Like previous games, your town rating will depend on several factors – from cleanliness to attractive designs – and exterior set pieces will be more important than ever thanks to the customization that New Horizons brings. Read on below to see each way you can be graded, and how we obtained a perfect 5 star island rating.
How to Unlock Island Evaluations
You won’t be able to immediately shoot for making your island a perfect haven, as the tools to evaluate your town aren’t available at the start. Much of your town’s features and tools are locked behind progression gates, and island evals are no exceptions:
- Help out Tom Nook in building your island’s appeal by constructing Nook’s Cranny, building your first bridge, and furnishing homes for three incoming villagers. Make sure the resident representative of the island talks to Tom Nook to initiate all of these projects.
- Once the Resident Services has upgraded to a building with a real town square, assist Tom Nook in trying to entice K.K. Slider to visit your island by building a campground, and then inviting the visiting villager to join your town.
- Once you are able to reserve a plot for the incoming villager, Tom Nook will notify you that the next stage of his plan involves you building up the island’s image – which Isabelle will oversee with Island Eval ratings that can be viewed by speaking to her.
Increasing Your Island Rating – Breakdown
While the exact metrics for what will tip you over the edge from a 3 or 4 star rating to a 5 star rating are still being worked out, Isabelle will tell you what some of the most important features that every island paradise should have. These include:
You’ll get a bit of wiggle room with some of these features – like having a few weeds on your island, or having just 9 villagers – but for the most part you’ll want to be sure you’re adhering to Isabelle‘s tips on what will make your island better.
No two players will likely have the same island layout, nor will they decorate their island the same way – so feel free to customize your island the way you see fit (within reason). You also don’t have to pursue a 5 star rating if you don’t want to – or continue to keep the rating once you’ve earned the rewards, just remember that your island vision may clash with what the game wants you to display to increase your rating.
From our tests, we were able to get a perfect 5 star rating on our own island with the following breakdown (note the totals may differ for your own island!):
|Furniture (with size dimensions)|
|Type||# of Bought or Obtained Items||# of Crafted Items||Total|
|Trees||Hardwood / Fruit||Palm||Total|
|Flowers||Basic Colors||Hybrid Colors||Total|
|Basic Colors – 291||Hybrid Colors – 52||343|
This was also done with only 9 villagers (and 1 empty plot) currently residing on the island, an Able Sisters Shop, Museum Building, and upgraded Nook’s Cranny. In addition, there were 1-3 weeds present on the island at the time of the rating.
Since every island is built out differently, there’s no one way to achieve a perfect rating – but these tips can help you if you’re unsure of what to do next:
- Natural is only good to a point. Your town rating favors placing items down instead of natural forested areas, so if you’re feeling like you have nowhere to expand, you may want to consider leveling some trees to make room for items to place down. Try using trees to border a plaza or line a path while placing other items nearby – and make sure you leave space around them if you need to collect wood or shake the trees.
- Flowers tend to run rampant on the cliffs of your island, but you may find it easier to keep track of things by fencing in quadrants so you know where all your flowers are – and if you need to plant more. Fencing can limit how many new flowers can appear around the parents, but at least it looks nice and will help out your rating.
- Give your villagers their own yards! Tom Nook gives you a clue when you’re tasked with furnishing new villager homes – placing items around a home can go a long way towards increasing you ratings – so try and fence off areas to the side, behind, or in front of your villager homes, and place flowers and items to give them more personality.
- Redeem those Nook Miles items. It’s a good bet that the bigger items you place, the more they’ll help increase your island rating, and Tom Nook sells lots of big items like a Lighthouse or Monster that can be placed pretty much anywhere to help you out.
- Create plazas as centerpieces for your town’s different areas by putting down different tiles using the Island Designer. You can border them with different kinds of fencing, and then create different themes like fountains and benches, games and toys, or rest areas.
- Make use of all the DIY recipes you receive to create themed areas crammed with furniture – like a wooden log campsite full of tables, chairs, and stumps and campfire supplies, or seasonal bamboo zen gardens – as items from a set often go well together.
- Don’t ignore your beaches – place beach chairs and blankets, or volleyball areas, and even crafted items from shells.
- Check out your island map, and try to make sure each quadrant of your island has at least a few items, fencing, or flowers placed. Even the rocky shores can be a good spot for zen baths, lighthouses, or stone furniture.
- The terraforming you can do with the Island Designer App can be very enticing, but take care not to go overboard. Too many giant rivers or lakes can take away from real estate that could have been filled with furniture – but you can space out waterfalls with patches of land to place torches or other items.
- Don’t forget about excess museum donations – a whole T-Rex skeleton takes up a lot of space and will look great in front of your museum, and will likely boost your rating by a good amount!
- Don’t just leave turnips lying out in the sun – bury them and fence the area off – or stash them in a vacant room in your house.
- If you feel like you’re island has too many trees, remember to chop down money trees after you’ve harvested bells – otherwise you’re going to be planting one tree a day, and it can overwhelm you if you’re not paying attention.
- Even if you’re not feeling creative – don’t give up! Visit a friends town or look on social media to get ideas for how other people built their town and placed items – as it can give you ideas with what to do in your empty spaces.
- Trade items and recipes with friend to expand your catalog, and you’ll have more to work with when trying to decorate every part of your island. Just the act of picking up an item another player has dropped will mark it in your catalog, allowing you to buy.
Your efforts to get the best possible island eval rating won’t go unrewarded. Keep checking back with Isabelle as you grow your island out until you get the fabled 5-star rank, and she’ll have a reward waiting for you:
You’ll gain access to a DIY recipe for the Golden Watering Can. This is the only golden tool that can be obtained via this method, and unlike other tools, it has one very important property: It can be used to water Black Roses for a chance that the parent flowers may spawn special Golden Roses – which cannot be obtained any other way.
Each day your island continues to have a 5 Star Rating, you can also check around your island to see if a special flower is growing. It’s called a Lily of the Valley, and it only grows along the cliffsides of your town. It can be replanted, but it cannot be bred, and will only grow on island with a 5 star rating!