

Other useful tips for your first month of playing

Move really carefully when catching animals. Imagine you’re a tiny little bug or a cool, calm and collected fish swimming in the sea and all of a sudden a giant person starts thumping up to you, you’d be scared too, right? To avoid doing that, when you’re about to catch something, press down A to sneak around with a net in your hand. Just be mindful that letting go of A will make your net swing, so make sure the bug is lined up.

Shake every bloody tree. This is especially important when you’re heading off to a mystery island. More often than not, you’ll find that shaking a tree will give you a piece of furniture. In saying that, however, make sure you have your net readily available because wasps will come down and they will be angry with you. Tap A with your net to catch them before they get all up in your grill.

Get more Nook Miles. A great way for getting more Nook Miles is to simply visit the NookStop once a day to get those beautiful miles so you can pay off your debts.

Get more inventory. Probably the most annoying part about Animal Crossing is that you can’t hold everything in your pockets. As you’re out exploring the island, chances are you’re going to be picking up heaps of stuff which will require more space in your inventory. When you have enough Nook Miles, you can go to the NookStop and unlock maximum inventory space to 40 item slots.

Unlock all the tools: Again, because nothing can ever be easy, you don’t start Animal Crossing with any of the tools you need and actually have to work for them (capitalist sigh). To unlock the tools you need, just visit Tom Nook to build his DIY Workshop where you can see what you need to collect in order to build various items. If you’re ever running along the beach, you might find a message in a bottle. This will contain a DIY recipe that you can learn.

Tips from the Kotaku Australia community:

I could not have made this beginner’s guide to Animal Crossing without the incredible Kotaku Australia community, so here are a few of their wonderful tips.

Shadowlee: 

“Animal Crossing is a game that’s designed to play slowly, so it will take time to do things like build and furnish your house, pay off debts, get new buildings on your island etc. A lot of people like to “time travel” (ie put forward the date/time in the settings on your Switch), but I think it’s better to enjoy the game at the pace it’s set at.”

“Having friends and visiting their islands is fun and also helps with things like finding new fruits, buying stuff from their shops (which will be different to your shops), trading stuff, selling turnips at different prices and meeting different characters. If you really want to get deep into it, there are a lot of websites where people share their Dodo codes and set up trades for all sorts of things.”

Scree:

The “best way to get bells early on is to find the glowing spot on your island. You dig that up and you’ll be left with a golden hole. If you put bells in the hole, a money tree will grow. So for example, if you place 1000 bells in the hole, then the tree will have three bags of 1000 bells. The maximum amount that the tree can produce is 10,000 bells.”

“Another good tactic is to get an orchard early. Your island will have a native fruit and a native flower. Foreign fruit and flowers sell for higher prices. You can go to friends’ islands, or use Nook miles tickets to go to another island.”

“Spend the day foraging. It’s tedious but also relaxing. Grab all the shells (you can make furniture from these, but they’re always available.), get all the bugs and catch all the fish. In summer, the shells will turn into summer shells, but they are only available in, surprise, summer. One of the best fish to catch is the one that spawns at river mouths. It’s worth a decent amount. The best bugs to catch are the Tarantula/scorpions. These are random spawns and which you get depends on what time of year it is. Don’t be scared of them.”

“Also, keep a net out when you shake trees to catch wasps when they fall. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t happen to catch them. You can get medicine.”

Louie:

“The most consistent way to make money while being a newbie with no money is fishing. They constantly respawn and have a huge amount of varying value. Fishing in summer, in particular, is great if you want lots of sharks and the bigger fishies that sell for big bells. Every season has at least one or two high-value fishies and the bigger the shadow, usually the bigger and more valuable the fish. You can do the same with bugs! Make sure you only sell doubles of your fishes and bugs and the originals go to the museum when it’s open.”

“Use your Nookmile tickets to explore other islands and dig up their fruit trees and plant them back on your island. Non-native fruits will sell for more on your island than your native tree.”

Can you trust Tom Nook?

Baby’s First Switch: A Beginner’s Guide to Animal Crossing
So I cannot trust this person. Image: Nintendo Animal Crossing: New Horizons Guide

So, I’m ready to eat my words and say yes, you can trust Tom Nook. However, I’ve still got my eye on him so he better not try to scam me anytime soon.

A great note that Louie pointed out was that we shouldn’t trust Redd the Fox who will try to sell us artworks later in the game. Apparently, most of these are fakes and you have to spot which ones are real and which ones aren’t.

It’s safe to say I’m on high alert for whenever they decide to show up on my island with fake Mona Lisas.


If you want to give me some other gaming suggestions or tips, give us a shout on Twitter (@kystewart_) or chuck us an email.

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