Is that the time already? Hokko Life is out in the wild, and it’s time for a review. Released in Early Access last Summer, Wonderscope and Team17’s Animal Crossing variant goes live on PC and consoles.
Given a chance to review this properly on both PC and console, I opted for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch versions – putting to test both platforms, determining which was the best, in my opinion. Why read through the review to find out? The PS4 version is the best, and I’ll tell you why in a few sentences or so.
The portability of the Nintendo Switch is a winner, but because the Steam Deck is taking up too much of my sofa time, it was refreshing to play Hokko Life on the PS4. It’s sharper than the Nintendo and perhaps a little slicker? I was actually hoping to play a game with my kids using crossplay, but I may have misunderstood the feature and instead went solo.
Hokko Life Review
Hokko Life is a very personal thing. Much like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you arrive in town and can put your ideas into action, tarting up the place with various items, donning fashionable clothes and introducing (and evicting) residents to your humble little village. How you arrived here is irrelevant – the point is, you’ll never want to leave (IRL, too).
Gameplay is kind of on rails. When entering a dialogue with the locals, if you ever get the option to reply, it won’t impact the outcome much. It doesn’t matter. Your customisable character doesn’t have a speaking part – if you do reply, it’s always something upbeat like “Great!”. Who needs words when you can emote? When it comes to interactions, it’s all quite lovely and welcoming.
Unlike Hokko Life Early Access, the pace is smoother, and you get into the action early. As mentioned before, you can skip days by resting/sleeping in a bed for two or six hours or until the next day, advancing specific quests, or restocking the local resources you’ve milked a few days before. Theoretically, you could play Hokko Life on a loop and not worry about being restricted in terms of possession. I could easily play this all day, but do note that there’s some hoop jumping before you see the good stuff.
Good Job, Take A Cookie
Once again, the game uses similar mechanics to Animal Crossing – even the acoustic little jingles feel straight from Nintendo. Besides the community hubs, stores, real estate and fashion centres, you can also farm and craft bespoke furniture. The latter gives Hokko Life the edge over its ‘competitors’, but manipulating 3D objects with a controller can be awkward, and it’s sometimes better to buy what’s available. However, creating your own designs unlocks new abilities through the medal system.
Another familiar skill tree, the more you do an action or source items, you’ll improve your abilities and unlock new items like emotes and upgraded gear. It’s easy to get carried away with these tasks as they’re so much fun as a standalone. However, this game’s real focus is the community, building new homes, encouraging people to move into the area, and customising everything – from your look, buildings and furnishings to who you want to live with you.
I’m very fortunate to review a wide range of titles and to be fair, the majority are games I might not have gone out of my way to purchase if a code hadn’t been available. Hokko Life has always been on my radar, which I’d happily buy on multiple platforms. As an alternative to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it’s available on multiple platforms and significantly cheaper – I can’t say enough good things about it.
Bad things? Well, we’re being a bit picky, but the main characters are a little too cute for my liking, and I’d like to have had a few more options to make my avatar look like they’re old enough to drink. Also, the community is a little too trusting. Go into a villager’s home and move any of their possessions, and you can pocket them, sell them to Moss the vendor, or stash them in your gaff without consequence. A little cheeky if you ask me. Also, the furniture designer is a fantastic idea and a standout, but I found it to be a bit too fiddly and inaccurate when working in 3D. See? Picky.
Hokko Life is a lovely title, and now that it’s out (27th of September), I can breathe again and shout about how good it is to all the people who love Animal Crossing but don’t have a Switch, or simply can’t get enough of these games. Highly recommended.