In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there are many ways to beautify your island by either installing custom designs in public areas or by adding some wallpaper to your home, but there’s an even more hands-on approach you can take by engaging in some terraforming. By using this endgame mechanic, you can completely overhaul the landscape of your island by reshaping your cliffs and waterways. How do you unlock the topography toggler?
What is terraforming? Terraforming allows you to alter the landscape of your island using the Island Designer app on your Nook Phone. You can put up or tear down cliffs, create paths, alter bodies of water, and so much more. To unlock the feature, you’ll have to essentially beat the game first. To Tom Nook, that means making your island nice enough to host a K.K. Slider concert, and to do that, you’ll need to get your island rating up to three stars.
How to get your island rating to 3 stars in New Horizons
To start, Resident Services has to have been upgraded to a building, and you’ll need a campground. Once that’s done, it’s time to spruce up your island. Remove all the weeds and start planting flowers in their stead. Invite more villagers to live on the island; You’ll have seven residents once you start focusing on island ratings. Try upping that number to at least seven, but ideally, you'll want to get even higher. There are numerous ways to get more villagers on the island. Place at least 25 pieces of furniture or D.I.Y. projects around the island to add some flavor.
There might be some other required changes like reducing the trees on your island or adding more fences. Either way, you can speak with Isabelle at Resident Services and ask her to rate the island. She’ll always be available for quick assessments and to offer tips on how to improve it.
How to unlock the Island Designer App in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
After getting your island rating up to three stars, this prompts K.K. Slider to perform a very special concert just for your community. After the concert, Tom Nook will speak to you and unlock the Island Designer App on your Nook Phone.
How to terraform in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Using the Island Designer app is your gateway to improving your island. The default app introduces some basic terraforming, but to fiddle around with more advanced terraforming techniques involving cliffs and bodies of water, you’ll need to purchase permits from the Nook Stop, which cost 6000 Nook Miles each. After that, you’ll have the whole island as your malleable oyster. You can activate the app, put on a hardhat, and get to work with a special shovel that allows you to edit single blocks of your island with each swing.
In addition to terraforming, the Island Designer app allows you to perform other design tweaks to your island. You can finally add defined paths to your island. Grass and dirt paths will be the only paths available when you start, but more can be purchased from the Nook Stop for 2000 Nook Miles per path design. If you feel that’s a little pricey (it is), you can instead use custom path designs for free. That’s the extra layer of polish your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island needs.