Animal Crossing: New Horizons | Controls

Screenshot of reaction use in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Screenshot of reaction use in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

From offering the ability to customise your own island, to the relaxing atmosphere of fishing on a beach, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a highly requested game for us to help people to access this year.

Although the game does not have accessibility settings for us to describe, its slower pace could enable a range of players to access it. It does still require quite a lot of the controller inputs to be able to play, so we have compiled a list of the main game controls below for reference, dividing them into the different parts of the controller for the general controls, and we have also listed how these are used when swimming.

Please note that new seasonal updates may add extra features not covered below.


Left Stick & A (Bug Net held) = Slow Walk- used to slowly walk towards bugs

Left Stick = Move your character and navigate menus

Left Stick & B = Run

Right Stick = Move up and down to control the Camera. Enables you to look up at Balloons

Screenshot of player sneaking up to catch a bug in the game.
Bug Catching

Main Buttons

The Main Buttons, A, B, X, and Y are essential to gameplay as they open the main Pocket Menu and enable you to fish, collect items, shake trees, and shoot down balloons to name but a few. The Plus and Minus buttons are required to save the game, to occasionally confirm purchases or open Nook Miles + (when unlocked). They are less used but very important buttons for gameplay.

X = Pocket Menu

Y = Pick up/Rearrange Items in Options Menu

A = Select/ Action/Use Held Item

B = Cancel

Y = Rearrange Items in Options Menu

+ = Open Nook Miles +/Purchase (in store)/Confirm (when selling/donating items)

= Save Game

Screenshot of the Pocket Menu in the game.
Pocket Menu

Shoulder Buttons

The main use for the Shoulder Buttons for most players is to open the Nook Phone. If you are talking with friends in game, the messages option opens an on-screen keyboard where you can type to chat to friends either with the touchscreen or use the Left Joystick and confirm with A.

R = Opens Messages

L = Photo Filter

ZL = Opens Nook Phone

ZR = Opens Reactions Wheel

Screenshot of the reactions wheel menu.
Reactions Wheel Menu

Directional/ D-pad

The D-pad is mainly used to navigate menus within the game and access items quickly. Within your home, the D-pad also enables you to access your storage, open a top-down view to rearrange furniture and change the lighting of the room.

Up = Y Ring/Navigate Menus (within the home, it will change lighting)

Down = Cancel/Away/Navigate Menus (within the home, it will enable you to rearrange furniture)

Left = Swap Held Item/Navigate Menus

Right = Swap Held Item/Navigate Menus (within the home, it will open storage)

Screenshot of the Y-Ring Menu.
Y-Ring Menu


With the Summer update, the sea has been opened for exploring. Wear your favourite swimsuit and go diving for new creatures. There’s an ocean out there to explore, and you can explore it more quickly by pressing A to swim faster. You can even dive for treasure, and by treasure, we mean sea creatures to house in your Museum.

Left Stick = Swim slowly.

Right Stick = Controls the Camera.

X = Main Menu

Y = Dive

A = To enter Sea/Swim faster/Select

B = Cancel

Screenshot of player having caught a Sea Star when diving.
Diving for Sea Creatures

We hope that listing these controls has been useful for reference. If you have any questions, please visit the ‘Contact Us’ page.

Developer Resource:

SpecialEffect DevKit logo

For more video examples of how developers have improved the motor accessibility of their games, please visit