Splish splash

You can now go swimming in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'

Can't have a real pool party because of the coronavirus? Try taking a virtual plunge instead.

There's no knowing when exactly life will go back to normal, if ever, thanks to the coronavirus. But Animal Crossing: New Horizons is doing its best to keep us all entertained. And this time, the cult favorite of millions around the world is presenting a new feature: The ability to swim in beautiful, deep waters.

It's kind of perfect. With summer in full swing, but most public pools closed, virtual pool parties with friends are now a reality, thanks to Nintendo's latest runaway success story. The game has already attracted big names in the world of politics and entertainment, it's being used as a side hustle by those hit by COVID-19-induced economic instability, and fashionistas adore Animal Crossing for its fluid medium and the way it offers a chance to run shows without costing anyone their health.

With its new swimming feature, Animal Crossing: New Horizons just got even better.

The best summer update — Look, the best summer announcement of all would be a vaccine and the reopening of beaches, but we'll accept some off-island paddling as consolation.

The new swimming feature, which goes live on July 3, also gives Animal Crossing enthusiasts the chance to add mermaid-themed furniture to their homes, reimagines Gulliver — the bird that shows up on the shore sometimes — as a grumpy pirate, and gives users a new activity to do with their friends. As you'd expect from Nintendo's cutest recent title, plenty of the aquatic activities and interactions are adorable, and the whole experience of digital diving looks set to be a welcome balm for anyone stressed out by what are, inescapably and undeniably, stressful times.

Just keep swimming.Animal Crossing: New Horizons

New ways to play — In addition to Gulliver becoming a full-on pirate, you will also get to watch Pascal request scallop recipes (because why not) and make your own mermaid dresses. It's a lighthearted addition that will undoubtedly win more fans for what's already an absolute hit for the Nintendo Switch.

Pascal dishing the wisdom.Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Oh look, dinner!Animal Crossing: New Horizons

More updates are coming — To say Animal Crossing: New Horizons is doing well is like saying Donald Trump has handled the pandemic "poorly" — that is, a gross understatement. The game has sold more digital copies in a single month than any other console game in history. So even if you're late to it, it's probably still worth picking up, because Nintendo plans to announce another update in August. What's next? Skydiving? Bowling? Island trampolines. Whatever it is, you can bet it's going to be cute as heck.