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How To Play Animal Crossing Multiplayer

by Kegan Mooney

Playing Animal Crossing in multiplayer mode can ramp up even the Nintendo Switch’s most popular game to offer more enjoyment. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is better with friends, not just for the social aspect.

If you’re playing with a friend from another island, there’s a chance they may have different fruit to you (native to their island). By trading native fruit with each other, you have the opportunity to make more bells by playing Animal Crossing.

Now, there are several ways you can play Animal Crossing multiplayer:

  • Couch Co-Op Local Multiplayer
  • Local Wireless
  • Online Multiplayer

We’re going to guide you through the steps to play each of Animal Crossing’s multiplayer options. This includes explaining the benefits of each one (like not having to buy the game twice for more than one person to enjoy it).

1. Animal Crossing Couch Co-Op (Party Play)

Image Credit: Fandom

If you or your friend have a Switch and a copy of Animal Crossing, the good news is that the other person doesn’t have to fork out hundreds of dollars to play together.

Animal Crossing Couch Co-Op can be enjoyed by up to eight people. All eight people live on the same island where up to four of the players can join in on Party Play sessions.

Here’s how to set up Animal Crossing multiplayer couch co-op.

  • Start with one player setting up their island on a Nintendo Switch. They’ll need to go through the small tutorial at the start to set up the island and become the Resident Rep.
  • Add another account to the same Nintendo Switch and start the game with that account.
  • Join the existing island. Here the player will get a NookPhone with a fewature called “Call Islander”.
  • Use the Call Islander app to start Party Play.

Remember: While eight people can live on the same island, only four can partake in Party Play.

Whoever initiates Party Play will automatically become the leader. Animal Crossing Party Play is not split-screen, so “followers” will automatically follow the leader.

What Can Followers Do?

Followers won’t have full access to their pockets, shop, or enter buildings like the leader, but they still can play some aspects of Animal Crossing: New Horizons like catching fish and bugs.

The leader can be changed at any time by shaking the Joy-Con or by selecting the Call Islander app.

If you want to remove a player from your island in Animal Crossing, follow our detailed inactive player guide.

2. Animal Crossing Local Wireless Multiplayer

Similar to Party Play, up to eight players can play together on one person’s island in Animal Crossing using local wireless or online multiplayer.

Note: Online multiplayer will unlock on day 2. This is when Dodo Airlines becomes available.

Local players must have their own Nintendo Switch and each has a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Here’s how to do it.

  • To play Animal Crossing multiplayer without an internet connection, players must be nearby to each other (within a few feet).
  • Decide on which island you want to visit. That player must go to Dodo Airlines and talk to Orville.
  • Select “I want visitors” then the “via local play” option.
  • Orville will search for a local island that players can visit, displayed by you (if friends are visiting you) or your friend’s island name.
  • If you want to visit a friend’s island instead, choose the “I wanna fly” option.

What’s Different About Local Play To Party Play?

You may be wondering why you’d want to play Local Play over Party Play since it requires all players to have their own Switch and copy of Animal Crossing.

Well, Local Play is better than Party Play in several ways. When a player visits your island or you visit theirs, all players can access their inventory so activities can go ahead more smoothly.

There also isn’t a leader/follower system, so you can explore your friend’s island without any restrictions.

3. Animal Crossing Online Multiplayer

The final way in which you can play Animal Crossing multiplayer with your friends is by using an internet connection. You won’t be able to add a player as a “best friend” until you’ve played with them at least once, and this is how you do it.

If you want to visit another player’s island:

  • Go to Dodo Airlines and speak to Orville.
  • Select the option “I wanna fly!” then choose “I wanna visit someone”.
  • Next, select “via online play”.
  • You’ll either need to “search for a friend” or “search via Dodo code”.
  • Once you’ve selected either option, you’ll be able to visit your friend’s island.

If you’d rather your friend visit your island, here’s what you’ve got to do:

  • Go to Dodo Airlines.
  • Select “I want visitors”, then “via online play”.
  • You can choose to open your island to “all my friends” or “only my best friends”.
  • Alternatively, you can “invite via Dodo code”.

To end either session, simply press the “-” symbol to leave or kick people off your island in Animal Crossing. If you don’t want players to return, speak to Orville and select “close the gate”.

Playing Animal Crossing Multiplayer With Friends or Best Friends

In this Animal Crossing multiplayer guide, you may have noticed there were two options; playing with friends or best friends. You may be wondering what the difference is!

Playing with best friends opens up more options like being able to hit stones, dig for fossils, and more. As there are quite a few differences, we’ve put together this Animal Crossing friend vs best friends options table to make it easier to digest.

Gameplay OptionsFriendsBest Friends
Pick and plant fruits/flowersyesyes
Catch bugs and fishyesyes
Pick up resources from the groundyesyes
Hit stones to gather iron/clay/moneynoyes
Hit trees for woodnoyes
Dig for fossils and clamsnoyes
Plant treesnoyes
Visit the Nook Shop to buy and sellyesyes
Access items in Resident Servicesnono
Talk to animal residentsyesyes
Enter homesyesyes

Note: When players are visiting you, or you are visiting an island, no terraforming or decoration can be done.

How to Add Best Friends in Animal Crossing

Now that we understand the benefits of playing Animal Crossing multiplayer with best friends, it’s time to learn how you add them.

  • Once you’ve played Animal Crossing at least once with someone, open your Nook Phone.
  • Select the “Best Friends” app.
  • Choose the player you want to add as a best friend.

How to Use Dodo Codes in Animal Crossing

Dodo Codes are a measure of protection in Animal Crossing so that you can’t just visit anyone’s island without their permission, and they can’t enter yours.

Dodo Codes can be used in Local Play and Online Multiplayer in the game.

To get your Dodo Code, speak to Orville and select “Invite via Dodo Code” to get your code. It’s a five-digit code that you can give to your trusted friends. Similarly, friends or other players can give you their Dodo Code to visit their island.

For more Animal Crossing tips and tricks, check out our Animal Crossing hub!

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