The vibe around Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a lot less secretive now. This morning, Nintendo showed off a lengthy presentation that provided plenty of details about the latest title in its adorable life sim series, which is making its debut on the Switch on March 20th. That includes everything from the structure of the game to the multiplayer aspect and your new virtual smartphone. There was a lot packed into the 25-minute-long presentation. But if you weren’t able to catch the whole thing, here are the highlights.
The island is fairly empty in the beginning
The Animal Crossing series isn’t exactly known for its bustling metropolises, but the island in New Horizons will be quiet even by Animal Crossing standards — at least initially. When you first boot up the game, you and two other residents will set up camp on a previously deserted island. Aside from nature and your tents, the only other facilities initially will be the airport where you can access multiplayer features, and Tom Nook’s facility where you buy and sell items, as well as craft new ones.
New facilities are available to be built on your island in #AnimalCrossing: New Horizons, from a museum showcasing the island’s rich ecosystem, Nook’s Cranny, the Able Sisters’ tailor shop, a campsite, and so much more. #ACNHpic.twitter.com/Pc3pGQ6eSg
But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way for long. Nintendo says that new residents will eventually join and, more importantly, you’ll slowly unlock major facilities as well. That includes series mainstays like the museum, general store, tailer, and more. Similarly, you’ll also get access to a proper house after paying off your loan. It’s not clear how or when these will eventually unlock, but it sounds like New Horizons will be a very slow burn.
You’ll have a smartphone full of apps
Like many modern games, the main menu in New Horizons takes the form of a smartphone, or NookPhone as it’s called in the game. The phone is naturally full of apps, each one corresponding to a specific aspect of the game. There’s an app for the in-game map, for instance, and another that collects all of your crafting recipes. (It’s not clear how you get such good reception on an island in the middle of nowhere.) Most notably is an app called Nook Miles, which ties into the next major feature…
There’s a new progression system
Without trying to sound too crass, Animal Crossing has always been about money to some degree. You move into a town, and you’re then immediately saddled with debt that you have to work to pay off. (Of course, there’s no interest, so you’re free to not pay it at all if you want.) New Horizons goes in a slightly different direction, one that changes the structure of the game.
The Nook Miles app is essentially a collection of quests. When you do things like catch a certain number of fish or collect a specific amount of twigs, you’ll earn miles that go toward paying off your travel package. From what Nintendo has shown, it looks like the goals will all be tied to things you do in the game anyway, making it a fairly natural progression system. However, it’s not clear if these miles can also be used to pay off future house upgrades, though you can also use them to visit mystery islands and unlock new gear.
Exchange a Nook Miles Ticket to hop aboard a Dodo Airlines plane for a Mystery Tour in #AnimalCrossing: New Horizons! Journey to far off destinations & experience unexpected encounters, or even take home the different items you find. Each tour is a new and surprising trip! #ACNHpic.twitter.com/09WODcmsN7
Yes, Isabelle is in the game — eventually. The adorable Shih Tzu has become a mascot for the series, and she’ll be part of New Horizons when players eventually unlock the resident services office. Other notable characters will also be making an appearance. Gulliver, for instance, will wash up on shore at some point. And traveling merchants like Kicks will visit from time to time.
There are different multiplayer options
One of the most unclear aspects of New Horizons was its multiplayer options, and Nintendo provided a bit more detail in that regard. For local play, up to eight people can have characters on the same Switch. They’ll all have to live on the same island — each player will get their own tent / house — and you can have one character per user account. There’s also a four-player “party” mode where four players can run around at the same time.
When it comes to online play, you’ll be able to visit friends and have them visit your island. A new “party play” feature lets up to four players visit the same space online. But there are some restrictions. You’ll need an island code to visit other players, and to prevent griefing, axes and shovels are banned so that you can’t chop down every single tree on someone else’s island. (These restrictions are lifted if you and the other person are considered “best friends,” though it’s not clear right now how that distinction is made.)
Voice and text chat require a separate app
If you want to actually talk to friends, you’ll need to do so via a separate smartphone app. The Nintendo Switch Online mobile app is being updated to support New Horizons, and it’s required for both voice and text chat in the game. The app will also let you scan QR codes to import pattern designs from past Animal Crossing games. The update is expected later in March after New Horizons launches.
There are no cloud saves
Much like other big Nintendo franchises like Pokémon and Splatoon, the new Animal Crossing won’t support cloud saves via the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. The reasoning isn’t clear, though Nintendo does say that it’s planning some kind of recovery service for those who lose their game file due to lost or damaged consoles.
You can shape the island itself
New Horizons will give you more control over nature than any of its predecessors. Not only can you pull weeds and chop down trees, you’ll also be able to demolish cliffs, create pathways across rivers, and even build stairs and bridges. Like most other features, this won’t be available right away, but it looks like it will give creative players plenty more options for customizing their island.
