When I started Animal Crossing: New Horizons, every Nook Mile I earned was gratifying — hell, it was hard to keep them accumulated. There was always a new thing to unlock or buy, another thing to look forward to. Now that we’re about to hit the two month mark on the game’s release, those very same points are starting to feel useless.
It’s weird, because the Nook Miles program is an excellent addition to New Horizons. I love that the game poses me with mini-challenges of things I may not have tried without being prompted. Sometimes I can’t stop playing because I’m this close to completing a mini-quest, only to have another one pop up that I can clear without much effort.
I particularly loved the Animal Crossing Earth day update, which introduced a new slate of challenges to go along with the new content. They were unusual challenges, too — I got points for putting a flower in my hair, not just for building a random DIY recipe. But these challenges lasted a little over a week, and afterwards I was once again I was left with the usual suspects. Chop down trees. Catch five fish. Take a photo. I’ll do em’, but it’s strange to go back to the same old after having some cooler challenges in the docket.
But the bigger problem is that, while the program does an excellent job of keeping you hooked, the rewards don’t meet my needs. It’s been weeks since I’ve bought every DIY recipe and upgrade from the Nook Miles store. I’ve even bought stuff I don’t particularly want, just to keep things interesting. I’ll buy a Mystery Island ticket every day to see what I get, but more often than not, it spits out basic locales with my native fruit and the usual fish I can find on my own island. I still get these tickets, because there’s a chance of a message in a bottle as well as a guaranteed furniture piece from shaking trees, but the cost just doesn’t seem worth it. I often get DIY recipe duplicates or terrible furniture pieces I have no interest in. I’d be happy to spend all my Nook Miles on villager hunting, but with a full island and no easy way to get characters to move out, I’m stuck with what I have.
For some players, the lack of in-game purchasing options isn’t an issue. In the wider economy, fans often charge each other Nook Miles Tickets for entry onto their islands, or use them to purchase items and DIY recipes, if not villagers outright. Personally, though, I’ve found that island hopping with strangers almost makes the game trivial — if I can get a meteor shower every single night, is it really that special anymore? Will I still have a reason to boot up the game every day if I could just materialize every item I want by finding a seller? I’m afraid to find out.
Based on my conversations with other players, it seems I’m not the only one with this issue. Multiple Polygon staffers have thousands upon thousands of Nook Mies points, with nothing to spend them on, despite New Horizons’ structure as a game that you check into on a daily basis. My only hope is that future Animal Crossing updates revamp the Nook Miles store, giving us not only new things to purchase, but more expensive options for us high-rollers as well.
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