Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

Advanced Time Travel Details in ACNH

Animal Crossing New Horizons allows time travel as a game mechanism. You can time travel in the game by setting the clock on your Switch before saving and restarting the game. Many players first assume that time traveling is “cheating.” However, the game is designed with time travel in mind. The creators do not discourage it and say they expect players to time travel. Many tasks in the game would take years to complete without time travel.

There are only a handful of negative consequences of time travel in ACNH. Time traveling after buying turnips is especially dangerous, but there can also be minor problems with weeds, flower watering, star fragments, and cockroaches. There are no other bad outcomes that result from time travel.

When you travel forward in time, the game acts like you put your console down and didn't play at all for that time. When you travel backwards in time your entire island time travels with you. The game acts like the clock had been set wrong.

The chart below details how the game behaves when traveling both forward and backward. Unless otherwise stated, this chart assumes that you time travel by one day. A new day starts at 5:00 AM, so crossing that boundary even by a few minutes would be considered traveling one day.

Forward Backward
Flowers, weeds, and trees grow Yes, and if you travel forward more than a week there will be tons of weeds No, and any flower watering is canceled
Rocks filled with new ore Yes One rock will be be a new money rock, the other rocks are not replenished
Trees get more wood, wasps, furniture, and coins Yes No
Announcements from Isabelle Yes No
New mail from an island resident Yes No
Villagers contribute towards unfunded construction projects Yes Untested
Paid construction projects completed Yes Untested
Empty house plot reserved for random villager Yes Yes
Progress for villagers moving in and out Yes Untested
Bank account interest Only if you travel forward to a new month, capped at 9,999 bells. No
Star fragments on beach if you wished on shooting stars Only if you time travel no further than the next morning, otherwise they are lost. No, they are lost
New island vendor or visitor (KK, CJ, Redd, Sahara, etc) Yes Yes, if you limit yourself to time traveling one day at a time, it will be the same vendor that had been there on that day previously.
Ordered Nook catalog items delivered via mail Yes Delayed until the next day
Items from Gulliver, Flick, and CJ delivered via mail Yes Delayed until the next day
Items from Redd delivered via mail Yes Yes
New recipe bottle on beach Yes Yes
Talk to villagers more and give them another present Yes Yes
New villager crafting Yes, only need to travel 3 hours Yes
Bugs, fish and sea creatures change to those available at the new time Yes Yes
Seasons change as appropriate for the new date Yes Yes
Special events start or end (bug offs, birthdays, holidays, meteor showers, etc) Yes Yes
Turnips spoil Only if you travel forward past Saturday Yes, even if you only go backwards a few minutes.
You get bedhead and cockroaches Only if you travel forward more than a month No
Villagers may decide to move out without talking to you about it No No

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