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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Amiibo guide - How to invite new villagers

CNET logo CNET 11/9/2021 Kevin Knezevic
Some items in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, such as Sanrio furniture, are only available through Amiibo cards. Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET © Provided by CNET Some items in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, such as Sanrio furniture, are only available through Amiibo cards. Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Animal Crossing: New Horizons' big 2.0 update is here, and it arrives alongside a fifth series of Animal Crossing Amiibo cards. Thanks to the NFC reader in the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con and Pro Controller, these cards can be scanned in the game to invite new villagers to live on your island, set up photoshoots with your favorite characters, and more. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about to raise the cutness level with its Sanrio crossover. © Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about to raise the cutness level with its Sanrio crossover.

There are 48 cards in total in the Series 5 set, including a handful of brand-new villagers who were introduced to the game as part of the 2.0 update. If you've gotten your hands on some of these cards and want to invite the new characters to your island, here's a rundown on how to use Amiibo in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

New Amiibo villagers

As mentioned, New Horizons' 2.0 update has introduced eight brand-new villagers, all of whom are available as Amiibo cards in the Series 5 set. If you manage to get your hands on these cards, you'll be able to invite the characters to live on your island once you've gone through the process detailed below. 

Each pack costs $6 and contains six random cards. Here are all the new villagers in the Series 5 set:

  • Cephalobot (octopus)
  • Ione (squirrel)
  • Marlo (hamster)
  • Petri (mouse)
  • Quinn (eagle)
  • Sasha (rabbit)
  • Shino (deer)
  • Tiansheng (monkey)

Sanrio Amiibo cards

There are other special villagers you can only get through Amiibo cards. New Horizons' March 2021 update introduced several Sanrio-inspired characters who are only obtainable through the Animal Crossing Sanrio Amiibo cards.

There are six cards in total, each of which features a villager (and accompanying items) inspired by a particular Sanrio character. The villagers and the characters they're based on are as follows:

  • Rilla (gorilla) - Hello Kitty
  • Marty (bear cub) - Pompompurin
  • Étoile (sheep) - Kiki & Lala
  • Chai (elephant) - Cinnamoroll
  • Chelsea (deer) - My Melody
  • Toby (rabbit) - Kerokerokeroppi

In addition to inviting the characters to live on your island, you can scan their cards to unlock special Sanrio items. Once you invite the characters to your campsite, you'll be able to order Sanrio-themed items in the game through the Nook Shopping catalog. These include special furniture, wallpapers, clothing, accessories and more.

How to invite new villagers with Amiibo

One of the main things you can do with Animal Crossing Amiibo cards is invite characters to live on your island -- making this the easiest way to get a specific villager to move in (provided you have their card). However, the process is a little involved, and it requires you to first invite the character to your campsite. Here's what to do.

1. Invite to campsite

Access the Nook Stop terminal in your Resident Services building and choose Invite Amiibo camper. After that, the game will prompt you to scan an Amiibo card. Note that if another character is currently occupying your campsite, the game will ask if you want to replace them with the villager you're trying to summon.

2. Visit the character's tent

Once you've invited an Amiibo character to your campsite, you'll need to visit their tent and fulfill a request. Speak to the character and they'll ask for a specific item. Craft whatever it is they're looking for and show it to them.

3. Repeat the process two more times

Although you've fulfilled their request, you can't ask the character to move to your island just yet. You'll need to invite them back to your campsite two more times and fulfill more requests before they decide to move in. 

Since you can only invite a specific character to the campsite once per day, the entire process will take at least three days before they'll finally agree to move in (unless you expedite things by "time traveling" -- a fan term for manually adjusting your Switch's internal calendar to change the in-game date).

4. Invite them to live on your island

The third time you've fulfilled the camper's request, they'll tell you they'd like to move to your island. If you already have 10 villagers -- the maximum number the game allows -- you'll need to select one of your current neighbors to boot before the new character can move in. Your old neighbor will be gone the following day, with the new villager taking up residence in their plot.

Keep in mind that this process only works with villager characters; you cannot invite special characters, such as K.K. Slider, to live on your island, although you can invite them for photoshoots. More on that below.

Other Amiibo uses

Beyond inviting new characters to live on your island, there are a few other things you can do with Amiibo cards and figures in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, including setting up photoshoots. To begin, speak to Orville in the airport and tell him you'd like to fly to Harv's Island. Once there, speak to Harvey to access Photopia, a special building where you can arrange photoshoots with your villagers and Amiibo characters.

You can also use Amiibo cards and figures to invite characters to Brewster's cafe, the Roost, which has been added to the game as part of the big 2.0 update. Using the Amiibo phone in the back corner of the cafe, you can scan Animal Crossing Amiibo cards and figures to invite those characters for a little coffee break.

Alongside Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Series 5 Amiibo cards, Nintendo  has released a paid DLC expansion for the game called Happy Home Paradise. Much like the Happy Home Designer spin-off game for Nintendo 3DS , this expansion lets you take on jobs designing dream vacation homes for villagers. The DLC costs $25 to purchase outright, but everyone who subscribes to the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack plan can access it for no additional cost.

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