Will this Animal Crossing clone be able to conquer the PC gamers as New Horizons did with its Switch user base?
Release date: 2 Jun, 2021
Hokko Life is an Animal Crossing clone arriving on Steam Early Access the June 2nd. This is a title that clearly tries to exploit the absence of Animal Crossing on the PC gaming landscape, similarly to how Temtem used the absence of a Pokémon game. But Hokko Life doesn’t only try to copy the mechanics of the brand, adding instead interesting feature that will please a lot of Animal Crossing’s fans!
Sleeping on a Train
Hokko Life makes a very short introduction on how we got the little dusty city in the middle of nowhere that we will call home: we overslept on the train and ended up there! And, how! How unfortunate! The next train will take days to come! Luckily, the little bar that we find ourselves in is filled with two very kind gentlemen (can an elephant be a gentleman?) that offer us a place to stay for a few nights. Obviously, in order to repay them, we will offer our help to make this little forgotten town a little bit more welcoming to new visitors!
This quick introduction, while not particularly original, allows us to put our hands on the game immediately, without the need to wait for long dialogues that could’ve been boring. After that, we start off immediately with a place to sleep and our trusty axe: the latter will be particularly useful in the first two hours of the game, since most of the quests will involve gathering wood to build a bunch of items. In these first two hours we are also introduced to new characters, all different animals following Animal Crossing’s tradition, and complete a bunch of quests for them, culminating in the building of the first home for a new citizen.
As for its current state, the very first hours of the game leave little freedom to the player in terms of activities: we will in fact work for the various NPCs that inhabit the village, gathering resource, crafting items and placing them, all according to their requests. In terms of gameplay, this quickly becomes a checklist of things to do: – go to Oma to get the quest – gather x resources – go to Moss to deliver them – Moss crafts something and asks us to place it wherever we want. I certainly would’ve appreciated to have more choices during this first part, in order to break the otherwise serrated rhythm of the initial quests.
A Few Planks Make a Chair
After the first bunch of quests, you’ll get access to the more advanced features that Hokko Life offers to its players: besides having items to craft, like in Animal Crossing, you will also have the possibility to design completely new items. This is done by starting from smaller, craftable parts, like a wooden leg of a chair or a plank of wood: by using for leg and one plank, for example, we could create a small table to decorate our home or, if we are willing to share, also the entire village by putting it outside. This system gives an incredible degree of freedom to the players, allowing them to create incredible items to display in their villages, with some limitations: the first one is that complex objects will obviously use more items to craft, plus the designed object must fit inside a bounding box that limits the size of the final result. In this case, bigger objects can designed by talking to Sallie, the carpenter, who sells both bigger bounding boxes and new item pieces to merge together.
Obviously all this freedom in the hand of the internet could be a little dangerous, and I honestly expect to see tons of peni… tentiaries filling a lot of players’ villages. Luckily though, since this a game that will also be played by little kids, Hokko Life will only be singleplayer, with no plans for multiplayer or cooperative sessions: the only way to visit other player’s villages will be via the screenshots on Steam I fear.
Nice House You Have Here!
Similarly to Animal Crossing, we won’t have an entire house at our disposal from the very beginning, which means that we will have to work hard to earn one. After that, we will have complete liberty and customize it however we want. The customization of our home allows players to create really nice interiors, given that they have the right items to decorate them, and this can also be seen from the start by looking at the cozy little houses where the first few NPCs live in.
Speaking of NPCs, we will start with just a couple of them, randomized at the start. On my second savegame (the first got corrupted after an update, something that the developer said won’t happen during the EA period) I started playing with a really rude dog called Oleander and a cute pink elephant called Mei. While the villagers are initially random, once you expand your town you will get new ones, eventually gathering them all to your friendly neighbourhood: in total there are 24 of them, with the possibility that more will be added during the Early Access period.
Hokko Life is an interesting Animal Crossing clone: while it doesn’t add new groundbreaking features, it also puts the foundations for a title that could potentially be the one filling the void in the PC gaming landscape, similarly to what Temtem did for Pokémon games. Unfortunately, seasoned Animal Crossing players won’t find a whole lot of new stuff in the game, but PC players that never experienced this kind of title could be in for a surprise!