LifeisXbox’s Hokko Life review | Hello my cozy game fans, I am back with another game! This time we are taking a look at Hokko Life, a cozy, creativity-filled community sim game. Developed by Wonderscope and published by Team17, Hokko Life is undeniably inspired by the popular game Animal Crossing. I had a first look at the game about a year and a half ago, and even though the game was far from finished, I did enjoy my Hokko Life. Naturally, I was extremely curious to see how the game progressed since then.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Get creative with crafting | One of the absolute greatest things about Hokko Life is the possibility to craft just about anything. You can design, paint and build your own furniture, flooring, clothes, etc. You can design your own and other villager’s houses, both the interior and the outside of the houses! The amount of freedom here is simply amazing, so if you are someone who enjoys creating a world that is really their own, Hokko Life won’t disappoint. You’re also building the houses themselves by paying for them and gathering materials.
- Running | One small feature that I also loved when I played the demo, was how your character runs. Even though you can only run for a very short amount of time, your character throws their arms back and starts running around. It’s pretty cool to see because it reminds me of how a child runs around so carefree and happy.
- Soundtrack | The soundtrack of Hokko Life is as well as you would expect it to be. It’s soothing in the back, and when sound effects need to be in place, they are. The sound of the sea crashing on the shore, the swish sound when you wave your bug net, a different sound when you’re walking on stairs, and so on.
- Mayor Merits | If you’re a fan of achievements, Mayor Merits will be something you like. By accomplishing (simple) tasks, you can earn some merits in order to unlock new exciting features. The Mayor Merits are divided into five categories and can be a variety of things: waving at villagers, sprinting, digging holes, catching fish or bugs, selling items, etc. It’s a fun way to pass the time, even if the merits you’ll gain are not really clear (it’s just a vague grey picture). I guess this helps keep things surprising.
- Graphics | I hate to say it but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the graphics in this game. I loved that you could customize your character at the start in an elaborate way (with very specific colors for skin and hair). But the graphics felt a bit cheap when playing the game. In games like Cozy Grove or Animal Crossing, the graphics set a cozy vibe, but in Hokko Life, they feel bland. The characters looked cute (who doesn’t love cute dressed-up animal NPCs) but again, they didn’t feel finetuned.
- Mining | I love mining in games. I’ve loved it since I started playing RuneScape as a kid. It’s nice to see that Hokko Life has its own area with a mining cave. However, the way it worked wasn’t completely how I hoped it would be. The mines are a dark place, I get that, but when you have to craft and place lanterns every few steps to light the way, it just feels like a drag. It would make more sense to me if I could just carry a lantern or something, but I did not really enjoy it this way.
- Dull residents | I may not be a social butterfly in real life, but when it comes to NPCs in games, I love to connect to them! Unfortunately, the villagers in Hokko Life aren’t really that funny or interesting. The conversations felt rather basic and I did not feel connected to them. Frankly, I often felt like I was bothering villagers, or the dialogue felt too forced somehow.
- Ichthyology & Entomology (or fishing and bug catching) | This wouldn’t be a cozy game if there were no relaxing activities to pass time. In Hokko Life, we get the standard fishing and catching bugs (well, butterflies only). You can take a look at some sort of encyclopedia that lists all the fishes and bugs you’ve caught (and where you can catch them). What’s nice is that fishes are unique and require different methods of catching them. However, the fishing mechanics are a little harder than what I’m used to in cozy games. It took me a while to understand how to catch a fish, which got me frustrated. Other than just passing your time doing this, you can sell your catches for some money, which is nice.
What we Disliked
- It’s pretty slow and sometimes even boring | I found the gameplay to be very slow in Hokko Life. First and foremost, the beginning is soooo slow. I feel like the first week was just a waste of time mostly. At one point I didn’t have a single quest to complete and I was a little lost (until Oma told me to talk to villagers and see if I could help them out). It does get better after, but still, I wasn’t convinced. Second, it also happened regularly that I just went to bed before noon so I could skip to the next day. Normally, I would try to use every hour of the day to do something useful. However, in this particular game, I didn’t feel like I could do a lot of useful stuff. Or I wasn’t really tempted to, so that’s not good. And third, I sometimes felt plain bored. Quests weren’t that exciting (e.g. gathering materials and bringing them to a villager) and I just didn’t feel very motivated to continue playing. One might even say the gameplay was kind of grindy.
- Not perfect | Hokko Life is by no means perfect. Just as was the case in the demo, my character still runs into walls and other surfaces they shouldn’t be running into, even if it’s just partly sometimes. Whenever I walked into the Inn, the keeper Oma said ‘hey’ but the speech bubble was cut off mid-screen so that felt off. The game also has too many loading screens. I simply don’t understand why a game with a rather small map needs so many different screens. Going to the beach or the town square required an unneeded loading screen.
How long to beat the story | TBD
How long to achieve 1000G | TBD
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