Hints and Tips

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is, I think you’ll agree, pretty darned good. It’s bigger, better, more-intuitive, and more accessible than all previous titles. Actually, don’t quote me on it being bigger – that’s not strictly true.

However, for those of us that have been playing for more than a decade, it’s easy to forget that there are some things in Animal Crossing games that we take for granted, and that new players won’t immediately know. Of course, it could be argued that discovering the nuances of the game are all part of the charming experience – and I might agree. I still remember the day I discovered the money stone and refined the technique to extract the maximum amount each time.

The following hints and tips are therefore presented with a SPOILER ALERT. They will help you make the most out of playing both New Leaf and also past and future Animal Crossing games, but they might also rob the game of some mystery. You have been warned…

Collections – Donate first, sell later

Whether it’s bugs, fish, fossils, or art, the state of your museum exhibits tells the world how committed you are to the game. Furthermore, you might even get rewarded as they progress. However, as a newcomer to the town, living in a tent or shack, it can be tempting to sell everything and raise as many bells as possible. However, if you do this, you’ll have a hard time later, remembering which items you’ve already donated.

The solution to this is simple; always donate the first one. In New Leaf you’ll be informed if it’s the first catch of a fish or bug by the message ‘I wonder what my encyclopaedia has to say about this one’. Every time you see that message, ensure that you donate it to Blathers at the museum. You can then happily sell all future catches, safe in the knowledge that the museum doesn’t want it.

The money stone – Two holes method

Ever since the Gamecube version, there has been a money stone (A.K.A. money rock, bell rock, bell stone) in the village. Randomly selected each day, one of the stones in your village will throw out money when hit. The amount can vary – depending on your shovel grade and your house’s level of feng-shui. What is certain, however, is that the two holes method ensures you’ll get the most you can.

It is impossible to identify the stone without hitting it, so you’ll have to do this for each stone in turn until you find it…

When you hit the stone you’ll bounce away from it. This means that, unless you create a buffer to stop you bouncing too far, you’ll miss out on the big money. How do you do this? Well, the best way is to dig two holes that will catch your villager, and allow you to dig away at that stone without wasting time. It’s hard to describe where to dig the holes so hopefully this diagram will make it clear:

animal crossing money rock diagram

X = holes, O = you, and that very realistic rock is, of course, the rock.

It’s worth bearing in mind that money will disappear if it lands on flowers, weeds, saplings, items, or any other ground that cannot be dug. As such, you must make sure you have clear the ground around the rock before you start.

Oh, and one other thing – beware animals that might try to speak to you or mosquitos that might bite you. If either of these things happen while you’re mining, the stone will expire before you’ve gotten all the money.

Speak to animals with jobs

While it may not seem like it at first, the animals with businesses and jobs often have the most to say. The prime example of this is Sable Able, the ever-industrious hedgehog from the Able Sisters store.  She’s one of the series’ most endearing characters, but you’ll only find out why if you put in the time and visit her every day. I’m not going to spoil it for you.

The point, then, is that some of Animal Crossing’s characters can seem vacuous at times but, if you persevere, you might just get to find whole new sides to them.

Find out the price of items

Although it’s much easier to sell everything as a job lot when trying to raise funds, you’re missing a trick if you haven’t taken the time to find out what the individual items are worth. There are countless times when you’ll be running around, catching creatures to sell when *WHOOSH!* A birdwing butterfly flits past (okay – that ‘whoosh’ might have been a bit much…). You equip your net and swipe the valuable beasty… only to find your pockets are already full of fish and bugs! What do you throw away? Is a migratory locust worth more than a giant cicada? Is a bitterling better than a sweetfish?

The same goes for shells on the beach. Some are hardly worth picking up, while others are pretty good earners.

Stow surplus in letters

Run out of space in your inventory? Easy – just chuck some items in with your old letters. Anything from your inventory that’s not a bug or fish can be dragged onto a letter for storage. It will simply appear as a present attached to the letter. To retrieve it again, simply select the letter and then the ‘present’ option.

Always sell to Re-Tail

If you’re new to the Animal Crossing games, you might not yet realise that Nooks are crooks. Timmy and Tommy may only be small, but they’re just as bent as Tom. As such, they offer significantly less on purchases than the friendly alpaca-run Re-Tail store.

Anything else?

We’ll be sure to add new hints and tips as we think of them. If you can think of any we’ve missed, be sure to add them to the comments below.

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