Hokko Life is a casual life simulator by developers Wonderscope. This title draws inspiration from more well known titles within its genre, hoping to blend various aspects of these games together for a complete experience. Currently in Early Access, Hokko Life attempts to bring an experience akin to Animal Crossing: New Horizons to the PC. And while it does offer some quality of life improvements that other titles within its genre do not have, it lacks a clear identity to set it apart from other life simulator games.
Hokko Life allows players to explore a more creative way when building items. However, this is largely undermined by an overly complex system that effectively functions similarly to Blender. For those unfamiliar with Blender, the software is a fairly complex 3D rendering and modeling program. Hokko Life effectively lifts this and slaps it right into the game, which does allow for a fair bit of creativity when making any and all furnishing items. However, it is in my opinion too complex for players to approach with confidence as they may feel immediately overwhelmed without sufficient instruction. While I do have some experience using Blender, I still found crafting in this game through the designated crafting station overly complex. Perhaps the full release of the game will feature an in-depth tutorial for this feature, which would clear up any confusion. Certainly players will create interesting items or even cleverly use the tool to create more ornate furnishings and decorations, but it still lacks a certain amount of refinement and polish.
Hokko Life is still in Early Access, which is something important to keep in mind when approaching the game. A lot of it does feel like it lacks polish, and sometimes even its own identity as it attempts to fill the space a PC version of Animal Crossing: New Horizons might occupy. However, it lifts too much from Animal Crossing for it to feel completely unique in its identity. Visually, it has some similarities, but the animals you meet in Hokko Life are not as round and their designs aren’t nearly as endearing. It largely feels like someone looked at Animal Crossing, and other casual life simulators, and threw them into a pot hoping something good might come out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Hokko Life fails or pales in comparison in everything it does, but it’s so deeply, and clearly, inspired by other titles it can’t really stand on its own.
Outside of the similar animal designs, the game functions mostly the same as other titles within its genre. You scavenge around the village, picking up weeds and debris to sell to a plucky store manager to earn money to gain access to more tools. This opens up your ability to craft at the designated workbench run by an enthusiastic and creative dog. Fishing and mining are available pastimes, with both options available to players to gain more money or more crafting materials. It’s a slow rinse and repeat that will soothe players looking for a more relaxed experience. And while crafting might be overly complex, Hokko Life does have some quality of life improvements I really valued. For example, furniture items can be placed at an angle, which really opens up how you can design your individual room.
In general, the atmosphere of the game is quite nice with muted colors and warm sunlight often sweeping over the village and beaches. The environments feel especially soft when hit with bloom, which helps add to the general atmosphere. This is largely where Hokko Life succeeds in its Early Access form. While there isn’t a large amount of variation that sets itself apart from more polished or unique titles within the genre, it is pleasant to be in. The music is especially lovely in the village as you forage for flowers and lumber to either sell or craft. In that regard, I think Hokko Life could potentially hold a lot of promise in its full release. While it isn’t anything unique, it could be something nice to just play for a few hours and relax.
Hokko Life is available for Early Access on PC through the Steam storefront.