One thing to know about me is that when it comes to my games, I get intense about planning and tracking. Like, really intense.
I remember one time in Harvest Moon (Tale of Two Towns, I think) they introduced a really complex treat system for animals and you would not believe the detailed tracking system I had in one of my notebooks for knowing exactly how many treats each animal had and how many they needed.
It’s not terribly surprising that in a game like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has way more things to keep track of and is far more sandbox than a game like Harvest Moon, I’d want to find ways to track everything that happens every day.
You know, ways that didn’t involve keeping a mental tally of everything and then forgetting a bunch of it when I got distracted by snacks.
That’s when I discovered something magical.
I forget now where exactly I heard about it, but somehow, I ended up with an app on my phone called ACNH Guide. It was pretty self-explanatory; to me, it was a digital bullet journal, the Animal Crossing equivalent of the app I used to keep on my phone to understand how casting even worked in D&D.
It sat neglected for a few days after installation, waiting for me to have time after the shenanigans that come from what I do at my day job sometimes. Last Wednesday on my rather rare day off, I opened it up and got started.
Here’s what I found.
Editor’s note: Two things we need to talk about here. First off, I’m using Android, but it’s available for iPhone too. And second, as of this writing, the app hasn’t been updated for the July patch yet, which is not the biggest deal but still not super handy for this.
It has a very useful home page
This is basically a cheat sheet for your whole game, and is definitely where I got the bullet journal impression from. It’s where you can see things like:
- A checklist of which villagers you’ve talked to that day
- Which villagers have birthdays coming up
- Which visitors have been to your island that week
- And even what your turnip prices are
The only things I noticed were missing (and both are super niche for me) was that there’s no way to track whether you’ve watered your flowers, and there’s no way to track whether you’ve gotten furniture from your trees.
Because I definitely go around shaking every tree until I’ve gotten my two pieces of furniture, even if that’s the only thing I do that day!
It lets you set your in-game time and day
This won’t be a huge deal for some players, but for those who shamelessly time-travel like I do, it’s incredibly handy.
The app lets you choose your day and time in the Settings tab—and that lets it do some really cool things on the home page, like telling you which fish and bugs are available based on your current day and time. A few of the details aren’t fully accurate, but for the most part, it’s really helpful for filling your museum and your Critters app.
I have to test this a little further, but it also seems to be able to predict weather based on the day and time you set. It’s happened a few times where it for some reason knows it’s raining in the game, and will show me fish that are only available on rainy days!
It lets you catalog everything
I’m not at all kidding. The Items tab on your home page lets you catalog every recipe, every piece of furniture, every random workout shirt your villagers have ever given you, and then uses this information to tell you how you’re doing on your collection compared to how many things there are in the game.
It’s also completely searchable, which isn’t something you can do with your catalog in the game.
It’s super useful, because ultimately what it does is prevent me from rebuying something just in case because I can’t remember if I cataloged it or not—but it’s also probably the most manual and tedious part of the entire app, at least when you’re getting started.
See, for this to be useful, it has to have the same information as your game—and there’s no sync function, which means you have to go through both catalogs and fill them out properly yourself.
Because I’ve time-traveled so much that my game thinks I’ve been playing for more than a year, this was one heck of a project. It took me most of the morning Wednesday (and then I only stopped because I’d had enough), and then another few hours on Thursday and Friday. But overall, I’m happy with the finished product.
It lets you build lists from your catalog
While you’re digging through your catalog, you have the option to add things to lists—and you start with a wishlist by default. Personally, I really liked this feature because I always have a mental wishlist anyway, so at least this way I have it handy when I’m playing!
The other thing you can do is create your own custom lists, so I’m tempted to search through all my cataloged furniture and create lists for each room in my house, so I have an organized plan and shopping list for certain builds.
It gives you a flower breeding cheat sheet
Honestly, flower breeding has turned into the single biggest thorn in my side in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get my little doughball hands on some darn blue roses!
Though most of this information is out there in some form or another, I like that the app has a little checklist of crossbreeds—so you can keep track of which steps you’ve completed on your way to a certain colour.
The only downside with this is that it only lists out one method for breeding, and I know from all my extensive frustration-provoked research that there are multiple methods out there—so if you want those alternate methods, you’ll need to look outside the app.
It tracks your turnip prices
The turnip calculator section on the app is actually an integration with the site I’ve already written about here, Turnip Prophet. It’s a nice addition because it lets you track your prices in the same daily journal-type setting as your villager tracker and everything, and then predicts your trend and maximum price.
It does let you open the site from the app if you’d rather do that, but I personally like having it in the app because quite honestly, I have too many tabs open all the time already.
One thing I’m interested in, but haven’t really looked into yet, is the fact that the app also seems to have a list of all the kinds of mystery islands and what you find on each.
I know there are resources out there with a lot of this information already, but the list in the app seems to have a few different designs that I haven’t seen before—so I’m assuming it’s based on updated research.
So that’s what I think based on my experience so far! I am excited to see when it’ll get an update with the new creatures and everything for July, though I won’t be terribly surprised if it takes a bit just because of how much changed.
Have you tried any apps for Animal Crossing?