Purveyor of Previews: Hokko Life
Purveyor of Previews is a weekly feature where Janette covers a new demo or early access game. This week, Janette leaves behind city life and tries out her first Early Access game in this feature with Hokko Life!
I am now trapped in a tiny, filthy town I cannot escape. One moment I was on the train. But I’d been working too many days and too many hours on those days. I rested my eyelids for a moment in my brief respite. Waking up, it was the end of the line for the train, and I found myself in this…um…quaint village. Knowing I was due at work in eight hours, I asked the owner of the inn how to get back on the bus. It turns out the bus rarely visits. Fortunately, the owner (who is an elephant???) let me stay in their spare room and welcomed me to my new home. Goodbye City, hello Hokko.
The population here is small. The town desperately needs additions and renovations to attract new blood. All the other…erm…animals here are busy with their own lives and don’t have time to fix the town. But I have all the time in the world. An inability to say no and boredom has led me to shoulder this task, and I will turn this into the perfect place to live. – A Mysterious Letter to The Geekly Grind Staff from Janette
This is the premise for Hokko Life.
Hokko Life is a game that wears its inspirations on its sleeve. Put a lot of animal crossing and a little bit of story of seasons into a blender, add some quality of life improvements, and you get Hokko Life. Given that Animal Crossing is 1.) not playable on the pc and 2) definitely has some stagnation and shortcomings in its gameplay, fresh blood is quite welcome.
But. I’m not sure what the vision is for Hokko Life. Right now, the game is definitely in early access. It’s full of bugs (though I kind of prefer it that way) and has a fundamental gameplay loop. I CAN DO anything I can do in Animal Crossing here: socialize with villagers, crafting, fishing, catching bugs. Yet I already can tell I’m going be to sinking hours into this game, probably more than I put in the newest Animal Crossing, which I have already abandoned.
I like the controls. Smooth, snappy, and responsive. Note that I tried both the mouse and keyboard and a controller. It’s okay on the mouse/keyboard, but the controller is where it shines.
I also like the pace of the game. It’s a very slow-paced, plodding game. Items don’t sell for much, and it takes time to unlock things. Granted, some exploits can rush things along, but they mess up the game. But I prefer games that I can go at my own pace and take the time to smell the roses. At the same time, I realize this is not for everyone, but gosh darn it, it’s what I want in a life sim.
I also like the villagers here way more than my Animal Crossing game. They’re more down-to-earth and realistic compared to the cartoony nature of Animal Crossing villagers. They’re relatable and wholesome, and I adore them. Also, a plus for this game is you can have as many villagers as you want.
The main thing holding it back (besides numerous bugs and a few game-breaking exploits) is that it’s a little basic, obtuse, and the UI could use some work. The obtuseness is what stands out. Sometimes it’s unclear how to progress. Some of the mechanics aren’t really explained either. For example, it took me multiple tries to figure out fishing, and I still don’t know how to attach bait to my rod. Given how early this is in early access, I think these shortcomings are kind of expected. Furthermore, this really isn’t the most obtuse life sim I’ve ever played, and I think it’ll improve significantly upon future updates.
This is a good game with the potential of so much more. However, if the game doesn’t deliver on that promise, I will still enjoy it immensely.
I do not think this game is for everyone! But if you just want to fish some fish and catch some bugs and chill with villagers on pc, this might be for you!