This is the ONLY game I played throughout the pandemic and it single-handedly saved my sanity, and you can get it free with a Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch
(Image credit: Future)

Let's start with the obvious, $200 is a pretty standard price for the Nintendo Switch Lite, but the real Tom Nook of this deal is that you're getting Animal Crossing New Horizons for free. During the pandemic, I was sent home with no work and no facility to even work from home for weeks on end, and this game, and the community I met playing it, single-handedly saved my sanity during that time. The best part is that for $199.99 at Walmart you can get a Nintendo Switch Lite Animal Crossing: New Horizons Timmy & Tommy Aloha Edition, which includes the console and the game. This is a great deal, considering that the standard console alone costs $199.99 and this is a special edition. The game normally costs $59.99. Go fast though, as this has already gone out of stock once, and it's temporarily back.

Nintendo Switch™ Lite (Timmy & Tommy’s Aloha Edition) Animal Crossing™: New Horizons Bundle | was $299.99 now $199.99 at Walmart

Nintendo Switch™ Lite (Timmy & Tommy’s Aloha Edition) Animal Crossing™: New Horizons Bundle | <a href="https://goto.walmart.com/c/1943169/565706/9383?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FNintendo-Switch-Lite-Timmy-Tommy-s-Aloha-Edition-Animal-Crossing-New-Horizons-Bundle-Full-Game-Download-Included%2F3162541096%3Fathbdg%3DL2000%26from%3D%2Fsearch" data-link-merchant="walmart.com"">was $299.99 now $199.99 at Walmart

Animal Crossing is the perfect cozy game for adults and children alike, that takes you away from the stress of reality as you build your community on an island of friendly critters, you'll lose hours upon hours trying to collect all of the crafting recipes and catch the rarest fish. There are simply hundreds of hours of content and you can get it right now for free with the Nintendo Switch Lite Aloha Edition.

✅Perfect for: Parents who want to play instead of parenting. Or I guess it would be a great gift for your children too if you are generous.

❌Avoid if: You dislike pure unadulterated and wholesome joy. This is the Mary Poppins of games.

💰Price check: <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fcombo%2Fnintendo-switch-consoles%2Fd305dfce-376a-4376-b164-a159d5a1ef67&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"">$259.98 at Best Buy (not the Aloha Edition)

🔍Hands-on review:
<a href="https://www.imore.com/animal-crossing-new-horizons-review" data-link-merchant="imore.com"" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"">Animal Crossing: New Horizons review at our sister site iMore

Walmart Plus Membership? Not required but you do get extra coverage for your device and a bunch of other perks, read our <a href="https://www.windowscentral.com/hardware/walmart-plus-memberships-explained-benefits-cost-deals-and-more" data-link-merchant="windowscentral.com"" data-link-merchant="imore.com"" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"">Walmart Membership guide for more info.

More great early Black Friday deals

Is Animal Crossing New Horizons worth the hype?

Character sat in a covid mask in Animal Crossing New Horizons

Me sat alone in my Covid mask in Animal Crossing New Horizons (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

In short, yes. The long answer? It’s more than just a game — it’s a cozy and supportive community that helped me cope with the isolation and stress of the pandemic. And you can be a part of it too. Animal Crossing New Horizons is a game where you can create your own island paradise, customize your character, and make friends with adorable animal villagers. You can explore, fish, catch bugs, decorate, craft, and more. There is always something new to discover and enjoy on your island.

But what makes this game so special is the online community that you can join. You can visit other islands online with up to seven friends, or invite strangers from around the world. You can play together, help each other, and exchange gifts. You can also join special events and seasonal activities throughout the year.

This isn't a game I would have ever purchased of my own accord. I’m not a ‘cozy gamer’, I’m a blood, magic, monsters and swords kind of gamer. The pandemic happened though, and after being sent home from work because it was unsafe, and our office at the time not being set up for home working, I was in a difference headspace.

My partner who still got to go to work every day actually bought Animal Crossing New Horizons for himself, and I “gave it a try for an hour.” The game had a simple premise, move to an island, build a home, then build other homes for more inhabitants.

Needless to say that “try for an hour” turned into days, then weeks, then months of actual play time on the game. I went from playing on my own and laughing at my little collectable outfits (including the covid mask pictured above), to meet a whole group of other people on a parenting website who were playing the game. I joined a Whatsapp group, and over the course of the pandemic, our socializing was meeting up on each other’s islands to help complete in-game events, and collect all the craftable furniture.

There’s a lot of ‘collecting’ in Animal Crossing New Horizons, and you can get as deep into it as you choose. Whether it’s collecting all the bugs for your museum, catching the biggest and rarest fish, or trying to find the elusive tarantula island (ok I know I said this wasn’t a horror game, but that particular area is questionable). If you’ve never picked it up before, and even if it’s not your usual kind of game, I guarantee you will be hooked within the first few hours by its charm, whimsy, and odd humor. Just check out this letter I received from one of my animal neighbors.

(Image credit: Jennifer Young)

Getting Animal Crossing New Horizons with a Nintendo Switch Lite (and a special edition Aloha one no less) is an absolutely brilliant deal, it's simply hours upon hours upon days upon months of entertainment, for $199. But go quick, this particular edition is limited to Walmart only and goes out of stock fast.

Even now, absolutely nothing on the ROG Ally or any other of the PC handhelds can beat Nintendo's first-party bangers, but if you are looking for something a bit more mature, be sure to check out our guide to all of the handhelds including ROG Ally.

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.