Since the debut of the franchise in 2001, Animal Crossing titles have remained some of the most popular games, with the latest installment being Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The success of the franchise is due in large part to the casual atmosphere of the in-game world, complete with stimulating features like fishing, bug-catching, and mingling with neighbors.
While these features merely serve as pass-times in the town of your creation, getting to know your local villagers has become one of the most rewarding in-game aspects of Animal Crossing to date. In fact, it’s safe to say every player has a favorite villager to chat with and visit.
With the release of New Horizons in 2020, we’ve met a handful of newly introduced villagers along with a solid amount of returning fan-favorites. Whether you care more for the personalities of your villagers, the aesthetic of their homes, or their character design, there are certainly some top-notch villagers to invite to your island.
Here are the top 12 best villagers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, according to franchise fans.
While Jeremiah is categorized as a lazy villager, this cool blue frog has been playing the long game. Present in each Animal Crossing release, he’s been a favorite among fans since the franchise’s humble beginnings. This is evidenced by the huge number of players who have invited the laid-back villager to take up residence on their islands, regardless of theme.
Kiki is another villager who has been favored by fans since the debut of the first Animal Crossing title. She’s a friendly and endearing black cat who is always willing to lend a kind word, further characterized as a normal villager. There is some speculation that her name and design are a nod to the young witch named Kiki and her black cat, Jiji, in Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved animated film Kiki’s Delivery Service, making this villager a popular pick among nostalgic movie fans.
Introduced in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Shep quickly became a fan-favorite due to his undeniably charming design. This sheepdog villager has a smug personality, lending a bit of humor to his in-game conversations. Aside from his design and demeanor, Shep’s home is also aesthetically pleasing, fitting in well with tropical or traditional Japanese island themes in New Horizons.
While he’s widely considered to be one of many deer villagers, Erik has a much more unique design in that he resembles a moose, reindeer, or elk, depending on who you ask. Despite the speculation, it’s clear that this lazy villager is well-loved by franchise fans. Due to both his design and log cabin home, Erik is especially sought after by players who maintain cozy, forest-themed islands in New Horizons.
While Ketchup’s introduction to the franchise’s American installments had a bit of a rocky start, her newfound popularity in New Horizons has taken endless islands by force. With perhaps one of the silliest character designs to date, it’s easy to see why the peppy villager has so quickly gained the approval of long-time fans. Her ketchup-red home is cozy and well-kept, making it a seamless part of most islands.
Dobie has proven that old dogs can always make new friends. While he’s technically a wolf, thhis cranky villager has received a lot of love from fans since his return in New Horizons. Much like Ketchup, Dobie was previously available in Japanese versions of earlier titles and excluded from their American counterparts. Luckily, he’s received the recognition he deserves across islands of all themes.
Lucky is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after villagers in New Horizons, due in large part to his spectacularly creepy design. Unsurprisingly, the mummified dog villager has a lazy personality, making him humorous company to keep. While his home isn’t quite so spooky, Lucky is still a popular pick among players curating Halloween-themed islands.
Beau was first introduced to the franchise in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and he quickly gained recognition for his endearing design and lazy personality. While there is no shortage of deer villagers, Beau stands out from the crowd, likely due to his sense of humor and love for books. He has become a quintessential villager across islands of all themes, despite his cozy cabin home.
Introduced in New Horizons, Ione has quickly become a top-choice villager. With a (literally) stellar design, it’s hard to believe the dreamy blue squirrel has a normal personality as opposed to peppy or snooty. Regardless, her name is befitting as it’s widely recognized as a reference to a nymph of the same name in Greek mythology, and she makes an extraordinary addition to magical islands.
Possibly the most anticipated of the newly introduced villagers, Raymond captured the attention of long-time fans when his unique design was first revealed. Although, the hype has quieted a bit in the three years since the release of New Horizons. This smug cat villager sports an intelligent pair of glasses along with a collared shirt and tie, lending him an air of sophistication. He is also dichromatic with one green eye and one brown.
Also introduced in New Horizons, Shino is a peppy deer villager born on Halloween. She is friendly and quite lively, making her great company to keep. However, she very quickly gained attention for her striking design, and she’s now one of the most popular picks for players who’ve created Japanese-themed islands due to her Kimono outfit and traditional home.
Introduced in New Leaf, Marshal is easily the most beloved of the returning bunch, and perhaps one of the most thoroughly adored villagers in the Animal Crossing franchise. Fans rejoiced when the blushing squirrel was confirmed to make his return in New Horizons. While smug, Marshal is great company to keep, and he is especially favored by players with beachy islands due to his Mediterranean home.
While all Animal Crossing villagers have favorable qualities, it’s clear that franchise fans certainly have preferences when it comes to who they invite to their carefully curated islands in New Horizons. Of course, every villager is someone’s favorite, and even those who didn’t make the cut will surely make fantastic additions to any island.
For more on fish, bugs, and paintings, check out the rest of our collection of Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides.
Featured image via Nintendo