(Pocket-lint) - Animal Crossing will be available for Nintendo Switch soon, with the latest in the series being the first for the current console.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons will introduce several new features to the series and there will even be a stunning special edition Nintendo Switch available from launch day.

So, as well as read our in-depth hands-on with the game here, we also present you with a fun and friendly guide to the game below, including where you can buy the themed console and more.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons release date

Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be available worldwide from Friday 20 March 2020. You will be able to buy it from multiple retailers, with some accepting pre-orders.

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Alternatively, it will also be available on the Nintendo eShop with the ability to pre-order it now. Your Switch or Switch Lite will download the entire game on purchase (if you have enough storage space) so you can play it immediately as soon as it unlocks on release day.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch bundle unboxing

Nintendo is releasing a special edition Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch to coincide with the game's launch. It is already out now in the US, and will arrive in the UK from 20 March 2020.

As well as a copy of the game, the Switch is styled around the world of Animal Crossing, with a leaf print on the rear of the device and exclusive pastel green and blue Joy-Cons.

Our favourite part is perhaps the dock, which is one of very few that are also themed.

We're hoping to go hands-on with the official special edition version ourselves soon, but in the meantime Nintendo has created its own unboxing of the console.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons new features

Anyone who has played an Animal Crossing game before, from the 2001 original up to the most recent New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS, will be wondering what new features to expect on the first Switch outing.

In February, Nintendo itself dedicated a 25 minute Direct Presentation video to the game, with a deep dive into many of the features the game will have to offer. You can watch it below and we've listed a few ourselves.

New location

The first big change over previous Animal Crossings is the new location - a desert island getaway organised by Tom Nook's holiday company.

You can either settle in the northern or southern hemispheres, with the four seasons reflecting your choice. You also get a the initial option of different island plans (maps), to give you topography that suits your style best.

Once chosen, however, you and everyone else playing on that Switch system will be locked to that island.

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Seasons

The seasons will change depending on your initial choice of northern or southern hemisphere, but will also mostly ape your own real-life season. For example, if you choose the northern hemisphere, you will notice that you start in the spring if you purchase the game on release day.

Each season has its own look, items and challenges.

Crafting

The crafting system is much more expansive that ever before. While you will still be able to buy items and furniture, you will also be able to craft a vast number of them using a DIY workbench.

Nook Miles

Nook Miles can be earned through just about everything you do on the island, including performing specific objectives on a daily basis and then traded for special items and recipes for crafting.

Nook Miles Tickets will also be available for purchase to visit other deserted islands that might have more of the resources you most need.

Camera controls

As well as the traditional Animal Crossing 3D view, you will be able to choose a more top-down style camera angle that is similar to the one on the GameCube many years ago.

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Multiplayer and cloud saves

Sadly, Nintendo confirmed that there is no cloud save functionality with New Horizons. That means you cannot continue your progress on a separate Nintendo Switch and once you choose your island on that device, you are locked to it.

Nintendo does state, however, that if your Switch breaks or is lost, there will be a service offered to recover your data.

By not offering cloud saves, it also means that other members of your family will have to play on that island too, although up to eight people can share an island at a time with one resident per profile.

And, as the game supports local multiplayer, you can play together using a Joy-Con each. You can also visit friends' islands online, although the functionality will be limited in order to prevent you ruining their builds.

Amiibo

New Horizons supports Amiibo figures and cards.

Nook Link

You can link your game to your real-world phone through the Nintendo Switch Online app, in order to scan in QR codes generated in New Leaf or Happy Home Designer and use some of your patterns and designs from either of those 3DS games.

Alternatively, you can use your phone's touchscreen to chat with friends on the island, instead of the in-game pop-up keyboard.

There will plenty of other new features we discover while playing the game for review over the coming weeks. We'll bring you more then.

You can also see more features and gameplay clips in the Nintendo Direct video above. Enjoy.

Writing by Rik Henderson.