Diving into Part One of Animal Crossing‘s Summer Update
The first “Summer Update” for Animal Crossing is here, and we have impressions!
Swimming! Diving! New motion mechanics and new stuff to find! Pascal! A new furniture set! Stealth quality of life updates! I’ll be rating each part of the update on a scale of one to five. A five is a truly terrific addition, a three is something I’m neutral on, and a one is actively bad. Let’s get into it!
Swimming and Diving
I am—as you’ll see in a future article—a bit obsessed with motion mechanics. This holds especially true in open world and sandbox games, the latter being where Animal Crossing arguably belongs. So unless it’s executed poorly, a new motion mechanic being added to a game is never a negative for me.
Swimming could certainly have been improved by having its controls match the controls for walking more closely, but I’m still having a lot of fun with it! It’s also super handy for bypassing spots near the shoreline where I haven’t had the bells to install bridges yet.
That said, I do wish I could swim in freshwater as well, and I don’t get why we can’t. I understand not letting me jump into rivers, since the animation might not work with the narrower body of water, but it’s all water, so let me keep swimming on in! I don’t even care if there’s nothing for me to find there; let me swim up through my town! It would also be neat if villagers could swim too, but I’m less hung up on that one.
Diving is also a super cool addition, and serves to give swimming “a point.” It also introduces a y-axis component to swimming, which I always think is neat. I’ve already taken to diving just for the joy of it, not just for treasure hunting!
There’s also a little bit of jank with getting out of the water near rocks. The shoreline can be clearly accessible, but something about being near rocks causes you to be unable to leave the water.
Between the jank and my wish to swim in freshwater, I’m putting swimming and diving at 4/5. It’s a wonderful addition, but there is room for improvement.
The sea creatures are a bit of a means to an end for me. It is, of course, wonderful that there are new collectibles for the overachievers out there who’ve already finished their aquariums. It’s fun to dive for them, and I can’t stress enough how much I truly enjoy the puns created for them, but they’re not particularly exciting to me, especially since we’ve confirmed CJ’s not interested in them. Therefore, I’m giving the addition of sea creatures a 3/5.
The swimwear is cute, but undeniably a bit weird mechanically. Rather than it replacing your existing outfit, swimwear goes on over whatever you’re wearing. This can sometimes cause your sleeves to disappear in the process.
I get why this is—it makes changing in and out of your wetsuit much less weird than it might be otherwise. (Your tank top and shorts decrease the potential weirdness considerably in my opinion.) Though I still find it odd.
On a purely aesthetic level, though, I really like the suits! There seem to be options for everyone, from the men’s vintage-inspired striped suits to the brightly colored modern wetsuits. While I appreciate they aren’t required for diving, the snorkels are undeniably quite charming.
My character’s aesthetic is vintage gothic when I bother to dress them up, and the lime green snorkel doesn’t go with that vibe. I’m not super thrilled about this, but I do like the clothing, so I’m giving the swimwear a 3.5/5.
I love this stoned red otter.
Pascal, for those of you who haven’t met him yet, is a delightfully weird otter NPC who pops up behind you when you catch your first scallop of the day. He wants that scallop, maaan. He’ll trade you for them, offering DIY recipes and pearls.
Pearls will be used in new DIY items, and introductory dialogue makes it clear Pascal will be our main source of them. He dispenses some fortune-cookie-style wisdom, says some variant of “Let that one roll around your noodle, maaan,” then swims off for the day to enjoy his fresh scallop. He brings me immense joy, and I can only hope he isn’t sidelined when winter comes.
I have a new favorite non-villager NPC. I get it now, Isabelle stans. 5/5.
Mermaid Furniture Set
The mermaid furniture set is gorgeous. Even though they don’t work for me personally, I love pastels in concept/in photos/on other people. I won’t be using the mermaid furniture myself, but it’s super cute! I loved seeing it in the Direct, and I look forward to seeing it in other people’s screenshots and on visits to other islands. 3/5.
Quality of Life Updates
Nintendo also snuck quality of life changes into this update and BREAKING NEWS: Saharah’s dialogue tree is no longer terrible! Rather than exiting the conversation following your purchase, they now ask if you’d like anything else. This may sound like a small change, but if you typically buy all five items, it is the biggest change in the world.
I also got Redd for, I wish I was kidding, the second time ever this morning. This leads me to speculate that perhaps they’ve changed his spawn rate and that maybe I’ll be seeing him more frequently. Since I can’t say for sure, I won’t be weighing this possibility into my ranking. However, my excitement about my art dealer finally figuring out how to get past those nets definitely deserved a mention in my AC update hype article. (Edit: Since the time of writing, data-mining has confirmed that the appearance rates of NPCs have indeed been changed.)
My hope is that we’ll continue to see QoL changes in future updates. Ideally, this will include crafting from storage and the ability to access storage outside the home—maybe via treasure chests in the spirit of Gulliver’s aesthetic update!
For Saharah’s dialogue tree update alone, I must give this part of the update a 5/5.
Overall, this is a wonderful update! I look forward to seeing what part two has in store when it comes our way in August. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear if you noticed any quality of life updates I missed!
If you’re interested in my other snap judgments, check out this article about Byleth’s clothes!