With the Animal Crossing: New Horizons 2.0 update dropping unexpectedly early, it’s likely many players are already busy digging up Gyroids, welcoming brand new villagers, and talking to Blathers about setting up that sweet, sweet coffee shop. But remember that this is only one-half of the promised content—the rest arrives today via the Happy Home Paradise paid DLC. Earlier this week I was treated to a demonstration of this whole new world of Animal Crossing goodness complements of Nintendo of America and the Treehouse team’s pun-master extraordinaire, Lindsey.
Reminiscent of the 3DS title Happy Home Designer, the Happy Home Paradise DLC is practically a game unto itself. On Tom Nook’s good word—seriously, y’all need to cut that raccoon a break—you are invited to join Lottie the otter’s Paradise Planning Team to design vacation homes on a special island chain. After a little meet-and-greet with the head otter herself, you’re only a quick Dodo Airlines flight away from your fun new vocation.
When you arrive, speak with Lottie to pick up your snazzy new uniform, and don’t forget to introduce yourself to Niko the lemur and Wardell the manatee, two new Paradise Planning Team NPCs. After that, you can approach the various animals hanging out on the beach to get an idea of their perfect vacation home concept. Examples Lindsey encountered ranged from the simple (relaxing home and English garden) to the outlandish (a stronghold).
During a brief consultation with Lottie, you’ll get a better idea of what the customer is looking for, including several required items integral to the design. Simply pick an appropriate plot of land on which to build from those available on the island chain—which range from beach-front and desert environments to isolated snowy plains—and you’re ready to begin in earnest.
In addition to designing the outside of the vacation home by changing its position, revamping its roof and exterior, placing surrounding items like paths and fences, and even cycling through various times of day and seasons, you can head inside (via an absolutely adorable special animation) to try your hand at interior design using the tried and true New Horizons UI.
Excepting those required items—and those can also be recolored—the sky is the limit. You’re really encouraged to experiment with the expansive furniture collection belonging to the PPT. This includes craftable items you might not yet have access to on your home island, and practically everything can be customized to suit your vision.
The room itself can be expanded if you need a bigger footprint, with lighting, drapes, and wallpaper options allowing you to further tweak this vacation home setting. Once you’re finished, the game provides a brief photo sequence for you to capture images of your work, and you can even come back for a visit later to redesign earlier attempts as you get more comfortable with the process.
Happy Home Paradise has much more to offer, including polishing furniture for the sparkle effect revealed in the recent Animal Crossing Direct, and, just like Happy Home Designer before it, you can flesh out the vacation island further by designing and decorating facilities—larger public spaces like the schoolhouse where you can assign islanders specialized roles that come with their own unique responses and interactions.
Unsurprisingly, the Family Membership remains the most economical, coming in at $79.99 annually and supporting up to 8 Nintendo Account holders. If you have even three Switch-owners/New Horizons players in your household or extended family, this basically pays for itself in the Happy Home Paradise DLC alone, with all the extra downloadable NES, SNES, Genesis, and Nintendo 64 titles and the various other online offerings being the icing on the proverbial cake.
An invitation to this special demonstration and a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack Family Membership was provided by Nintendo of America. This post contains affiliate links. I know Niko is cuter, but don’t sleep on Wardell; he has kind eyes.