Friday morning I woke up and felt productive. I went to work, decided to build my favorite resident a cottage, and they asked me for a specific aesthetic and some furniture they would love in their house. It took me a few hours, but the finished design combined with their smile made it all worth it. It was rewarding and relaxing – probably because I did not actually draw anyone’s vacation home in real life, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Happy Home Paradise DLC allowed me to live a life where I spent my time in a tropical paradise. help people build their dream vacation homes.
New Horizon’s first (and last) paid DLC allows you to visit a resort archipelago to work at Paradise Planning, a company that helps villagers buy their very own vacation homes. It is a concept that will be very familiar to anyone who has played Happy Home Designer, an Animal Crossing spin-off that was released on the 3DS in 2015. You are tasked with recruiting holidaymakers who are interested in buying a cottage, and choose a plot. of land, and then build a house based on specific themes and objects that the villager wants it to contain.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ version 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise screenshots
Although the building itself and the decoration are relatively straightforward, the simple instructions each villager gives you give a lot of free domination and creativity, which I thought was overwhelming and has prompted me to think outside the box when decorating in New Horizons. It’s fun to design something outside of your own home or island, and harness my creativity in a way that New Horizons has not previously explored. You get your choice of a handful of islands for where a villager’s holiday home is also to be built – each has different functions and sometimes different seasons that make the room stand out from others. When choosing the land you want to use on that island, you can also customize the exterior and interior of the home with decorations. So much freedom could be a little overwhelming, but there is the opportunity to see some relevant things that can help fit the vision of the client’s dream vacation home if you need a little more direction. Happy Home Paradise also gives you an option later on where you can build a customer’s house without any instructions at all, by choosing everything from its items to the name of their home.
After a bit of play, you can also unlock roommates where two clients share a cottage. Pairing villagers as roommates can be very helpful if you have clients who want holiday homes with similar themes. Instead of having each their home, why not build one and let them live together? It’s also great if you just really want an excuse to finally have the two villagers you pretend to date to live together.
But if you expect to have your entire furniture catalog available to you right away, you will be disappointed. Happy Home Paradise makes more furniture available to you as you evolve, but it can be a slow burn. This means that there is a good chance that most of the decorations and designs you will use for your client’s home will not be available at the time of assignment. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to remodel previous homes you have decorated, which encouraged me to revisit and improve on my previous projects as I continued to expand my business.
The more clients Paradise Planning gets, the more things you unlock; Outside of furniture, unlockables also include new customization features such as columns, adding a second floor to a customer’s house, plus soundscapes to add a constant ambient sound to a room. My personal favorite was your ability to resize a room so you can set a room as large as 10×10 or as small as 4×4.
In addition to recruiting customers who visit the archipelago, you also eventually unlock the opportunity to call in certain villagers using Animal Crossing’s extensive collection of Amiibo cards. You can also invite villagers from your own island, even if it requires a bit of bribery by giving them Souvenir chocolates, which are sold exclusively at the Paradise Planning Office.
When we talk about buying things, you get paid for your hard work with the Paradise Planning team. Instead of bells, the traditional currency used in Animal Crossing, Lottie pays you in Poki, which can only be used on items you buy when you visit the archipelago. For example, you can buy food at the cafe, clothes in the Apparel Shop, or you can use that Poki to expand your catalog by talking to Wardell, the reserved but friendly Manatee who runs the Paradise Planning gift shop. Similar to Nook’s Cranny, five items will be exhibited with the items changed on a daily basis. Although these items are available in the base game, I found that the newer items introduced in update 2.0 are easier to obtain through Wardell. Even better? After using a certain amount of Poki in the gift shop, Wardell will allow you to order all the items you have spent in your time designing home for Paradise Planning, and it will be shipped to your house the following day – this includes all color variations. Makes it much easier to catalog furniture in New Horizons.
As you complete more houses, your Poki salary increases as well, but I thought the starting salary for Poki was pretty generous, allowing me to buy most things in Wardell’s gift shop pretty quickly. However, once you start opening other facilities on the archipelago such as the clothing store, the wage increase offsets something with the other facilities that accept payment.
If you really are not a fan of Poki, the Paradise Planning office has a currency exchange so you can convert your Poki to bells. Outside of the Souvenir chocolates, it seems that the items sold on the archipelago are not exclusively available through Poki based on what I have seen being sold in Nook’s Cranny. It certainly makes it easier to catalog all the new elements introduced as part of the new DLC and the base game’s 2.0 update, which added plenty of options, whether you buy the Happy Home Paradise expansion or not.
The other island facilities you can open range from a school, a restaurant and even a hospital, all of which are vacant buildings when you start DLC. As you build your Paradise Planning clientele, Lottie, the manager of the company, will have you customize these facilities so that customers can visit them. This includes naming each facility and hiring staff to work there. And just like Wardell’s gift shop, all facilities accept Poki as a form of payment.
The facilities are by far my favorite thing at Happy Home Paradise. You only have so much space to spend on your actual island and it feels like you suddenly have a brand new card to call your own. If you enjoy making small sketches or photographs on Harv’s Island, you will enjoy the sociable atmosphere that comes when you start opening these facilities and see characters use these spaces. It really brings a lot more interactivity and makes the space feel more active than your own island, which is a maximum of 10 villagers with most of the NPCs referred to specific locations.
Although it is a similarly slow burn to unlock all the facilities, this unlocking method feels just as rewarding as you can physically see the growth Paradise Planning and the archipelago are experiencing the more you design holiday homes. You start at Paradise Planning as a small, unknown business that has a few retirees coming by on vacation, and it’s fun to work your way up to a place that everyone wants to visit. It’s a lot like working hard to build my island up to 5 stars in the base game. Although I wish you had the choice of where you placed facilities or the order in which you unlock them – I find it much more convenient to open a hospital or cafe before school, which is the first facility you unlock up.
All the new skills and tricks you learn in the archipelago are also extended to your main island. You can now offer to remodel your villager’s home, and (with the exception of the room size adjustment tool) you can renovate or give some of their furniture a nice shine. While it’s disappointing that you can not use the tool in room size on the main island, the possibility of even remodeling a villager’s home is a fine detail. Especially if you, like me, managed to get your favorite villager early, and instead of getting their actual house, they got a standard house that varies based on their personality. In my case, Drago, one of my favorite villagers, whose house usually has a lot of cool decor with an imperial theme, instead had the standard house Lazy villagers with a log cabin-like interior with dirt floor. Being able to finally decorate his home without having to kick him out and bring him back via Amiibo saves a lot of headaches on my part.