Animal Crossing: New Horizons: How To Unlock Everything

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So, you've decided to escape from real life and start all over again on a deserted island with only a racoon for company? You're not alone.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the latest addition to the hugely popular Animal Crossing franchise.

Hitting the Nintendo Switch this March, millions are already playing the cult social sim, including you if you're reading this article.

Because the thing is, items and actions that you took for granted in previous games need to be unlocked in New Horizons.

Everything from a shovel to a ladder needs unlocking, and we've worked out exactly what you need to in order to get them all.

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Starting Out

Unlocking a lot of the items in Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be done by completing various challenges with everyone's favourite landlord, Tom Nook. That's been the case for years, and is unchanged in New Horizons.

First of all, we recommend taking his DIY Workshop as this gives you the ability to craft items, and the recipes to craft your first two - the bug net and fishing rod.

Next, put them to good use. Catch five bugs with the net and five fish with the rod before talking to Tom Nook again to get the crafting recipes for your next two items - the axe for chopping wood, and the watering can for watering flowers.


Once you've caught plenty of bugs and fish, a certain Blathers will call you up and request to join you on your island. Take him up on his offer, and set aside a plot of land for his tent.

The next day, talk to Blathers, and he'll give you recipes for the flimsy shovel and the vaulting pole. The former allows you to hunt for fossils, while the latter means you can swing across rivers and further explore your island.

To turn his tent into a proper museum, send him 15 fish, bugs, or fossils.

Read More: Animal Crossing New Horizons: How to unlock Isabelle in latest Nintendo Switch title

Next Steps

Your next job is to rid yourself of your crippling debts. Earn 5,000 Nook Miles by doing jobs and completing challenges to pay back Tom Nook and unlock Nook Miles+.

These are daily tasks to keep those miles rolling in. You can also use these to buy new items and recipes.


Now you're out of debt - it's time to step up on the property ladder. Tell old Tom that you want a house, and you'll wake up the next day with a beautiful (read: empty) one-bedroom house and a brand new bill.

Then, ask little Timmy to set up a shop. He'll ask for 30 wood, hardwood, softwood, and iron nuggets, so ready your axe and get farming. Once you've completed his task, find a plot and Nook's Cranny will set up shop, where you'll be able to buy all sorts of stuff from in future.

That's also where you'll run into an old friend, Mabel.

Read More: Animal Crossing New Horizons: Tips and Tricks - Bells, Time Travel, Nook Miles, Crafting And More!


Talk to Mabel and she'll sell you clothes from her mobile stall, but if you spend 5,000 Bells with her, you'll be able to help her set up a permanent business. Find a spec for the Able Sisters clothing store, and you're good to go.

Once you've done this, talk to the Big Racoon himself (Tom Nook), and he'll give you the option to build bridges to connect islands together. This allows you to keep exploring further than ever before.


If you're feeling a little lonely at this point, don't worry. Begin building more lots on your island, including the six friendship pieces that each lot needs to be attractive to villagers. These can be anything - your best bet is furniture.

At this point, good old Tom Nook will do you the honour of upgrading your building services, giving you access to more items, including bridges and ladders to access everywhere on your island.

But, before exploring, we suggest making a campground, using 15 of each wood and the same number of Iron Nuggets.

Read More: Animal Crossing New Horizons: How To Make Medicine And Cure Wasp Stings

Making Friends


This will lead to strangers wandering over and asking to join your community. Let them in (if you want) and bring your island up to a 3* rating.

Doing this is relatively easy - make sure you've got seven villagers residing on your island, plant as many flowers as you possibly can, and place a bunch of exterior items and furniture.

This will lead to a pretty major event that we aren't going to spoil for you, but prepare to be excited. And, as a result, Tom Nook will give you the ability to terraform your land, and truly customise your island.

Yes, you can create pathways and make your island look exactly like you wanted. Thanks, Tom Nook!

At this point, you've pretty much unlocked everything there is, but the fun is just beginning. We hope you enjoy your adventure!

For more articles like this, take a look at our Animal Crossing New Horizons and Guides page.