When you first start the game, you will be on a train with Rover the Cat. The things you do next will determine your character's eye shape and the layout of your town. This page explains all the steps.
The Start Screen
If you haven't created a town yet, you have two options in the start screen: 'New Save File' and 'Move In'. If you choose 'New Save File', you will start the game on a train with Rover. 'Move In' lets you move a character in from a different town.
If you have already created a town, you can choose 'New Resident' to move a new character into town.
Talk to Rover
First, Rover will ask if the time and date are correct. Then he asks your name. Next, he compliments your name, and you have a few options. You can choose "Oops, I misspoke!" if you want to change your name. The other options determine your character's gender:
Cool or Cute
If you say you think the name is 'cool', Rover will say that it's a masculine name. If you want a girl character, you have to choose 'I'm not a boy!'. Similarly, if you choose 'cute', Rover will say it's a feminine name. If you want a boy character, you have to choose 'I'm not a girl!'
Naming and Seeing Your Town
Rover will ask where you are headed. Your answer will become the name of your town. If you make a mistake, you can choose 'No, no!' after you enter the name.
When you approve of the name, then Rover will show you a map and ask if that is your town. If you say 'Here!', that map becomes the layout of your town, so if you don't like it, say 'Nope!' to make Rover show a different map. He will only show you four maps, so you have to pick one of them. After he shows you the fourth map, he will start over by showing you the first map again.
The beach can either go along the left side or the right side of town. There is always a river going through your town and at least two ponds. The map will also show the locations of the Town Hall, the event square, Re-Tail, and the villager houses.
Rover's next questions determine what your eye shape will be. See the face guide for pictures of the faces that you can get. You can't change your eye shape after your character is created, so choose carefully!
Arriving in your Town
After the train drops you off in the station, if you are the first person to move into the town, you will go outside and find Isabelle and some villagers, who greet you. Isabelle asks some questions that you can answer however you wish. You become the mayor. Isabelle gives you the Town Map and asks you to go to the Town Hall, which will be flashing on the map.
If you are NOT the first person to move into the town, you can't become the mayor; you will just be a resident. In this case, when you arrive in the train station, Porter gives you the Town Map and tells you to go to the Town Hall, which will be flashing on the map.
After you arrive in the Town Hall, talk to Isabelle. She asks you to go north to Main Street and go to Nook's Homes.
Choose Where to Build Your House
You find Tom Nook in Nook's Homes. Talk to him and he will ask if you are ready to choose a place for your house. If you say yes, Tom Nook will follow you around the village. You can walk to any spot, then talk to Tom Nook to see a preview of what your house would look like there. Note: if you choose a place near the ocean, you will be able to hear the waves when you are inside your house.
After choosing a spot for your house, you should go back to the Town Hall and talk to Isabelle.
Check in with Isabelle
Talk to Isabelle in the Town Hall and she will ask if everything is OK. Answer however you wish. Then she will ask you to tell her your birthday. Finally, she will give you your Town Pass Card, or TPC for short.
Plant the Town Tree
After this, if you are the mayor, you and Isabelle will go to the Town Square for the tree planting ceremony. Some of the villagers will be there. You will plant a tree sapling in the middle of the Town Square. You have to press A to plant the sapling!
Save the Game
The game will automatically save now. If you want to save after this, you can do so at any time by pressing START or SELECT.
The Mayor Chair
The mayor chair is behind Isabelle's desk in the town hall, but you won't be able to access it until the day after you become mayor. You might need to wait until 6AM before the mayor chair becomes accessible.
Upgrading from the Tent
Your first residence is a tent. Go inside to get a free lantern from Isabelle. You can upgrade to a house by paying 10,000 bells to Tom Nook. He will ask you to choose a roof color for your house. You have to wait until 6AM for your new house to appear.
After this, the Happy Room Academy will open up in the Nook's Homes shop. The first time you go into your new house, Isabelle will bring you some Pawprint Wallpaper and will add a light switch to your touch screen.
After your house is built, talk to Tom Nook about paying off your house loan. Once you pay off the first house loan (not the tent loan, but the one after that), you can unlock the island by talking to Tortimer on the dock on your beach.
Get Tools and Items from Isabelle
You can get items such as stationery, non-native fruit, and tools such as a bug net, fishing rod, or a watering can, from Isabelle! Just ask her for advice.
The first time you ask Isabelle for advice, she will give you some stationery and recommend that you send a letter. The next time you ask Isabelle for advice, she will say that she can explain more about letters, or give you some new advice.
If you ask for new advice, she will talk about wanting to go to the beach and look for seashells with you. After this, you should go get a seashell from the beach and bring it to Isabelle. She'll give you a basket of non-native fruits in return.
Her next advice depends on whether you're carrying a shovel or not. Isabelle will explain how to plant trees.
If you ask her for more advice, you can tell her whether you are interested in fishing or bug catching. If you say fishing, she will ask you to catch three different types of fish and then show her your encyclopedia. If you say bug catching, she will ask you to catch three different types of bugs and then show her your encyclopedia.
Talk to her again if you don't have fishing rod or bug net and she will sell you one at the standard price of 500 bells.
Once you have caught 3 different types of bugs or 3 different types of fish, go back and show Isabelle. She won't have any more advice for you after that, so she will give you a watering can as a welcoming gift. After that, she'll tell you to take it easy for the rest of the day.
Visiting Other Towns
Before you can visit other towns, you have to take a photo for your Town Pass Card. Just go to the photo booth and take a picture. After that, you can visit other towns or invite other players over by going to the train station.
Earning Mayor Points - Your Approval Rating
On the day after you become the mayor, Isabelle will ask you to perform various duties around town to increase your approval rating. On the day after you create your town, you can find out your rating by sitting in your mayor chair. After reaching a 100% approval rating, you unlock the ability to create public works projects and pass ordinances.
How to increase your Approval Rating and Earn Mayor Points
As the mayor, you can reach your 100% approval rating from Isabelle in the following ways:
- Change the town tune = 3 points (one time only)
- Put something up for sale at Re-tail = 3 points (one time only)
- Change the town flag = 3 points (one time only)
- Post something on the bulletin board next to the station = 3 points (one time only)
- Donate a fish, bug, fossil, or artwork to the museum = 3 points (one time only)
- Pull weeds = 1 point each
- Water flowers = 1 point per day
- Remove trash from the water by fishing = 1 point each
- Introduce yourself to all of your villagers = 1 point each
- Send a letter = 1 point each
- Play each day = up to 3 points each day
After you have reached 100% approval rating and sit in your mayor chair and pay Isabelle, you can build public works projects and pass ordinances. And you can do pretty much whatever you want! Check out the other guides on this site for more information.