Cherry Picks, Gaming

Cherry Picks: Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing Gameplay Tips

For my birthday this year, my husband got me an Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch and I LOVE it. Our friend Eric had recommended it and I’m hooked. The goal of the game is to create your own island by collecting decorative items (all referred to as ‘furniture’), landscaping, expanding your home, creating shops, and bringing on new villagers to reach the 5-star (highest) rating. I started playing in February and to my surprise, I reached 5 stars within only 3 months! So I wanted to share my top tips for creating your own 5-star island.

ACNH Lily of the Valley
Shocked to discover my first lily of the valley, and in an area I hadn’t really decorated yet!

My husband is a big gamer too and always likes to watch videos on the best game tips before he plays. This is a great strategy, but I enjoyed discovering things on my own before diving into videos. It made it more exciting, but after a few weeks I decided I better find out what I’m missing.

ACNH Fountain

Eric also invited me to join a Facebook Group so I could visit other islands and get inspiration. I consider myself a decent artist, but layout has always been a huge challenge for me. So in the group I saw lots of impressive ways people decorated their islands. That’s how I was able to create this beautiful fountain area! Pinterest is also a great source for ideas.

In order to do everything you like in the game, you’ll need lots of money, called bells. Eric explained money trees and it’s pretty easy! Every day there is a golden, glowing spot on the ground in a random place. Dig it up, and put away the 1k bells…DON’T cover up the hole! Take 10k bells and bury it in the glowing hole, and it sprouts a baby bell tree! You can also plant more than 10k, but you may not harvest as much as you invest. Dig up the sprout and put it in a spot where you can find it later. Do this for 4 days so you always have 4 trees planted, and 1 per day will give you bells! The reason it’s 4 is you can only have bells on a tree once per day, and they take 4 days to grow.

Don’t mind my melting snowman.

Eric also explained how to get the most from rocks. Dig 3 holes in a line 1 space away from the rock (in the space where you stand). This will keep you from bouncing backwards which will allow you to strike 7 times. Once per day, a random rock will give bells. Also, though you can strike with an axe or a shovel, always use an axe so you don’t accidentally dig a hole.

The best way I’ve found to make bells is diving. The little bubbles in the water represent a sea creature and they sell for a pretty bell! So get a wet suit from the shop or Nook Stop and get to diving! My favorite part of diving (other than the tons of bells) is collecting the mermaid items. Once per day, Pascal (the red otter dude) will ask you for the first scallop you find, so always give it to him, and he’ll give you a pearl, a mermaid item, or mermaid recipe. Don’t worry about giving away your first scallop…you can always get another then donate it to the museum.

Many players say visiting treasure islands is how they get special items and plenty of bells. I haven’t tried this yet but the Facebook groups share Dodo codes all the time (that’s how you’ll get to an island, after you’re signed up with Nintendo Online).

Another way I like to make bells is keeping all the valuable fish and bugs in storage until I can sell them to CJ (fish) or Flick (bugs) when they come visit! Save all those Oar Fish and Tarantulas for them…don’t sell them at the shop, and you’ll make so much more! I also don’t use the shop drop box as it always takes 20 percent.

Side note…if you’re not sure how to catch a tarantula, hold down A to creep up on it with your net, and when it raises itself up, stop until it relaxes again, repeat this until you’re close enough, then release A to catch it.

As you store up the bells, you can upgrade your house and decorate your island however you like! Many players like to choose a theme. My theme–and I know this will be totally shocking–is cherries and cherry blossoms. Fun fact: cherry blossom trees are not actually cherry trees. There are all kinds of fun-themed islands you can visit, like Harry Potter!

Every week your house gets rated (by the HHA, ‘Happy Home Academy’), and if you’re not getting a high score, try adding more items to the walls, and putting things with the same theme together (such as cherry blossom wallpaper with cherry blossom flooring).

ACNH Cherry Blossom Home
Welcome to my home…I’m doing cherry well, and you?

Every Spring, the trees have cherry blossoms for 10 days and you can collect the special recipes, from the balloon gifts. I didn’t know until the last day that the event was ending, so to get all the recipes, I ran up and down the beach on the 5 minute mark to shoot down every balloon gift until I had them all. That was probably the only time I was grinding but it was WORTH IT! The balloon gifts appear on the same side every day, then switch to the other side at 5:00 pm (I believe), and back again at 5:00 am. The game starts a new day at 5:00 am, not midnight, so if you’re trying to finish something before the new day begins, there is time to get it done.

