Hokko Life Review (PS4)
We have Animal Crossing at home. Animal Crossing at home:
As someone that played Animal Crossing ever since I was a kid, and as a game that is trying to copy that same game, I aimed to look at Hokko Life without comparing them. But, even then, it turned out to be disappointing.
Hokko Life basically has you moving to a small town named Hokko which is very much needing someone to kick things into high gear. It seems that no one here actually made any strides in improving the town, and even let some houses stay abandoned and wither away. On one rainy night, you arrive and meet Oma, the Inkeeper, who lets you stay in the vacant room upstairs. You decide that you will actually stay and you are pretty much made into the defacto mayor…or the person they make to do all they want (even just setting furniture down, like sheesh I want to see how you would decorate like the first two already existing villagers did).
From here on out, you’ll be doing a lot of requests, with either can be a main request or a villager request. You’ll mainly be asked to gather resources and build something that was requested, set whatever you made out (even if it’s house furniture), or bring an item to another villager. The main quests in particular act as the game’s tutorial, as a lot of aspects of the game are locked until you unlock the main request that unlocks it. However, this is flawed and there’s a high chance you’ll have issues like if you unknowingly jump forward in the main request line. There may also be some rng based on other’s experiences (like I saw another person getting the main request that unlocks furniture customization earlier seemingly from a random villager). I was also trying to unlock the fishing rod, but after doing some research and finding how you unlock it in the full game, it turned out that I jumped ahead and I’m locked. I picked up the broken pickaxe before I made a bridge to this trashed pond and I brought it to Sally to fix before Oma was supposed to give me the request that brings in a character that gives me the fishing rod.
Except, the request might not actually be real as if you put all of the trash (which is classified as furniture) into your pockets he’ll show up (which at that point, how are you supposed to know that’s what you need to do and what if you miss a piece of trash). It also seems I’m also supposed to have already gotten the request showing how to customize furniture items? I’m not sure, it feels like a mess.
There is also Mayor Merits which you basically do certain requirements, like waving at villagers or fishing, but a lot of the unlocks seem to be aspects that should already be available or upgrades. You won’t know what these rewards are as they’re silhouetted and the details locked until you unlock it.
Though strangely enough, despite having a tutorial, there are quite a bit of things the game doesn’t tell you. When you get more tools, you’ll notice you have to open your inventory each time. Except…there is a toolbar you can get into to switch tools and the only reason I know this is because I was trying to look for the button to sprint and to bring up photo mode which is just a zoom in/out with a whistle to get everyone on screen. It doesn’t seem you can emote while in photo mode which is strange as I’m pretty sure there’s no multiplayer aspect to this game aside from sharing homemade furniture.
You’ll also be in charge of building and gathering resources for public works like bridges or houses so more villagers with almost the same personalities can move in. There is bug catching here and fishing, but it’s pretty meh. There’s only butterflies to catch and you’re character catches them by swinging the net horizontally, which can make it hard to gauge whether the butterfly is in range. While fishing combines Animal Crossing’s fish tapping on the hook before it bites and you need to press a button to hook it fully, and pressing the stick in the direction it tells you while keeping an eye on a bar that fills up until the string snaps and you lose the fish. I’m sorry I didn’t unlock being able to customize and make your own furniture, but I just can’t with this game. There’s also mining so you can get ores, as there is an abandoned mine, but you have to place a lot of light sources down (about every couple of feet before your character stops to say it’s too dark) if you want to mine past the first floor.
It also seems that the game counting a day as a new day is off. Unless I’m wrong that store inventory isn’t supposed to be rotated and changed every day, I found that you can easily cause stores to act like you didn’t just roll over to the next day. Say you want to start the next day in the afternoon, well if you sleep to the morning and then use the Sleep 2 Hours/Sleep 6 Hours option too quickly in the day the game will still not count the day as a new day for shops.
I played this for around 5 hours and it’s not a good sign when I’m dreading going back to a game. There were just too many aspects that I didn’t like, or annoyed me, it was boring, and there just wasn’t any charm to it. I didn’t like how you unlock even the basic things (I was so confused as to why you’re not able to buy or sell anything until the game finally let me after completing a main request) and how you’re locked out of certain things depending on where you’re at in the main requests (especially since it looks like accidentally jumping forward locks you out of requests meant to unlock before it) and on the mayor merits.
Of course, there will be people that will enjoy Hokko Life, but I did not. I wanted to like it, I was actually looking forward to the early access period ending, but it just ended up disappointing me.