Does Animal Crossing Punish You For Time Traveling?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons uses real-time, meaning that some tasks can take days in real life to complete, unless players choose to time travel.

Time passes slowly in Animal Crossing: New Horizons when playing a little bit every day. Unlike simulation games like Stardew Valley or Story of Seasons, the clock in most Animal Crossing games is determined by real-time. This means 3PM in-game is 3PM in real life, and a new day won’t start until midnight. However, for those who don’t want to go at a leisurely pace when upgrading their home or shooing out an unwanted villager, time travel could be a useful solution.

There are only so many tasks a player can do in a single day on their Animal Crossing island. Items change daily at Nook’s Cranny and Able Sisters, dig spots generate randomly on the island every morning, and message bottles only spawn on beaches once per day. While these may not be big enough reasons to attempt to change the date on the calendar, island upgrades can definitely be worth it. Shops, villager homes, and personal home upgrades all take several days to complete. Players working on a new Animal Crossing: New Horizons island design, or trying to get a new villager quickly, can choose to skip forward a few days to speed up construction.

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Related: Animal Crossing May Day 2021: Can You Invite Rover To Your Island

Using time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is actually quite simple. Players will only need to go to their Nintendo Switch system settings and turn off the “Synchronize Clock Via Internet” option. Afterward, the date and time can be set to any point in the year. Players can choose to jump forward a day or two in order to complete a project or even jump to a different month in the year to capture out-of-season bugs and fish for their museum displays.

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While it may seem like cheating to jump days or months to speed up tasks, there actually aren’t many consequences for using time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Jumping forward or backward several weeks can cause the player to wake up with bedhead, and potentially lead to an infestation of cockroaches in the house that must be smashed, but these are more to mark the passage of time than to act as a punishment. The bigger struggle can be the accidental spoiling of Turnips purchased before a large skip, or straining relationships with Animal Crossing villagers a player doesn’t want to lose.

While players can speed up many aspects of gameplay, using time travel to skip to seasonal Animal Crossing events can be a mixed bag. Most seasonal events are part of upgrades released shortly before the event day occurs, and while it is possible to jump ahead after the update has been released, events well in the future won’t always be accurate or accessible. Special items in the Nook Shopping seasonal items tab also won’t be available, as these are tied to updates as well. Because time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons has few setbacks, choosing to jump forward or keep the clock in real-time is entirely up to player preference.

Next: Animal Crossing Desperately Needs Substantial New Content Updates

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Karen J. Simmons

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