Animal Crossing Bug Off Prizes Continue ACNH's Worst Trend

Animal Crossing: New Horizons's Bug Off event has returned, and it does little to differentiate itself from the game's many seasonal events. The premise is simple: talk to Flick in order to begin a bug-catching competition, during which the player must catch as many bugs as possible in a three-minute period. Each bug is worth one point, with more points awarded if more than three bugs are caught in one session; ten points can then be exchanged for a bug-themed item. Scoring works a little differently if playing co-op and players are awarded a trophy if they obtain enough points in one day.

Bug Off is one of many recurring events in New Horizons and returns every summer. Similar events include Animal Crossing's lackluster Fishing Tourney, a near duplicate event centered around fishing rather than bug catching, Maple Leaf Season, which involves collecting maple leaves and exchanging them for seasonal items, and Bunny Day, where collected eggs are used to craft seasonal items. Unfortunately, each seasonal event is basically the same, and they comprise the majority of ACNH's postgame material.

Related: Animal Crossing: How To Throw An Epic Party Before Destroying Your Island

Bug Off serves as a perfect example of New Horizon's worst trend, and does little to help the game's already dwindling longevity. Nearly every event activity is just thinly-veiled busy work, forcing the player to repeat what they have already done the entire game: collect items to exchange for furniture and clothing. The collecting process doesn't even change: players accumulate maple leaves with a Bug Net, pick up Mushrooming Season mushrooms like sticks, and grab Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Bunny Day eggs using a combination of every usual collecting method.

In all fairness, ACNH is a game about collecting and decorating, and never claims otherwise. Still, collecting critters to fill the museum and resources to build more island features are practically the only mini-games that ACNH has, and the fact that every seasonal event is just a re-textured version of an already familiar activity shows a lack of creativity. The Happy Home Paradise DLC at least added a career path, but home decoration was nothing new either.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons certainly had its moment, but its refusal to adapt meant its inevitable decline in popularity came faster than it needed to. Having an ACNH villager that is rich in Bells is nice, but once a player has a five-star island, an S-ranked home, the seasonally available critters, and a successful career in home design, there is little left to do. The original Animal Crossing had full NES games the player could collect and play, while a New Leaf update added two full-fledged minigames to keep the game fresh. New Horizons has refused to introduce new mechanics, instead re-releasing old activities and distributing barely-distinguishable prizes. These event-exclusive prizes are supposed to keep players coming back, but eventually, even the most devoted villagers must grow bored with their hoard of purely aesthetic furniture and clothing. Unfortunately, since Animal Crossing: New Horizons is now ignored, Nintendo announced there will be no more major updates, so maybe the series will break its bad habit in the next entry.

Next: Animal Crossing Villagers Used To Be Real Jerks (& Way More Fun)



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