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How does time work in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Not sure how time works in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Dive into our brief 101 for all the details.

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Time is an important factor in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Everything takes time, from building your house, to growing flowers, and even to making money. Because of that, it’s important to understand how time works in New Horizons. As such, we’ve put together this handy guide which we like to call “Time and you: 101”. Grab your seat, open up your notebook, and let’s get started.

How does time work in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

While time in the tutorial passes quite quickly, most of Animal Crossing: New Horizons gameplay will take part in realtime – meaning that it will be based upon the real hours in the day. As such, you’ll want to make sure you’re playing at various times of the day to ensure you get access to all of the bugs, fish, and other critters that inhabit your island.

Because the game focuses on realtime, it will take several hours for events to take part. For example, after reaching a certain point in the game, you can have Tom Nook build you a house where your tent is. This won’t happen instantly. Instead, your house will appear the next day. It’s still unclear exactly what time constitutes a new day in New Horizons, but we imagine it probably ticks over around 6 or 7 in the morning.

The Tool Ring can be unlocked after a few days in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The Tool Ring can be unlocked after a few days in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

If you aren’t a fan of waiting literal hours for things to happen, then you can always jump forward by using the time travel trick. We’ve already put together a handy guide on this, so make sure you check it out if you’re interested.

Now that you have a solid understand of how time works in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can dive into the game and experience all that it has to offer. Try to change up when you’re playing – and make use of the time travel function if you don’t have much freedom throughout the earlier hours of the day. Sure, it might be frowned upon as it goes against the basic nature of the game, but it’s also nice to experience all there is to offer, too.

For more help, head back over to our Animal Crossing: New Horizons 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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