Review: Animal Crossing: New Horizons Happy Home Paradise DLC (Switch)

7.5

Good

The Animal Crossing franchise is either a love or hate relationship for most Nintendo fans. You can adore the cute graphics, characters and simple gameplay, or be absolutely be irritated into another stratosphere with just the sound that the characters make. I fall into the first group. I would give my life for Isabelle, and in some ways, 300 hours later, I have. My fiancée, on the other hand, hears the opening notes and wants to do bad things to my Switch. She despises the music, the gameplay, and even the way the villagers speak. I think she once said the dodoes were cute but factually inaccurate. This very polar-opposite reaction is probably the same you can expect from this first and last paid DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Happy Home Paradise; It is a literal utopia for some, and just a ”no go’ for others. 

It is wildly satisfying IF you love decorating.

The premise of the added content is that you get recommended by everyone’s favourite Tom Nook as an employee for a new vacation home provider, Happy Home Paradise. The owner and your boss, Lottie, meets you in your airport and employs you on the spot. You are just that good. Following that, you can go to your airport and choose to go to work. This takes you to the location of the Happy Home Paradise Head Office and your career is off to a flying start. Please note that if you have not played the game far enough to have built-up resident services (or in other words, Isabelle is not on your island yet) you will have to play until then to get access to this content. If you are a new starter, have patience and enjoy the journey. It really is worth it! 

What’s the job description?

Once you’ve made your way to your new office, you are introduced to a few new characters, all with their own niche personality and look, and you’re immediately put on the job. The job involves a uniform which, unexplainably, I loved. From there you either are approached by a client or need to go out and be your best salesperson. Lucky for you, the beach outside your office is filled with Animal Crossing villagers just itching to buy a vacation home. Once you have your villager and you’ve sold the dream, you proceed to a sit-down with them and Lottie, where the villager shows you their vision. From there, it’s all in your hands. From the choosing of the island you want their home to be on, to their gardens, the façade of their home, and the contents of the rooms.

Unfortunately, you can’t change the sizes of the rooms on your own island, but near end game, you will be able to design your island villagers homes to your liking.

Once you have finished the job to your liking, and you have a happy customer, fly back to the office and get paid in Poki. Yes, Poki, not Bells. This currency can be used to buy items from the Happy Home Paradise office, stuff you can’t get from the Nook’s Cranny on your island. Eventually, you can also buy some of these things on credit. It is Animal Crossing, and after all, they’ve been putting us in debt since 2001. This is then a rinse and repeat situation. It is wildly satisfying IF you love decorating. If you don’t and prefer the more open-ended gameplay of Animal Crossing then this DLC is just not for you. 

Climbing the corporate ladder

This repetitive job is a slow burn. However, it comes with promotions. Soon you will go from only being able to do the inside of the home, to the gardens, to being able to change room sizes, add room dividers, and even work on double story homes. Your pay increases as you move through the DLC, and you learn new skills to spruce up your clients’ homes before you hand them over, like giving everything a super shiny polish. Eventually, you also get tasked to work on public buildings like a school. The grind is long but definitely worth it. And amidst the pricing debacle (around the Switch’s Online Expansion Pack), I do think that this DLC is worth its price for those resident representatives that have a liking for decoration. 

It really is a bit disappointing to not have a goal to reach for as you progress through your interior decorating career.

Unfortunately, you can’t change the sizes of the rooms on your own island, but near the end game, you will be able to design your island villagers homes to your liking. This is fantastic, considering I have a villager sleeping in a sleeping bag in an otherwise fully furnished home.

Tom Nook has had some influence here

The one gripe I have with the DLC is that there is a lack of a grading system. You have to go out of your way to make your client unhappy and can do the bare minimum to rush through the content. There should be a reason to do your best. However, it stands, if you include your client’s basic needs (3 items of their choice), you have a happy customer on your hands and you’ll get your Poki. I can’t help feel that Tom Nook and Lottie are on the same wavelength when it comes to getting filthy rich in any way they can. It really is a bit disappointing to not have a goal to reach for as you progress through your interior decorating career. 

Overall, as a hardcore fan, I loved this DLC. It gave me something other than the usual island business to focus on and made me pick up my island again. I will likely be playing for a good few months to collect all that Happy Home Paradise has to offer, as well as the major 2.0 update which we will be discussing a little bit later, once I have had more time to sink my teeth into it properly. I can say that if you have ever been on the fence about the game as it stood, now is the time to get into it. 

Good

  • Fresh take on the game mechanics | Tons of new content | Decorators' dream

Bad

  • Not for everyone | Grindy | No solid rating system

Summary

Animal Crossing New Horizons: Happy Home Paradise is not for everyone (especially those not interested in decorating). However, everyone else will be well chuffed with the change.
7.5

Good

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