So the question everyone asks when they start is How do I get to 5 stars? When you check your island evals, take Isabelle’s advice! She told me to clean it up (no ‘dropped’ items, only ‘placed’…I had cherries lying around everywhere), and to use more fencing. At first I thought fencing would look weird, but hedges count and they look lovely around houses and up high on cliffs so you don’t have the feeling you’ll fall off the edge. I wasn’t even finished with all my decorating plans yet when I reached 5 stars, so it doesn’t have to be filled and intricate.

Here are 10 very useful tips I wish I knew about from the start!

1 – Tom Nook tells you early on to sell weeds, but I say keep the weeds! They store in groups of 99 and are required for some DIY recipes. However, you do want to keep your island weed-free and looking nice. If you ever need more weeds, you can use a Nook Miles Ticket and collect all the weeds there. I believe only 3 grow on your island per day.

2 – Since Blathers (museum owl guy) hates bugs, I thought I shouldn’t donate any to the museum. Nope, donate them all! I always give him my first caught creature, and if it’s a bug, that’s his problem, not mine 🙂

3 – When CJ or Flick come to visit, you can give them any 3 creatures (fish to CJ or bugs to Flick) and get a model of it for decoration! You can only do one per visit, so I keep 3 of each model I’d like in my storage.

4 – I stopped shaking trees because I hated getting stung by wasps…but you want to shake ALL your non-fruit trees every day because you get bells and furniture drops. And if you hold your net and shake from the center front of the tree, you will automatically turn to the wasps when they appear and all you have to do is hit A and you’ll catch it, and NOT get stung! You need 17 trees, as 5 are wasps, 2 are furniture, and 10 are bells (non-fruit trees). I also store all the wasps until Flick visits because they are worth a lot.

5 – There are 6 types of fruit trees: Cherry, apple, orange, pear, peach, and coconut. I was disappointed when I began and only had pear trees, but your ‘mom’ mails you a second fruit, and mine was cherries! So I planted cherry trees all over. Your villager friends also gift you fruits, or you can go to other islands to find them. Also, you can harvest wood from palm (coconut) trees!

6 – If you buy an item from Mabel (blue hedgehog lady) for 2 of her visits in a row, she will make a whole clothing shop on your island, and if you go directly to the fitting room, you can see ALL the items each day (not just what is displayed on the floor). I wish I had known this earlier because I LOVE fashion!

7 – I didn’t know what a gyroid was the first time I found a fragment…if you bury the fragment, water it (or just let it be rained on), and dig it up the next day, you’ll have a cute little statue! You can collect all the different types and even customize their colors (I like to make the squeakoid pink to look like an axolotl!). They will also ‘sing’ along if they are near a speaker. And you can put them on your walls…you don’t need a shelf; just ‘Hang on wall.’

8 – If you’re getting tired of climbing up and down cliffs, you can buy a ladder kit from Nook’s Cranny. You can also just flatten your island if you desire, using the Island Designer app (a Nook Miles redemption item). Or, if you have Kapp’n available, he will take you to a remote island and some have vines you can collect and take back to your own island to use as ladders!

9 – If you have a villager you’d really like to leave your island and you finally get the opportunity to dismiss them when they say they are thinking of moving, you can find a villager yourself the day after they leave (when the plot is available) if you use a Nook Miles Ticket at the airport! The first time I did this, I visited 8 islands to find a character I wanted. The second time only took two tries. Also, sometimes people say they have a character “in boxes” on their island, and that means you can come invite them to your island.

10 – Redd is a sketchy guy…don’t buy his fraudulent art. You can just visit a website that lists all the art, select the title, and it will tell you if it’s genuine or not. Occasionally I buy one knowing it’s fake so I can decorate my house with it, but other than that, just don’t waste your bells!

The most fun aspect of the game for me is just being creative…coming up with new ideas no one has seen before and making it my own. I made Cherry Falls…a waterfall with rocks that look like a pair of cherries. I made a sign with my island name with shrubs for the letters and flowers to fill it in, framed with fencing. I made my own welcome rugs that say “hello” and put them in front of all the houses.

ACNH When You Wish Upon a Star
‘When You Wish Upon a Star’

You can change your island tune….feel free to use mine!

I had the idea to give my horse villager a ‘tiny party hat’ so she’d look like a unicorn! I shared that one with my Facebook group and they loved it. So just think about what would make it fun for you and how you can make it happen.


How is your island creation going? What do you wish you knew before? What from this post didn’t you know about? Let me know with a comment!

ACNH Flower Butterfly Garden
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