How to increase balloon spawn rates in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Meg Bethany Koepp
Nintendo (via Twitter: @triforcemeg)

It can feel like balloons float by once a century sometimes in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, especially when you’re on the hunt for new recipes for your island. But there’s actually a way to get them to spawn every five minutes, using a simple trick.

Balloons with presents attached have been a staple of the Animal Crossing series since the beginning, adding an element of mystery and surprise for players to try and find out what’s inside. In the GameCube game, you had to shoot them down over a tree in order to get the gift, but luckily, that died off when Wild World for the Nintendo DS came along.

Spawn rates in New Horizons can feel a bit wishy-washy – sometimes you’ll get two in an hour, and sometimes you’ll see one in a day. Worry not, though – there’s a way to increase their appearances tenfold, and it’s extremely easy to do. If you’re on the hunt for the Golden Slingshot DIY recipe, then this is definitely the trick for you.

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Increase balloon rates in New Horizons

Thanks to genius Twitter user @Arumi_kai who worked out how to perform the balloon trick, the spawn rate increases to an incredible five minutes between presents. Firstly, you’ll need to remember that they appear over the ocean every five minutes at four and nine minutes on the clock (think 3:04, 3:09, 3:14, etc.) on one side of your island, so you’ll have to work out what side they’ll be floating from by taking note of the wind direction.

To trigger the glitch, enter the Nook’s shop and go to buy an item. You can either say no or purchase it – doesn’t matter. Then, make sure you’ve left the store before the four or nine minute mark, otherwise the floating gift won’t appear.

Head to the beach on the side of your island they’re coming from, and run up and down the sand until you hear that familiar whooshing noise that comes with a freshly-spawned balloon. Make sure you wait for it to fly over the land before slingshotting it down, otherwise you’ll send it dropping straight into the ocean, lost forever.

Go to buy an item at Nook’s Cranny – you don’t have to actually spend anything, though!

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Rinse and repeat the above steps, and you’ll spawn a balloon every five minutes – just make sure to keep on top of the time so you’re not in a building when the clock turns to four or nine minutes. Dexerto has tested the trick, and can confirm it 100% works if done properly.

One of the main reasons to farm the presents is that after you’ve popped 300 of them, the next one will contain the DIY recipe for the Golden Slingshot – a tool which lasts up to 60 uses, which is a far cry from the regular one at 20.

It’s also useful during events – such as April’s cherry blossom season – where you can only obtain the limited-time recipes by shooting down balloons.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons released on March 20, and obliterated sales records in just its opening weekend alone to become the fastest-selling Nintendo Switch title to date.

Its debut marked the first mainline AC game in almost seven years, so it’s no surprise that it sold so well given that fans had to wait so painstakingly long for a new entry.