In addition to building bridges and inclines in #AnimalCrossing: New Horizons, you’ll be able to pave new pathways and construct your own rivers and cliffs with the Island Designer Construction Permit! You’ll need to have your island fully decked out to receive this app. #ACNHpic.twitter.com/mf86PEayVm
For those who have stuck with the mobile iteration of the series, Pocket Camp, Nintendo says there will be some connection with the new game in the form of exclusive items. It’s not clear what those items will be, but it’s a nice bonus for Pocket Camp players.
Expect plenty of free updates
Nintendo didn’t mention anything about paid DLC or expansions, but the developer did say that there will be multiple free updates coming in the future. These will primarily revolve around seasonal events, and you won’t have to wait long for them: Nintendo says that the first free update will be out on launch day, priming the game for an event later in April.
There are… ghosts?
During one sequence, Nintendo showed how different your island can look at night. This included a glimpse at what looked to be a ghost — called a “wisp” — but it was an all too brief encounter.
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Xiaomi will launch the Mi Band 5 in China on June 11.
It could soon launch globally as Mi Smart Band 5.
Keeping with last year, the India launch could happen later in the year.
Xiaomi’s Mi Bands are extremely popular for being the cheap, feature-filled wearables that they are. The newest member in the series — the Mi Band 5 — has been anticipated for a while now and thanks to various rumors and leaks, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from it. Now, we also know its launch date.
Xiaomi has announced that the new Mi Band will go official on June 11 in China. Coincidentally, Xiaomi is also launching a Mi Notebook in India on the same date.
The Chinese launch of the Mi Band 5 is pretty much in line with that of the Mi Band 4 last year. Keeping that in mind, we can expect the new fitness tracker to have a similar launch timeframe for global markets as well. Last year, the Mi Band 4 launched globally just days after its China reveal. So it’s quite possible the Mi Band 5 will also release in UK and Europe soon after its June 11 unveiling.
It’s also likely that Xiaomi will rebrand the global version of the Mi Band 5 to Mi Smart Band 5, as was the case last year. It’s rumored that this international variant will lack NFC support for payments.
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Fitness trackers have come an extremely long way over the years. No longer are they glorified pedometers; most standard fitness trackers nowadays can track your steps taken, distance traveled, caloric burn, and even your sleeping …
In the US though, consumers interested in buying the Mi Band 5 will most likely have to import the international model from Amazon. Meanwhile, Indian users might have to wait longer to get their hands on it. Last year, Xiaomi launched the Mi Band 4 in India in September and the company could very well have similar timelines this time around.
So what’s new with the upcoming Mi Band? The biggest physical change seems to be a larger 1.2-inch display compared to the Mi Band 4’s 0.95-inch screen. The band could also get some new features, such as new watch faces, a camera shutter key, blood oxygen level tracking, new exercise modes, and more. Looking for more details? Then check out all the Mi Band 5 rumors at the previous link.
Following the release of iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 two weeks ago, Apple has pushed out another update it says addresses security issues.
“This update provides important security updates and is recommended for all users,” writes Apple in the update notes.
The update arrives following the release of a significant jailbreak capable of running on any device with iOS 13.5. Though it’s still unclear, there’s a possibility this update could be designed to close that loophole.
iOS 13.5 included Apple’s COVID-19 contract-tracing API developed in partnership with Google, improvements to Face ID that make it easier to log into an iPad or iPhone when wearing a face mask and a change to Group FaceTime calling that stops tiles from shifting in size based on who is talking.
In order to download the update, navigate to ‘Settings,’ then ‘General’ and finally, ‘Software Update.’
Alongside growing reports of high battery drain, Apple customer support has confirmed to users that iPadOS can cause boot loops on the iPad Pro and media playback of the hugely popular MP4/MPEG-4 container format is broken for both iPad and iPhone owners.
Breaking down the former, AppleInsider states that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is most commonly affected with reboots occurring “between 30 seconds and 45 seconds after logging in”. Full factory resets and even putting devices into DFU mode have not fixed the problem for many. Interestingly, there are also isolated reports of this impacting iPhones, while the issue seems to span both iPadOS / iOS 13.4.1 and 13.5 for impacted users.
It is a similar story with MP4 playback with the problem spanning both 13.4.1 and 13.5 and impacted users have lost access to their video libraries (1,2,3,4,5 etc) with native apps and third party apps like NPlayer and InFuse. While Apple switched default video recording to HEVC in iOS 11, support for this remains mixed so switching it to MP4 (still the most popular container format in the world) is a popular option.
“I reported this to Apple and the only suggestion they gave me that I hadn’t already tried was to delete and reinstall the tv app. But that did not help. Good luck to all of us!” reported one impacted user yesterday.
As it stands, there is no timeline for a fix for either issue but Apple looks set to prioritize an iPadOS / iOS 13.5.1 release following the discovery of a zero-day vulnerability which enables users to jailbreak their iPhones. This vulnerability also impacts every version of iOS since iOS 11.
Despite this, I would still recommend users upgrade to iPadOS / iOS 13.5. The faults here can also impact previous iOS versions, while the new release patches a serious Apple Mail bug which affects every iPad and iPhone ever made. Moreover, its Coronavirus-specific upgrades might just save your life.
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