While there’s no real point at which you “win” Animal Crossing, per se, there is one achievement that most approximates beating the game: achieving a 5-star island rating. But we’re not going to lie — the leap from four to five stars is a big one, and it can feel impossible until you get there since the feedback Isabelle gives is hopelessly vague. But we’ve been to the mountaintop and can tell you what it takes. Here’s how to get 5 stars on Animal Crossing.

Want to know how to get 5 stars on ‘Animal Crossing’? Prepare to grind.

If you’ve got a minimalist aesthetic, you’ll probably feel like you’ve made your island an absolute paradise and still find yourself with only three or four stars. Unfortunately for folks who like wide-open spaces, the game’s algorithms aren’t into it at all. A five-star island requires quite a few trees, flowers, fences, and outdoor furnishings to qualify for the highest rating.

Source: Nintendo

Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with having only three or four stars. When you hit three, you get regular weekend concerts from K.K. Slider, which is pretty cool, and then you get nothing for four stars, which honestly is a bummer and makes the climb to five all the more arduous, if you ask us. For five stars, you get rewarded with the DIY recipe for a golden watering can (more on that later), and lilies of the valley will start to grow on your cliffs. But the biggest prize is the pride you’ll feel.

Here’s a rough breakdown of components for a 5-star island.

While it’s tough to nail down precise numbers, internet sleuths have determined what elements factor into your island rating and a general range for what qualifies for five stars. 

Source: Nintendo

Villagers: You have to have reached maximum capacity for non-player villagers, meaning you must have ten non-player villagers (though some have reported achieving 5 stars with 9).

Trees: You can have too many trees on your island, so if you’re thinking of making yours into a dense forest, that’s not the move. You’ll want at least 110 trees, and variety matters. Try to obtain a good amount of each kind of fruit tree, and also incorporate a modest amount of bamboo, hardwood, and cedar trees. It also appears shrubs count toward your tree count.

Flowers: You’ll want a decent variety and quantity of flowers. While you don’t need to have every breed, it helps, and having several hybrid colors will also factor. You should have at least 250 flowers in bloom to achieve five stars, according to Polygon and our own observations.

Fencing: While there’s no clear indicator of how much fencing you need on your island, it seems like around 50 units is a minimum. Basically, you’ll want to provide fences around most of your buildings and houses, and other enclosed areas for gardens, parks, and the like also help. A variety of fencing types is not required but doesn’t hurt. 

Source: Nintendo

Furniture and decor: Isabelle will vaguely tell you to decorate every area of the island, and she’s not kidding. It’s not just about how many items of decor you have but that it is well distributed and that there is a mixture of items you’ve purchased, redeemed with Nook Miles, and crafted yourself. You should aim for at least 20 Nook Miles pieces, 40 pieces that can be purchased through the Nook Stop catalog, and 50 DIY items.

Also, be sure you’re decorating your cliffs and even the rock formations along the shore. You can’t just pile it all into the center of your island.

Infrastructure: While you don’t necessarily have to construct paths on your island, we recommend it, both aesthetically and to encourage visitors not to trample your flowers. It’s just not clear yet whether paths factor into your rating. What definitely does, however, is accessibility. You have to ensure all areas of your island are accessible without vaulting or using a ladder, which means you need a sufficient number of bridges and inclines, probably at least four bridges and four inclines, depending on your island layout.

Source: Nintendo

Cleanliness: You also need to keep the island free of debris, which means clearing out weeds and tree branches from the ground, as well as any small items like wood, rocks, and clay, that you might have dropped when your pockets are full.

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