How to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons with friends

Everything you need to know to get started playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons with your friends.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons is fantastic; but all the gathering, building, and terraforming is even better when you add your friends to the mix. Thankfully, New Horizons is ripe with co-op multiplayer options, and this guide will teach you everything you need to know to play with your friends.

How to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons with your friends

If you want to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons with your friends, then you’re going to need to do a couple of things. First, create your villager and get started. Make your way through the main tutorial, which we outline in our Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough.

Once you complete the tutorial, time will set up the way it’s supposed to work – New Horizons passes time in realtime – and you can start working on building up your island. Unfortunately, the airport isn’t open just yet, and you’ll need to wait until a full day has passed. Thankfully, those who are a bit too impatient to wait can time travel to pass the days quicker.

Playing with friends - Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Friends can join you on your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Not sure how time travel works in New Horizons? Check out our guide for more info.

Once the first day has passed, you’ll wake up bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Head down to the airport and talk with Orville inside. He’ll go over all the logistics of playing with your friends, and even make you agree to some important guidelines and terms of service. When you’re ready to play with friends, you’ll have two options to get started.

How to travel to your friends’ island

If you want to travel to a friends’ island, you can choose I wanna fly! when talking to Orville at the airport. This will open up a myriad of options including whether you want to connect via Local or the Internet. If you’re connecting to a console on the same network as yours, you can choose Local. However, if you want to connect to a friend far away, choose Internet.

co-op options - Animal Crossing: New horizons
Choose the co-op option that makes sense for you.

If you choose Local, follow the appropriate steps listed out by Orville. If a friend has set up their island with a Dodo Code, then make sure they provide that to you so that you can connect. Otherwise, you can just connect locally without any other hindrances.

You can also connect through the internet but you’re going to need the Dodo Code that we mentioned above, as well as a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online.

How to invite friends to your island

If you want to invite friends over to your island, then the process works very similarly. Instead of choosing I wanna Fly!, you’ll choose I want visitors. Then you can set up whether you want to host locally or via the internet.

how to play with friends - Animal Crossing: New horizons
You can choose to do both local or online play in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Setting things up locally will allow you to just open the gates or set up the island with a Dodo Code. If you choose to secure travel with the Dodo Code, be sure to give it to your friends so that they can connect.

If you’re connecting via the internet, you’ll need to use the Dodo Code method if you don’t want to invite all of your friends at once. The Dodo Code allows visitors to access your island and it’s only good for that one visit.

How to invite friends to your island - Animal Crossing: New horizons
You can choose to invite all your friends or lock access through a Dodo Code.

Once the gates are open, though, you can keep them open however long you want, and give as many friends the Dodo Code as you want. When you’re ready to close off your borders, head back to the airport and speak with Orville and choose to Close the gates. This will keep people from joining that aren’t already on your island.

When your friends are ready to leave your island, have them head to the airport and talk to Orville. He’ll get them a flight home, and you can all go about your day from there. Now that you know how to play with friends, though, you can prepare for the rest of your adventure by checking out our Animal Crossing: New Horizon guides hub.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

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