You’ve settled into your new island in Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch and now you’re ready to show it off to the world. Here’s how to unlock the different multiplayer features in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Unlock the Dodo Airlines Airport
On day 2 of your new island, Tom Nook will announce in the town plaza that access to the airport is now available. Head to the Dodo Airlines and talk to Orville, the bird behind the counter.
Orville will spill all of the details about what the airport does. When he’s finished, select “I want visitors”.
From here, Orville will lay some ground rules. He will remind you that names, the in-game chat, bulletin-board posts, the look of the island, rooms in homes, and custom designs and other content are all visible to other players—all of this can be found in Nintendo’s Code of Conduct website.
When you finish reading the short terms and conditions prompt, you’ll be asked if you want to invite visitors for online play.
Local play does not require an internet connection or a Nintendo Online subscription. If you choose to visit friends over an internet connection, you will need a Nintendo Online subscription.
After confirming your preferred connection, the game will save and you’ll be asked who you would like to invite.
How to Connect With Friends Locally
Choosing to play locally does not require an internet connection, and for extra security, you can give other players a temporary Dodo Code (more on that below) to join the local connection.
Any player with their account connected to the Nintendo Switch can start the game or join the pre-existing established island.
After new players have finished the Dodo Airlines Airport tutorial, they will receive a new app on their Nook Phone called “Call Islander.” This app allows players to invite other residents who live on the island for co-op play, also known as Party Play.
Each player can have their own house on the island. Up to eight players can live on the island at once, but Party Play only allows four people to play at once.
To use local play, you and the other player must be on the same Wi-Fi network—think “couch co-op.”
The player who started the invite will be labeled the leader while the other residents that join will be labeled followers. Followers can only assist the leader with tasks such as picking up seashells, fishing, and catching insects. Each player must have their own joy-con controller.
Use the Dodo Code to Invite Friends
The Dodo Code is a nifty way to invite players who aren’t on your Nintendo Switch friends list—Orville will give you a temporary five-character code to share with other players—no strings attached.
Using this feature for the first time will also unlock the Best Friends List on your Nook Phone (more on that below).
Players who visit your island with a Dodo Code won’t be able to cut down your trees or take anything off the island (except fruit that drops from the fruit trees).
When you’re finished playing, ask Orville to close the gate and the players will be asked to leave the island.
How to Connect With Friends Using Nintendo Online
Choosing Online Play when visiting the airport lets you connect to anyone who plays Animal Crossing: New Horizons as long as you both have a Nintendo Online subscription and access to the internet.
At the airport, tell Orville that you’d like to play online, and when asked who you want to invite, select “All My Friends!”
Orville will save your game and open the gates. Your Nintendo Switch friends can join your island by following similar prompts in their game’s airport.
Using the Best Friends List
When interacting with other online players, you can choose to add them to the Best Friends List in your Nook Phone. Players labeled as a best friend can use any tool on your island (you’ve been warned).
Once they’ve accepted your friend request, you can message them using the in-game keyboard and invite them whenever they’re online. And, if you have several people in your Best Friends List, you can invite them all as a group—this makes inviting a large party to your island incredibly easy.
Using Postal Services at Dodo Airlines
Mail between villagers in the Animal Crossing franchise has always been a big deal, and now you can send customized mail to the people on your friends list.
When first visiting the Dodo airport, Orville will fill you in on the postal services he offers. Off to his right, you’ll see a rack of envelopes that you can send to friends for 200 Bells.
You can also attach presents. Certain cards that correspond to specific events or seasons are available for a limited time.
Whether you want to play with friends in the comfort of your home or if you want to swing open the gates and open your island to the public, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has got you covered.