Who doesn’t want to get away from the chaos of modern life? We’ve all got plenty of stress these days, so there’s no surprise that there’s a bumper crop of more relaxed games that aim to offer a more relaxing experience than your average gorefest. Not that there’s anything wrong with a bit of the ol’ ultra-violence, of course, but sometimes you just want to shake things up a little bit by creating rather than destroying. That’s where farming and community sim games like Hokko Life come in.
Hokko Life represents the vanguard of an oncoming tide of indie and near-indie games built around capitalizing on the Animal Crossing craze from the pandemic year of 2020, which is understandable given the massive success of New Horizons. Your character, which you’re able to customize to a fair degree, has just made it to the town of Hokko. It’s a place populated by animals rather than humans, but they’re nice enough folk and offer your character the chance to settle down there.
As for what you’ll be doing in Hokko, well, it ticks off many of the Animal Crossing boxes. You’ve got a house to decorate, friends to make (largely via fetch quests), resources to gather and oh so much crafting to do. Crafting and building are really the focus of Hokko Life, far more so than even the crafting-heavy Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and this results in an experience that’s at least somewhat different from its inspiration. You can customize items down the individual piece level, at least in terms of coloring them, and you can adjust their size and placement to a much more significant level here. This adds a lot of creativity to Hokko Life that Animal Crossing’s identikit items might be missing.
One other significant change from Animal Crossing is Hokko Life’s divorce from the real-time clock. No longer are you a servant to the actual day of the week! Instead, Hokko Life lets you play at your own pace. For many players this might prove to be a boon, since it’s very possible to miss important events and items in Animal Crossing if you skip a day or two. Hokko Life’s not so cruel, so if you’ve got something else going on, well, Hokko will wait.
Hokko Life goes hard on the cuteness angle and succeeds to a great extent. Your character is about as cute as you make them, while there’s plenty of adorable animal villagers to fetch things for. As an Early Access game, you should probably also be prepared for bugs. Hokko Life’s steadily been updating, but that’s not to say you won’t encounter the odd crash or physics weirdness here and there.
As an Early Access game it’s a little more difficult to offer an unreserved recommendation for Hokko Life as the game is likely to change before its final form. Still, it’s a perfectly workable Animal Crossing-style game, so if you’re interested in a version of that Nintendo classic on PC, this is about as close as you’ll get at the moment. You’ll probably want to get into it now if that’s the case – the flood of indie farming and sim games are coming, and while Hokko Life is perfectly playable at the moment, it’s hard to say if it’ll stand up to the cream of that crop.