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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Seren Morgan-Roberts


This page offers a walkthrough of how to use the cliff construction tool in the Island Designer app. You will also find tips on how to create features using cliffs and multiple levels.

How to Use the Cliff-Construction Tool

First things first, you’ll need to buy the cliff-construction permit for 6,000 miles from the Nookstop. To access it, you’ll then need to start up construction through the island designer app. Then, press + to open up the construction menu, at the bottom of the path designs, there is an option to select the Cliff-Construction Permit.

There are a few restrictions to where you can add or remove cliffs and higher levels. Firstly, you cannot place cliffs within one tile of a tree. To place a higher tier of cliff, you must have one tile between the other cliff edge, meaning you cannot have cliffs higher than 1 level tall. You can place a 3rd level of cliffs but your character won’t be able to climb to it, therefore it will be a purely aesthetic cliff. You can have absolutely no cliffs or higher levels if you wish, however certain fish spawn only spawn on higher levels so you will likely want at least one raised area with a body of water on it.

Other than those restrictions, you can build cliffs wherever you like. That being said, you can only create and destroy cliffs from the lower level, you can’t add or take away land on the same level as you. You can add a block of land by pressing A. If you want to remove some cliff, you’ll need to walk right up to the block you want to destroy and click A. Like rivers, you can soften harsh edges by pressing A.

(1 of 2) You can create new cliff edges

You can create new cliff edges (left), and then soften them by using the tool again. (right)

Cliff Ideas

This section of the guide offers some ideas on how to use the cliff-construction tool to change up your island.

Add More Raised Levels!

You may have noticed that your default island has only a couple of raised areas. You could really have some fun and try adding more raised areas to add dimension and complexity to your island’s layout. Don’t be afraid of really changing up your island’s appearance. Some players are even bold enough to flatten their whole island and then start from scratch!

The cliff-construction is great for making dramatic changes to your island.

Not So Secret Beach

You could use your cliff-construction tool to flatten the earth around the secret beach that Redd docks onto on your northern shores. You could expose it completely by flattening a lot of land or dig it out a little bit so that there’s room for inclines and decoration.

Your beach isn't so secret anymore!

Tiered Market Places

Lots of players love to make small market places on their island. A fun way to make your market fun and different is to have it on two levels! You have more space to play around with new stalls, and a staircase between the market stalls adds an extra element of busyness to your market place.

(1 of 2) This market has two levels to it

This market has two levels to it (left), and has a convenient staircase to the 2nd level. (right)

A 2nd Floor for Your Outdoor Cafe

By now, you might have added a cosy cafe to your island. A great way to spice up your outdoor cafes is to add a second level! It means there’s more seating, and a staircase to the second level is a great aesthetic feature.

This cafe has two layers to it.

A Grand Entrance Onto Your Island

One of the best things to do to really make your island stand out is to create a grand entrance from your Airport. Some people are lucky enough that their townhall and their airport are lined up and have a good amount of distance between them. This makes for the perfect space to add extra levels to create a forced entry way into your island.

You can use both the cliff construction tool and the waterscaping tool to create a magical entrance.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
  • Platforms,
  • Genre
    Social simulation
  • Guide Release
    7 August 2020
  • Last Updated
    20 January 2022
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Seren Morgan-Roberts

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The guide for Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a walkthrough on how to make the most of your time on your deserted island. This guide will show you how to make tools, earn bells, achieve a five-star island, and more.

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