Over the past year, an idyllic life sim starring anthropomorphic animals has quietly picked up steam. No, it’s not a new Animal Crossing. It’s an under-the-radar game called Hokko Life, and it’s coming to consoles next month.
At first glance, Hokko Life undeniably bears a strong resemblance to Animal Crossing, Nintendo’s juggernaut series of life sims. Both games are set in an idyllic little town, populated by animals who walk and talk and live out cute approximations of human lives. Both put an emphasis on farming and decorating. Like the villager player character from Animal Crossing, you have a little ax. The obvious similarities, you’ll note in the video above, do not end there.
But Animal Crossing has only ever been playable on Nintendo machines. There’s a vacuum for that specific flavour of game in the PC and mainline console ecosystems, which Hokko Life has purported to fill. Last year, shortly after it became available in early access on Steam, Kotaku Australia noted that it didn’t quite feel meaty enough to justify public availability.
That was then. This is now. Throughout its year in early access, studio Wonderscope Games — the moniker for game dev Robert Tatnell, who’s making Hokko Life solo — has rolled out a number of updates, to the point where Hokko Life is more or less a full game. One added a ton of new items. Another added a perks system, kinda like the one that’s present in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. But Hokko Life isn’t an exact one-to-one remapping of the game that defined the pandemic’s early goings. Customisation in Hokko Life is far more robust, for instance.
Hokko Life is currently playable in early access on Steam, where it has a “mostly positive” rating based on about 1,000 reviews. It’ll see its full release on PC, but also on Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, on September 27.