Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Switch game that stole our hearts at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, sent out its final free update for the game on Nov. 4, 2021, and it includes a few things you’ve never been able to acquire before in the franchise: vehicles.
Transportation items have been part of the Animal Crossing franchise since its start. Since the first game, your character begins their journey on a train (a 2-4-0 steam locomotive at first, which evolves to a self-propelled diesel railcar in later editions), where you strike up a conversation with a cat named Rover who allows you to pick your name and destination. The train is accessible throughout the game; you can hop on it to ride to other places.
In Animal Crossing: Wild World, instead of arriving on a train, you arrive via taxi, which will drop you off at the main plaza and never again appear. In City Folk, you’re dropped off in a bus, and you can later ride that bus to get to The City. In New Horizons, you can take a water plane to other islands to steal their resources.
But in terms of things we’d recognize as cars? They’re just not there. One character, the traveling fashionista giraffe named Gracie, initially started off as the only character with a vehicle. She’d roll into town in her convertible cabriolet, or her soft-top depending on the game, and you’d either wash her car for a prize, or she’d judge you on your fashion sense. New Leaf introduced the RV and Pocket Camp the camper.
To put it plainly, though, there has never been room for these vehicles in the game. Towns exist as isolated oases with their own self-contained economy, and the only transportation you use gets you from your town to a different area of the game or to another player’s island. Most of the time, the closest your character would get to owning a car was having a race car bed.
New Horizons has broken the mold in a lot of ways, though, so the fact that it provides vehicle options in this new update isn’t completely surprising — especially since they don’t look to be much more than décor. I haven’t personally stumbled across one in the game yet since the new update has only been available since Nov. 4, but they merely appear to be pieces of customizable furniture that you can use to decorate your home or your town. I’ve done some data mining to nab the photos, so the official names in the game could be different.
I never quite expected cars to be an option in my favorite game franchise in the world, though. And that is why I’m bringing you this blog.
13. Fair Train
The fair train, while beautiful, appears to be nothing more than a decoration or a ride at a carnival. It looks like it’s sitting on a platform that is not a rail, which means it’s a stationary train. I am aware that none of the vehicles on this list are actually maneuverable, but there’s nothing stopping me from imagining cruising around in my little expensive sedan. The fair train has a platform. It ranks last because of this.
Skateboards have existed in various forms in Animal Crossing for ages. Skateboards are fine. The ones in this game are fine. You can get either a board or a rack of skateboards that hang on the wall. But it is nothing new or exciting, and therefore it gets a low spot on the list.
A mountain bike already exists in New Horizons, but this cute bicycle has a retro look with a little metal basket on the front. It’s good, but it’s nothing revolutionary. I will craft one in pink.
Now here’s where we start to dive into the good stuff. An excavator? Holy shit. I don’t exactly ever plan on using one for anything other than placing it next to an in-progress worksite for the few hours I play before the day changes over and my building is completed, so it’s not going to get a very high ranking, but it is a whole ass piece of construction equipment. I dig it.
9. Delivery Truck
Finally, I can pretend to ship my local goods out to spartan island nations in exchange for other local goods and services. A colonist’s dream. The delivery truck gets ninth.
I recently read Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard, which basically avers that widespread crop cultivation is killing our planet and that we should be creating perma-culture cropping systems that provide more nutrients per acre than, say, an acre of a monocrop like corn. I’m very into the idea and can’t wait to implement something similar at my own home. Tractors now make me cringe, even when they’re virtual. This tractor is cute in blue, though, so I give it an eight.
7. Steam Roller
The steam roller receives the same criticisms as the excavator, but because it is by nature a steam roller, I have the added flexibility of placing it next to things and pretending I am running them over. For that, it earns a respectable seventh place.
The Animal Crossing universe is the only space I frequently inhabit in which I am a rich and annoying benefactor to everyone around me. I live a life of gluttonous excess and both destroy and perfect my island in turns. I shower my favorite villagers in gifts and spend one million bells on that stupid-expensive crown again just because I can. This is the life I lead, and it is a perfect fit for this rich bitch yacht.
5. Shopping Cart
“But a shopping cart isn’t a form of transportation,” I hear you cry. “It’s not a vehicle!” I direct you to the documentary Carts of Darkness and ask you to expand your horizons.
4. Expensive Car
The expensive car is some Mercedes-ass looking shit. It’s fancy. It looks like something a terrible and rich old hag would drive. It looks like something my husband would drive. I hate it. It’s great. I want to build one in gold.
3. Covered Wagon
Never content to merely represent the modern age, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has provided us with a beautiful covered wagon for those among us who like to keep our islands machine-free. Try not to think too hard about the implications of placing a covered wagon on an island that features horse villagers.
This little scooter is honestly the only form of transportation that I’d actually want to cruise around in because it is cute and harmless in the same way that all of Animal Crossing is cute and harmless. I would drive it on the beach and up a mountain and from Tom Nook’s nephews’ store to Hornsby’s house to deliver a gift. It’s great. I love it.
1. Compact Car
The compact car in Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the first vehicle I saw on the list of new items, and it made me gasp out loud because of how much I loved it. It comes with tons of different customizable options, and I truly cannot wait to put together my gorgeous pink compact machine to park outside of my gorgeous pink Animal Crossing home.