Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn’t really a game that you can “beat” in the traditional sense. There are goals to work towards and even a point where the credits roll, but Nintendo‘s laid-back island life simulator is designed to be played over a long period of time and at whatever pace works best for you.
Even so, most dedicated players eventually set their sights on the game’s crowning achievement: receiving a five-star island rating from Isabelle. It’s not easy, but the following tips can improve your chances of reaching this coveted milestone and snagging the rewards that come with it.
The first thing you should work on is unlocking and upgrading each of your island’s shops. New Horizons does a great job of guiding you in the right direction during its opening hours, so just keep asking Tom Nook what you should be doing and you’ll unlock the Community Center building, Nook’s Cranny general store and the Museum relatively soon after starting.
After those three are built, be sure to buy clothing from the traveling vendor Mabel whenever you see her. Spending a certain amount of bells on her rotating stock of items will trigger the construction of the Able Sisters shop, where you’ll have access to a much larger selection of clothing and accessories.
Then, focus on buying furniture and other items at Nook’s Cranny and you’ll eventually get the upgraded version of that as well. This will require at least 30 days to have passed since the shop was built and for the player to have purchased and sold at least 200,000 Bells worth of things.
This is one of the easier things you can do to increase your odds of getting a five-star rating. Just completing the tasks Tom Nook assigns to you early on will get you halfway there. You’ll need to have 10 villagers in your town at all times in order to get a perfect rating from Isabelle, so be sure to fill any vacancies if one of your villagers decides to move out.
You’ll eventually reach a point where Tom Nook will ask for your help in convincing K.K. Slider to perform a concert on your island, which can be done by achieving a three-star rating out of five. This is the first major milestone in the game and will unlock both the terraforming tool and ending credits. It’s also where the real journey to a perfect town will begin.
To get a three-star rating, be sure to have at least seven villagers living in your town and decorate as much of the island’s available space as you can with furniture, DIY projects, flowers and anything else on hand. This first hurdle seems to be based more on quantity than quality, so just keep cramming things everywhere and you’ll get a three-star rating before you know it.
Once K.K. Slider has performed for your villagers and you’ve received the terraforming tool from Tom Nook, you’ll want to dedicate the rest of your time to developing your island as much as possible. Put fencing up anywhere you can, connect every part of the island with bridges and slopes, lay down an extensive network of paths and jam-pack every square inch of land with decorations and DIY projects. The terraforming tool will give you the ability to build cliffs and reroute rivers, so go crazy creating a unique layout that gives you the most space for your stuff.
Having a variety of trees and flowers is key to reaching a five-star island rating. The numbers aren’t exact, but you should aim for around 210 flowers, 110 trees and 10 bamboo thickets, with a diverse selection of each in order to satisfy the conditions for perfection. These need to be fully-bloomed flowers and adult trees, so buds and saplings don’t count towards your total.
Most importantly, keep your island clean! Always pluck every weed you spot, and clean up any stray sticks lying around, as their presence WILL negatively affect your score. Be sure to check behind cliffs and trees often, as weeds have a habit of growing in places you can’t see directly.
Keep up the hard work and stay diligent, and you’ll eventually be granted the prestigious honor of a five-star rating from Isabelle. Along with the bragging rights, getting five stars nets you the recipe for a golden water can and allows the rare Lily of the Valley flower to grow on your island. These only begin to bloom once you hit five stars, so invite your friends over and impress them with the fruits of your achievement.
Animal Crossing's most coveted achievement is reaching a five-star island rating. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get there.