2020 was definitely the year of Animal Crossing. It was the perfect storm of New Horizon’s release and a pandemic keeping everyone inside their homes, living out fantasies with their animal villagers. That’s why it’s not at all surprising that there are an increasing amount of Animal Crossing type games being readied for release. There is definitely a market for games that feature low stakes and relaxation in their main gameplay loop. Hokko Life is such a game, and it’s getting ready to enter into Early Access on Steam soon.
Hokko Life is a casual adventure game where you play a kid who is starting their new life in the village of Hokko. Hokko is populated by friendly animals who are eager to earn your friendship. The entire town is eventually customizable, and you can gather resources which you can use to build furniture, and even place houses to entice new villagers to move in. You can also catch bugs, fish, and… okay, fine. It’s Animal Crossing, almost to a T. You even play as a cute, slightly androgynous kid—though there is a bit of a mystery as to how you arrive in Hokko village in the first place, which is an obvious departure from Animal Crossing. I think PC needs more Animal Crossing type games, so I’m more excited for the arrival of Hokko Life than I am critical of its similarities. But my hands-on experience with Hokko Life hasn’t been that great so far.
Now, I want you to take my experience with a grain of salt. I was playing a version of Hokko Life that is even pre-Early Access, so some bugs are to be expected. However, I ran into a bug that didn’t even let me progress past the second day: when I tried to leave the building I was staying in, the game would soft crash. Which is a shame, because Hokko Life, so far, looks like it has the potential to be a solid game. It has a delightful art style, and already captures that carefree feeling. It is hard to compete with Nintendo, however, and Hokko Life is just so on the nose, it’s hard to separate it from direct comparisons to Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
When Hokko Life releases on Steam next week, it’ll be in Early Access. According to its Steam store page, the developers plan on keeping Hokko Life in Early Access until it’s complete, “and a game that the community enjoys.” Developer Wonderscope also plans to balance the game further, and add in lots of new items like clothing, and more avatar customization options. They do warn that Hokko Life is in Early Access, and despite most of the base content being playable, you might run into some bugs. I’ve personally run into quite a few in my first hour of gameplay, including that one that stopped my progress.
Despite my early experience, I’m happy that a game like Hokko Life exists. It might never reach the level of Nintendo’s creation, but that is a pretty high bar. However, Hokko Life has the potential to be great—and it sounds great in concept. I’ll be eagerly keeping my eye on Hokko Life’s progress, and if you’re a fan of Animal Crossing, you should do the same.
Hokko Life will enter Early Access on Steam on June 2nd
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