The update is available to download digitally via the Nintendo eShop or through selecting "Update data" on the title screen. It is also being sold as part of a physical bundle with the new Animal Crossing amiibo update.
Villagers can be brought into the player's town by summoning Wisp, a returning special character from the series. He will then prompt the player to scan a character's amiibo. Once summoned, the player can select "Come and play!" and the villager will set up a mobile home in the new campground which is located on the eastern or western cliffs of town (depending on town orientation). The campground is managed by a new special character, Harvey. At that point, the player can invite the villager to live in their town.
Alongside this, 50 villagers from Animal Crossing and Animal Forest e+ who were absent in New Leaf and other games also return to the series with the update. On November 11, 2016, 50 new amiibo cards were released, featuring the returning villagers.
Other amiibo are also compatible, and scanning them will bring exclusive characters and items. Scanning a Splatoon amiibo will bring Inkwell the octopus, who resembles a squid from the Splatoon franchise. Scanning a Callie or Marie amiibo will bring two squirrel villagers, Cece and Viché, who are references to Callie and Marie, alongside a series of Splatoon-themed furniture and clothing items. Amiibo from the Legend of Zelda series have also been confirmed to work and showcase new villagers; W. Link, Medli, Ganon, and Epona, also with new clothing and furniture. Scanning a Japanese-exclusive amiibo from the Monster Hunter series will bring Felyne the cat, who previously appeared as SpotPass DLC for Happy Home Designer. Scanning the Super Smash Bros. Villager amiibo will be too powerful for Wisp and he will go to the campground and have his own RV.
The new villager Holden is unique to Japan. Holden is the result of collaboration between the Fueki company, and arrives in an RV with his own exclusive furniture and clothing. However, he cannot move into town. Filly also appears as Japan DLC, containing furniture and items from the 7-11 set. Like Holden, Filly cannot move into town.
With the amiibo camera, players are able to place villagers into photographs they take with their console's camera.
The update includes two new minigames, Animal Crossing Puzzle League and Desert Island Escape. These can be played by obtaining the Nintendo 3DS XL/New Nintendo 3DS XL furniture to play Animal Crossing Puzzle League, or the Wii U furniture to play Desert Island Escape.
The update also includes new items, including several pieces originally introduced in Happy Home Designer. The player can connect with their Happy Home Designer data if they own the game, which unlocks "giant" furniture. These new giant items are orderable through the catalog. Some other items once unorderable can now be ordered from the catalog, such as sprinklers and lawn mowers.
When a villager or special character moves into a mobile home, the player can order items found inside from a special catalog. Harvey will also showcase exclusive furniture in the campground which are found only in Happy Home Designer. These items are purchased with MEOW Coupons, a new currency that is received by completing town initiatives offered by the CAT Machine.
A secret storeroom can now be purchased from Nook's Homes. This new feature provides a large amount of additional storage space which can be accessed from any room in your house. After a secret storeroom has been purchased, furniture can be arranged using the touch screen as seen in Happy Home Designer.
New Fortune Cookies
Several new Fortune Cookie items have been added in this update:
- No.51- Wii U console
- No.52- Wii U console (Black)
- No.53- Chihuahua Ornament
- No.54- Dalmatian Ornament
- No.55- Dachshund Ornament
- No.56- Labrador Ornament
- No.57- New Nintendo 3DS
Screenshots can now be shared to Facebook and Twitter directly from a dedicated button on the touch screen. The TPC menu has been divided into two tabs; one tab displaying town initiatives, and the other displaying the TPC. However, this will only work if your system's date matches with the normal date.
Small changes to the way the player interacts have been made.
- Players and villagers can sit on rocks.
- Players can shake trees while holding a watering can, fishing rod, net, slingshot, and megaphone.
- Players can interact with items in front of them while sitting down.
- Players can perform a short dance when interacting with the campfire.
- Players will pose in a fighting stance when interacting with a judge's bell.
- Beans that are thrown on the ground in the campground or Main Street will now attract nearby birds.
- Villagers will now sit down on chairs during a K.K. Slider performance, as opposed to standing up.
- Existing dream addresses are not compatible with the update. A new address must be generated at the Dream Suite to share a dream town, and addresses now contain letters in addition to numbers.
- Villagers will now move out up to ten days after announcing to the player that they are leaving town, instead of the previous five day period.
- Scanning a villager's amiibo will bypass the previous sixteen villager cycle, where if a villager moved out the player would have to go through sixteen villagers before that villager could move into the town again.
- The filter used on custom designs is no longer used on designs placed on the ground, but is now used on designs used as wallpaper.
- Using a Mii Mask now changes the player's skin tone to match.
- Fertilizer can now revive dead Perfect Fruit trees. Leif will mail a free sample to the player.
- Cyrus will wave at the player when retrieving an item that has been customized at Re-Tail.
- When opting to rebuild a town, the player can now sell the town to Tom Nook for a large amount of bells that can be transferred to help create a new town. The player's catalog can optionally be sold for additional funds, or transferred to the new town.
- The lights of the Happy Home Showcase sign are now a cold white light, instead of a warm white light; this has the unintended effect of blocking out the writing of the sign when the lights are on.
- Several glitches were removed from the game, such as several no-clip glitches (slow walk net glitch, mask trip glitch, tweeter push glitch, etc.).
- Timmy and Tommy no longer ask if you know how to use wrapping paper when buying it, instead asking them yourself is set as a dialogue option.
- You can now stack fruit while using storage.
- Villagers no longer get sick and require medicine to heal.
- When sailing across the sea to reach the Club Tortimer island, a rulebook for use of the Club Tortimer island is displayed on the bottom screen. Rules include not requesting friend codes.
- A button is added to the touch screen when on the island that allows the player to quickly return back to their town, eliminating the risk of being trapped by an open tour.
- There is now a way to get the beans without using StreetPass. When Harvey is feeding the birds in the Campground, continually talking to him (selecting the "Hey, Harv!" dialogue option) will result in him giving you some beans.