In every iteration of Animal Crossing, there has always been some form of rating system in place to judge how well players organize and take care of their towns. These evaluations have become increasingly more complicated with each entry - and New Horizons is no different.
Whether you're working towards a "Perfect Town", a "5-Star Island" rating or you simply want to grow Lily of the Valley (the rarest flower in Animal Crossing), it's a necessary achievement in order to progress in all of the games - and our tips below will help you crack the code on the most recent challenge.
Guide to getting a 5-star island rating in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
What is the Island Evaluation?
The Island Evaluation in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a system put in place by Isabelle at Resident Services after six homes are built on your island. Your island will be consistently scored on a scale from one to five stars (with five being the highest rating), based on an unseen criteria of how well you are developing your deserted destination.
How do you improve your island rating to 5 stars?
Having consulted official sources, we can confirm that your island is given points according to two criteria: Development and Scenery. The score is based on a number of criteria including plant life, furniture placement around the island, and other factors.
A score of at least 665 in the Development category and 450 in the Scenery category is required to achieve a 5-star island rating. Much of the scoring is based on a system which divides your island into 8x8 grids.
You get Scenery Points for the following trees and pieces of DIY furniture placed around your island:
- 1 point for every tree (including bamboo) on your island, up to a maximum of 190 points
- 0.5 points for every Flower sprout
- 0.7 points for every Flower stem
- 0.7. points for every Flower bud
- 1 point for every Full-grown Flower
- 1 point for each unique piece of DIY furniture within each 8x8 grid (3x1, 3x2 or 3x3 titles in size)
- 0.25 points x the number of DIY furniture items and 0.75x the number of different types of DIY furniture placed within each 8x8 grid (if 10+ different types of furniture are placed)
- 0.25 points x the number of DIY furniture items placed within each 8x8 grid (if between 1-9 different types of furniture are placed)
You get Development Points for the following non-crafted furniture placed around your island:
- 0.5 points x number of outdoor furniture
- 1 point for each piece of furniture that costs between 200-20,000 Bells
- 2 points for each piece of furniture that costs over 20,000 Bells
- 0.2 points for every fence placed
- 1 point for every piece of non-DIY furniture pieces placed within each 8x8 grid (if less than 5 different types of furniture are placed)
- 0.5 points x the number of non-DIY furniture pieces and 0.5 points x the number of different types of furniture placed within each 8x8 grid (if between 5-10 different types of furniture are placed)
- 0.25 points x the number of non-DIY furniture pieces and 0.75 points x the number of different types of furniture placed within each 8x8 grid (if 10+ different types of furniture are placed)
Other unconfirmed possible conditions include:
- Must have unlocked terraforming app and initial K.K. Slider concert
- Must have Able Sisters' shop and upgraded Nook's Cranny
- Must keep island clean by clearing all sticks and weeds each day
What will bring down your island rating?
- If 45 or more of the 64 spaces in every 8x8 grid is occupied, Isabelle will classify that block as 'cluttered', so don't go mad!
- More than 15 items non-furniture items (so tools, bags of medicine and the like) dropped--not placed--on the ground anywhere on your island will result in a 'messy classification from Isabelle. Naturally occurring detritus branches and shells don't count, but keep your man-made items packed away
- You must have the maximum number of villagers living on island (10 NPCs; does not include playable characters)
Remember, Isabelle - as always - is happy to help. Each time you check in with her at Resident Services, Isabelle will provide updates and hints on improvements to be made - such as "adding fencing" or "purchasing items with Nook Miles".
Your rating from Isabelle is also updated in real time, immediately after all changes are made, so be sure to check in with her often! Follow her lead, and you'll have a perfect island in no time.
What happens when you achieve a 5-star island rating?
We'll be honest - we put a lot of time and effort into achieving our 5-star island rating... and were really hoping for a bit more of a reward.
While it's not nothing, there are really only a few things players can expect to receive after achieving a "perfect island":
- A recipe from Isabelle for a Golden Watering Can (and yes, this one breaks too... which really makes no sense)
- Lily of the Valley flowers will begin blooming around the cliffs on your island (for us, it began the very next day, at a rate of about one per day - as long as you keep up your score)
- Bragging rights on the interwebs
The 5-star island rating achievement in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is honestly one of those things many of us will strive for out of pure completionism and obsession, rather than for any significant reward.
However, we'd much rather be rated on our imaginary island development efforts than our real-world skills any day, so we'll do whatever Isabelle says - and do it with a smile!
Have you achieved a 5-star island rating in New Horizons? How long did it take you to create a perfect island? Any tips for others looking to do the same? Let us know in the comments below.
This article is part of our Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough, which includes a Complete Fish List, Complete Bug List and Complete Sea Creatures List. If you're looking for specific fish or bug, we can tell you how to catch the elusive Coelacanth, Mahi-Mahi, Giant Trevally, Stringfish, Golden Trout and all the Sharks and Beetles, along with a full list of Critters leaving at the end of the month. We've also compiled a Complete Villager List and a Complete List of K.K. Slider Songs, as well as the Best Custom Design Codes and Islands we've found so far, and the best islands to visit using Dream Address Codes.
We can also help with How to Spot Redd's Fake Paintings and Statues, How to Make Bells Fast, How to Breed Flowers, How to Get more DIY Recipes, How to Upgrade Nook's Cranny, where and when to find special characters like Gulliver, Sable, Label, Wisp, Celeste, Pirate Gulliver and Jack, plus tips on using the Star Wand, Tool Ring, Rock Trick, Cutting Down and Moving Trees, using amiibo on Harv's Island, How to Back Up Your Island Data, How to Time Travel, How to Get a 5-Star Island Rating and a whole lot more.
And finally Where to Buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch if for some reason you haven't yet picked up the game.