Hokko Life Review

You don’t have to look hard to find a game in the farming/life sim genre as they are popping up all over the place lately. So many developers are out there trying to put their own spin on games like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing with one of those being Hokko Life from Team17 and developer Wonderscope Games. Hokko Life has been in early access on PC for over a year now but the 1.0 version just launched on consoles and PC and here is what I thought of the PlayStation 4 version.

The reason I wanted to check out Hokko Life is because upon learning about it I was reminded a lot of Animal Crossing. New Horizons was the first entry in that franchise I played and I put hundreds of hours into it so if you present me with a similar game, you’ll have my interest. After playing through it, Hokko Life does indeed share a lot of things with Animal Crossing but isn’t quite on the same level, at least not yet. What makes it like Animal Crossing? Well you play as a human who moves into a village full of animal people, you can customize and place things in houses or in the village, and there is bug catching and fishing just to name a few. Upon starting your game you’ll make your character by choosing your skin tone, eye color, hair style and color. It isn’t a very robust character creator but there are some sliders for getting the color just how you want it. After you finish with that, you’ll start the game on a train and before long you’ll find yourself in the village of Hokko. Here you’ll visit an inn and talk to a couple of animal residents who convince you to take up residence here and from there we begin our life in Hokko.

Hokko Life starts a bit slow as the town is quite empty at the beginning. It’s up to you to help it grow and become livelier. You’ll start by meeting some of the other animal villagers and helping them with tasks that they have. You’ll learn how to chop wood, gather materials, and how to craft stuff which is a big part of the game. Not only will you be helping complete tasks for the villagers but completing certain challenges called merits is how you will unlock new tools and upgrades that allow you to do more stuff. The game doesn’t do a great job of telling you about these merits though and how important they can be to unlock stuff as I had to figure a lot of it out on my own.

Crafting stuff is another big part of this game as you’ll constantly be in the workshop making stuff for yourself or others. You get more options to customize stuff as you get further in the game and you get freedom to pretty much place the stuff anywhere in your home, town, or decorate the other villager’s homes. You can also upload your designs online and download other player’s creations. When it comes to placing stuff though the game is a bit clunky at least on the console version. I feel like it needs a bit more tuning as it still very much feels like moving and placing stuff is best suited to a mouse.

No matter what you decide to do in the game you can do it on your own time since the in-game clock doesn’t run parallel to real time. It’s much more like something like Story of Seasons than Animal Crossing and I actually prefer that since I didn’t have to make sure to play it at different times of the day or year to experience things. The slow start to the game was a bit boring but once I started opening up new areas, unlocking new things to do like fishing, bug hunting, and mining, and experiencing new seasons I started to enjoy it more.

Visually Hokko Life is bright and colorful but isn’t quite as charming as a game like Animal Crossing. That’s because I didn’t like the designs of the animal villagers here as much as they are closer to having human bodies which is kind of creepy. The faces also weren’t very expressive and combined with the personalities I just didn’t care as much about the animal people in this game. The audio on the other hand is cheerful and befitting of this type of game while the sound effects are also on point helping the world feel more alive. Trophy hunters will find 31 trophies here to collect including a Platinum and the list is actually pretty achievable considering what type of game this is.

Hokko Life is another good entry in the farming/life sim genre but one that needs a bit more care put into it to be great. It borrows a lot from Animal Crossing but doesn’t do most of it near as well whether that be the drive to want to keep playing it or the personalities of the villagers. Customization is this game’s strong suit so if that’s what you really enjoy about these types of games you’ll likely really enjoy this.

*Hokko Life is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.

Hokko Life

$19.99
7

Good

7.0/10

Pros

  • Good farming/life sim game to waste time with
  • Very detailed crafting and customization options
  • Sound design is cheerful and cozy

Cons

  • Doesn't do a great job of explaining some of its systems
  • Villager designs feel kind of creepy
  • Decorating controls don't feel great on the controller
Written by
Editor/Writer/Reviewer here on ThisGenGaming.com. I've been playing games for almost 30 years now and play everything from AAA blockbusters to Indie games.

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