Animal Crossing: New Horizons: How To Time Travel

Tired of waiting around in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Thankfully skipping ahead is super simple!

Game time in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is synced with real world time. If it's 2:00 PM on a Wednesday in the actual world where you live then that's the time in the game. If it's a Sunday in the real world, then it's a Sunday in the game (Turnip day!) It makes things very unique as a result.

But... that doesn't always have to be the case. There are ways around it, if you don't mind going outside of the game for a work around.

 

How To Time Travel In Animal Crossing

There unfortunately is not an in-game mechanic for skipping ahead and time traveling. As a result some people consider it "cheating" or an "exploit" but in reality you're just speeding the game up. You're not doing anything that wouldn't happen naturally anyway.

Since Animal Crossing uses your Switch's clock and calendar to know the date and time, you've got to actually adjust your Switch's System Settings directly and fool the game into thinking it's a different day than what it actually is in real life. This is a simple process.

  1. Save and exit the game, then close the app completely
  2. Select your Switch System Settings from the main home menu
  3. Select "date and time" from the System Settings submenu
  4. Turn off "synchronize clock via the internet"
  5. Manually set your date and time to whatever you want
  6. Save your changes and close System Settings
  7. Re-launch the game and enjoy living in the future (or past) of Animal Crossing

Benefits To Time Travel In Animal Crossing

The thing about the real time clock is that only so many things can happen per day in Animal Crossing. Get all the wood from your trees, resources from rocks, and checked the shop for new stock? Gotta wait until tomorrow or visit another island. It can be tedious.

Tons of things are strictly time locked. Finish gathering resources to build that new shop in town? Okay, now wait until tomorrow. Paid off your home loan and want to expand? Once again, you've gotta wait until tomorrow. 

The slow pace is a big part of Animal Crossing's design, it's supposed to be a leisurely stroll through island living with a slow roll out of features. If you the game at a normal pace then you'll probably keep unlocking new features even weeks after its release. Not to mention all of the seasons, holidays, and other changes that hit the game over time. It's very much built to be a game you play for a little bit just about every day.

But I don't blame you for wanting things to go faster everyone can play however they want. Maybe you just don't have much time to play consistently and can only sink time into it one day per week so you're losing out by missing out most days. Whatever the case may be, you do you. Thankfully, speeding things up and skipping ahead is easier than ever.

Downsides To Time Travel In Animal Crossing

Time is linear in Animal Crossing. So if you skip ahead to December all the way from today's date in March, the game is going to turn the clock forward but it will act like you neglected everything between now and then. Think of it like the scene in Click when he accidentally skips most of his life just to avoid the inconveniences. 

This means weeds will have sprouted all over your island, villagers will be pissed at your for being MIA, some of your favorite villagers may have moved out and went to a different island entirely, and who knows what all you've missed.

You'll also have to deal with a large and vocal sector of Animal Crossing purists fanatics that chastise anyone that time travels in the game. So, you know, keep an eye out for that on social media.

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That's pretty much all there is to it. If you decide to time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, make sure and do so responsibly! 

For more on Animal Crossing, check out these other amazing guides and read our full review:

Contributor

David is the Games Editor at UploadVR, author of The Ultimate Roblox Book, and freelance writer with bylines at IGN, Forbes, PCGamer, Gamecrate, VICE, and many other places. It’s dangerous to go alone, so follow him on Twitter: @David_Jagneaux.

Published May. 4th 2020

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