Animal Crossing: New Horizons Celebrates One Year of Island Life

Written by Renée Borcas

March 20, 2021

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been released for nearly a year, and Nintendo is taking the anniversary as an opportunity to treat players to an update that includes highly requested features and surprise goodies.

Fans waited eight years between main series Animal Crossing games for the release of New Horizons, but it’s almost like the timing of the release couldn’t have been better. As the COVID-19 pandemic caused many communities to lockdown, the game served as a calming means for people to gather virtually when they couldn’t be together in person.

A Year For The Record Books


According to Nintendo, 32.63 million copies of New Horizons have been sold as of March 31, 2021. This makes it the second-highest selling Nintendo Switch game of all time, only preceded by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

In comparison, the preceding game in the series, Animal Crossing: New Leaf sold 12.93 million copies on the Nintendo 3DS. This makes New Horizons the best-selling game in the franchise nearly three times over. 

Sweet Surprises


Nintendo is kicking off the celebration on March 18 with a free update to all players. After downloading the March 18 update, several surprises will be in store for them as they explore their island—starting in the mailbox. A surprise package will be awaiting them, containing a one-year anniversary cake. 

Nintendo Switch Online members will also now be able to purchase a Switch Lite console that can be placed around their island or home, similar to the other versions of the console that are available in the game. 

When stopping by the Nook Stop in Resident Services, don’t miss out on a newly available upgrade either. For 2000 Nook Miles the Custom Design Pro Editor+ add on will add a new category to a player’s Nook Phone Customer Designs app. This enables custom designs for umbrellas, uchiwa fans, handheld flags, and face-cutout standees. It also enables another 50 slots in both the Normal and Pro modes, totaling 100 new slots.

Outside the update, Nintendo announced their new Island Tour Creator website will launch on March 24. This will be a space where players can share images captured on their island easily to a smart device or social media.

Hello Collaboration


The final update from Nintendo is both physical and virtual. The company announced a partnership with Sanrio—the company that makes everything Hello Kitty—to sell an amiibo card pack with special items and villagers based on their popular characters Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, Kerokerokeroppi, Little Twin Stars, Cinnamoroll, and My Melody. 

While the only way to purchase the items and get the characters as residents is through the amiibo cards, like any other item in the game, they can be shared and traded by players. 

The Sanrio amiibos will be available exclusively at Target starting on March 26.