Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough

Get started with Animal Crossing: New Horizons by using our handy walkthrough to help you through your first moments with the game.


As players get acquainted with Tom Nook and their new island, a lot of information will be coming at them at once. This can get a bit overwhelming, so we wanted to help you out with the first part of the game. This will serve as our Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough, covering the first tasks players will encounter and need to overcome. We won’t go too crazy, though. Once you’re free to start living your life, we’ll back off and let you enjoy things.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough

When you first fire up the game, you’ll be asked to create your character. This includes your name, which can be seen by other players, and your birthday. Make sure to go with a sensible and family-friendly nickname, and input your birthday, which doesn’t include the year.

Character appearance

From here, you’ll be asked to choose the appearance of your character. The game is quick to tell you that you can change this later, so don’t take it too seriously. Follow the prompts to choose your basic avatar, skin tone, hairstyle, eyes, nose/mouth, and cheeks. When you’re happy with how you look continue on.

Choosing an island

Timmy and Tommy will next ask you to choose which part of the world you want your island. The game suggests you choose your real location, which will be between the northern and southern hemisphere. I took the northern hemisphere, and then North America, but choose whatever options you’d like. You’ll end up on a screen with four maps of four islands. These are random, so simply choose the one that works best for you. There’s no wrong answer here.

Placing your tent

When you arrive, follow the crowd to Tom Nook. After he tells you about the island, collect your tent from Timmy or Tommy. You will also get a map at this point. The map will automatically open any time you are motionless, or you can access it from your NookPhone, which you don’t have yet.

Wander about the island and find a spot for your tent. Press X to access your inventory, then select the tent to place it. You will then get the following three options:

  • Let me imagine it...
  • This is the spot!
  • I need to rethink it.

The first option lets you see what the tent looks like placed, the second simply places it, and the third allows you to move to another location if this just isn't the right one for you.

You can't yet enter your tent, so head back to Tom Nook for further instructions. Tom wants you to help others find a good spot for their tent, so wander around the map you chose until you run into more island friends. Talk to them and you'll get three more options:

  • Looks good to me!
  • I'll find you a spot!
  • Maybe reconsider?

The first option simply lets the NPC place their tent where they are. The second allows you to find them one that suits you, and the third lets you leave them there while you wander off. If you're fine with the spot they picked, take the first option. If you want to move them closer or further to your tent, take the second one. Once you’ve found a spot to put their tent, follow the same steps as you did for placing your own. Once you select the right spot for each of the two island residents, head back to Tom Nook.

Gathering supplies

Tom Nook wants to throw a party and, of course, he wants you to help him get supplies. Once you can move around, talk to Tom Nook again. He'll request 10 tree branches. Simply run around the island and pick them up off the ground using Y. If you’ve picked up several but don't know how many, press X to open your inventory and check.

Once you've got the 10 tree branches, head back and talk to Tom Nook, who will take your tree branches and send you back out to grab six fruit. This could vary based on your island choice, so we can't say for sure that it will be peaches, for example. You might have cherries. Either way, follow Tom's instructions and bring him the required amount of fruit that he seeks for the party.

Naming your island

It's now time to choose a name for your island. Once you submit an option, everyone will vote for your choice so don't worry about that. You'll also be chosen as the new representative of the island and asked to say a few words. Choose whatever you wish here, as it doesn't seem to matter.

When you can control your character again, talk to Tom Nook and he'll ask if you're tired and want a nap in your tent. Unless you want to wander around the party more, choose to sleep.

Tom Nook will give you a camping cot. Head back to your tent and collect the two boxes on the floor by pressing Y when facing them. This will place a portable radio and lantern in your inventory. You can place the camping cot or these two items where you please and, if you don't like where you set them, you can pick them back up and place them in your inventory by looking at them and pressing Y again. When you're happy with everything, walk up to your bed and hold the left stick towards it to climb in. From here you can choose to rest or stay awake, but resting is how you progress, so do that.

When you wake up, head outside and talk to Tom Nook. He will give you your very own NookPhone, as well as an itemized bill for your travel and accommodations. It's no big deal, Tom Nook only wants 49,800 Bells. What are Bells, you ask? Bells are the in-game currency that you'll be using to pay Tom Nook back for the rest of your life. Of course, you have no Bells, so Tom Nook will explain that you can use Miles from the Nook Mileage Program. You'll earn Nook Miles as you play the game, then use them to pay Tom Nook.

From here, you can do as you please. We suggest you head back to Tom Nook and explore more of your options. You can also study up on other guides we have with our Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide.

Managing Editor

Bill, who is also known as Rumpo, is a lifelong gamer and Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He made his mark early in his career through guide writing and a deep understanding of editorial SEO. He enjoys putting in the work to create a great content, be it a wild feature or grinding out an in-depth collectible guide. Tweet him @RumpoPlays if you have a question or comment about one of his articles.

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