Animal Crossing: Everything We Know About Balloon Presents

Animal Crossing: New Horizons never has a tedious moment and that's due to the game's relaxing pace and fun events. Another mechanic that keeps the experience fresh and players on their toes is the balloon present. Every so often, balloon presents will temptingly float across the island and players have the chance to shoot them out of the sky with slingshots.

Successfully shooting down presents can award Bells, resources, clothing, DIY recipes or furniture. This mystery element makes it exciting to chase down balloon presents, as the boxes could contain furniture or clothing players don't have. However, it can be hard to predict when and where the balloons come floating along and there's nothing more painful than seeing a present glide away, out into the ocean. Luckily enough, there is an actual pattern to their colors, arrival times and destinations.

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Island Maintenance

Before cracking the code behind those floating balloons, players will need to follow some general tips. Always carry an extra slingshot in case the current one breaks, as it wastes precious time having to chop hardwood to craft an extra. Also make sure the island is weeded, because players have reported presents phasing through the ground when there isn't enough space -- the same goes for areas where flowers are planted next to each other.

Presents can also be lost if shot over a fountain, river or ocean, so be careful when wielding the sling. Players do receive Nook Mileage with their first lost present, but that doesn't take away the sting.

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The most important part of finding balloons is knowing when they arrive. Balloon presents first appear on a player's island when the time ends in a 0 or 5 (they spawn a minute before these times, over the ocean) and take about three minutes to fly their course. If players still aren't sure, look at the top right of the screen to where a blue, dotted circle blinks. Every time a balloon arrives, that blue circle appears and every time the ballon disappears, the blue circle appears again. Don't walk into a house or shop during this time because the game reloads and de-spawns the balloon.

The second most important part is pinpointing the origin of these mysterious balloons. Though their locations do seem random, there is a pattern to the madness. Balloon presents actually drift from the same side of the island at different times. During the day, from 5 a.m. to 6:59 p.m., balloons spawn on the right side of the island and float left. During the night, from 7 p.m. to 4:59 a.m., balloons spawn on the left side of the island and float right. With this information, players can stand at the beach of the correct side at the right time to look for the outline of balloon presents.

If players miss the cues or don't make it to the beach on time, they can still search the island. Depending on the time of day, they'll know which side the balloons will drift towards, so they can set up their search accordingly. Tilt the R stick back to periodically check the sky or look for the balloon present's shadow on the ground. Turn the volume up, because the balloon makes a whistling noise -- the louder the sound, the closer the balloon is.

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Balloons commonly come in four different colors with two special variants: red, yellow, green, blue, gold and rainbow striped. While balloon color isn't a surefire way to determine what it holds, certain colors have a higher chance of dropping specific items. Red balloon presents can carry seasonal DIY recipes (such as spring bamboo and cherry blossom) or clothing. Yellow balloon presents can carry Bells in bags of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 30,000 increments. Green balloon presents can carry furniture. Blue balloon presents carry resources such as clay, iron nuggets or -- if players are lucky enough -- a golden nugget.

As for the other two colors, after shooting down 300 presents, players will be graced with a special, golden balloon present. If this present is successfully shot down, players will receive the golden slingshot DIY. Note that this is the only time a golden balloon appears -- but if players miss, it will appear again. The other special balloon variant is the rainbow striped balloon for the dreaded Bunny Day event. These balloons traveled fast and only dropped sky eggs, but these rainbow balloons won't reappear until next Bunny Day.

Balloon presents are a great mechanic to keep players invested in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. If the balloon drops a present that's less than stellar, there's always the next one.

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