Animal Crossing: New Horizons has finally added some paid DLC, bringing oodles of new features, but do the additions warrant a return to the island life?
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has finally gotten its first, and last, paid DLC. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise was released on the 5th of November as an optional, paid add-on to the previously released Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. Priced at $25, it’s not just pocket change, so the question has been asked: is it worth downloading?
Minor spoilers for Happy Home Paradise below:
It’s important to note from the get-go that the Happy Home Paradise gameplay is kept almost completely separate from the rest of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. So players worried about missing out on important island happenings by not investing in the new DLC don’t need to worry. The only connections to the base game happen at the opening of the game following the download of the DLC pack and once you’ve spent more time with it. Tom Nook introduces you to Lottie, the owner of Paradise Planning, and later on, you’re able to invite your islanders to the Paradise Planning island. You can make them their own vacation home by giving them special chocolates bought in the Paradise Planning office.
Fans of the previous games may be aware of the spin-off game Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer which was released in 2015 for Nintendo 3DS. Happy Home Paradise is much like this game, so fans of Happy Home Designer will likely also be fans of this new DLC.
Happy Home Paradise sees the player travelling to a separate island to help Lottie and the rest of Paradise Planning design vacation homes for holiday seekers on the island. Those looking for a vacation home come from the existing Animal Crossing villagers and will happily lounge on the nearby beach until the player is happy to help them build their dream home.
Islanders will give a small description about the home they’re after as well as two or three furniture items they think is essential. The rest is up to you. Although some islanders will ask for some unusual holiday home requests (I’ve had a doctor’s office and public restroom, among others) the variation in requests keeps the game from growing repetitive.
As the game progresses, you quickly develop extra skills to help with your designing, such as uploading photos of your design accomplishments, designing the exterior of buildings and gardens, designing island attractions such as schools and restaurants, and expanding the interior area of certain buildings. That isn’t all, either!
Progress happens quickly enough and with much less focus on real-time obstacles than the base game to reduce the chances of hitting a roadblock, but slow enough that each addition feels earned and as though it works well with how much experience you’ve had designing homes. Whilst story elements are minimal, the gameplay gives the player a sense of accomplishment as you watch the island around you improve.
Happy Home Paradise, however, will fall down for players who simply aren’t interested in designing interiors. For some fans, designing the inside of your own home and the island around you is the main focus of the game, though other players prefer character interactions or collecting. If the idea of designing homes and venues doesn’t sound appealing, this is not the DLC for you. Whilst the DLC does what it sets out to do brilliantly, it doesn’t offer much else for people who aren’t interested in the home designing aspect of the games.
Happy Home Paradise will cost players $24.99, which is a similar price to the previously mentioned Happy Home Designer when it was first released. It’s important to note that Happy Home Paradise is an addition to New Horizons and not a separate game, meaning players can play as the same character many have been growing attached to since the initial launch of the game in March of 2020.
The way the game ties into players’ main islands is a small but important detail that sets it apart from its similarly named predecessor. At release, New Horizons was $59.99, meaning this new paid-for content is being charged at approximately half the price of the main game. Given the many hours of additional gameplay players can expect from Happy Home Paradise, this feels like a fair price point. This likely isn’t going to provide so much content that you’ll forget about your island, but does add longevity to the game, provides players with new and relaxing gameplay, and is perfect to play when you’re feeling a block and aren’t sure what to do with your island next.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise offers much needed additional content for frequent players who may have felt they’d been running out of things to do as of recently. The DLC offers long-term, interesting gameplay on top of an already much-loved game, whilst drawing from and improving aspects from the previous well-received spin-off Happy Home Designer.
Whilst this DLC won’t be ideal for every fan of the franchise, the simultaneous release of the Version 2.0 update means players who don’t want to buy Happy Home Paradise aren’t left out and will still have plenty of new goals to achieve on their own islands. If you’re a design fan, then Happy Home Paradise is well worth the money and will provide you with hours of extra fun.