The competition for Nintendo staple Animal Crossing has been mostly non existent. The two that come to mind is The Good Life from Swery65, known for the Deadly Premonition series, and Hokko life; an indie offering currently in early access from Wonderscope. This article will be looking at the latter so let’s not waste any time and get right into my first impressions.
The first thing you will notice is the art style in Hokko Life is really nice. While the options for character creation are minimal they look good and serve their purpose in showing you a taste of what’s to come. Currently you can change your hair, eyes, and skin color. if there was an option to change gender or facial features I did not find it. If there was I apologize in advance as I could not find a way to delete my character to go back and look though it might have been based on hair style chosen on further reflection. Speaking of choices the game has them once you start out in the town though it’s unclear if they actually matter or if it’s just there to give the player autonomy of choice. A minor annoyance as far as the art is concerned though is that the text bubbles have a sense of flow in that they move up and down. This includes the text making things a bit harder to read. An option to leave that text box static would be a welcome addition to accessibility. Lastly, to wrap up the aesthetics, sound design and music is quaint and good to relax with. you won’t notice it most of the time but when you do you’ll vibe to it.
Gameplay on the other hand… It’s a mixed bag. This is to be expected as the game is in early access. That said there have been some real rough spots I don’t feel should be ignored. The introduction section is not very intuitive. When you add a lack of a proper manual or way to learn controls it makes for a frustrating experience. Twenty minutes into the game I was asked to gather logs to make benches. however the game failed to tell me that having an item equipped does not mean it’s active. Luckily the discord community is very friendly and saved me more times than I’d care to admit. There are also a few guides on steam that will help you get a better feel of things. The lack of proper documentation from the devs, in an easy to find location like in game or as a manual in the steam library page, is gonna make things hard for new comers to enjoy their time. On top of that there are a fair amount of small bugs that will test your patience but overall they are easily corrected. For example characters can be loaded in areas where they cannot move or be interacted with. Since there are villager requests this means leaving the area and coming back to further things along. Lastly, some options need keyboard and mouse; preventing a full controller experience. Hopefully at some point Hokko Life will implement on on screen keyboard and better overall controller support in the main release.
Overall I had a lot of fun playing Hokko Life so far. I’d have more fun if playing the game was more intuitive but Wonderscope has plenty of time and a lovely group of supporters to aid them on their quest in creating a great alternative to animal crossing for those without a Nintendo Switch. I’d personally recommend buying it at the moment. Just exercise patience and you’ll find yourself having a good time.
*Hokko Life was provided to Game Octane for free. All opinions held within are solely the articles author’s.