Hokko Life - do stuff or sleep so the trees can grow!

Hokko Life is a life sim game where you unexpectedly stop over in the town of Hokko and find yourself helping the townsfolks restore their once lively town by promoting their tourism. The game is still on its Early Access on Steam, but there are many activities now live which are also similar to Animal Crossing. Most notably would be meeting and making friends with your animal neighbors so that the story of Hokko can unfold. 

Here is my computer system:

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700k CPU @ 4.20GHz
RAM: 16 GB DDR4
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070x2 8GB GDDR5
Display: 27" MSI Optix AG32C 165Hz


PROS
CONS

Takes an obvious nod to Animal Crossing. (top)

He says it with a smile too.

Hokko Life is a laid back life sim game. There is bug hunting, fishing, crafting on Hokko Life. The most recent update has added farming on the menu as well. Other things include completing villager requests, beautifying the town center, and gathering materials for item crafting. Completing villager requests increases your relationship to each resident too. Although I still can't see if I could gift villagers.

Players can create items using blueprints. (top)

The biggest surprise that I found on Hokko Life is that you can create new items using "blueprints". The ability to create new items remind me of how you design objects (and even buildings) in MySims. You would need to design new items in order to progress in Hokko Life's storyline.

The fishing is fun. (top)

No puns thrown eh?

The fishing in Hokko Life is different from Animal Crossing despite that bug hunting is simply swinging your net at the bug. In Hokko Life, of course you need to cast your line first, but you only need to cast it near the silhouette of the fish and it will actually approach the bobber. Once the fish has grabbed the line, there's a minigame where you need to reel and pull your fishing rod; reel too hard and the line may snap; pulling the line in the wrong direction means the fish may escape. It's pretty simple, but since I thought the fishing mechanic would be similar to Animal Crossing, I had to ask Derris, the Bear, how to fish.

Calming soundtrack. (top)

Albeit that Hokko Life still has a limited soundtrack for its early access, the soundtrack complements the game well. It's relaxing. The ambient music subtly changes in the morning, afternoon, and evening when exploring outside.

The intro feels surreal rather than comedic. (top)

The premise of Hokko Life is that the player accidentally falls asleep on the train and somehow ends up at the train stop to Hokko when it's a cold and rainy night. Falling asleep and missing your stop is funny, but somehow I feel like there's something more: perhaps something else had happened to the player instead and that they crossed to the after-life or to another dimension. After all the train was running during a stormy night.

It's dark outside, fam.

There's your dose of reality. Maybe Ben had crossed the after life as well from overworking?

Of course this speculation is only due to my wild imagination. Rosa, the real estate agent, comes back to Hokko and builds an office. It's also mentioned that folks moved out for the city life.


Some noticeable bugs. (top)

I don't know if Sally means drowning in pieces or drawing in pieces since I just learned creating blueprints.

And now for those cons. The games still have its quirks (if they're not bugs):
  • Selling early quest related items may render the game unplayable (or you're unable to progress through the game).
  • You can push residents when they're moving. But when they're standing still, they will block your way.
  • I'm not sure if it has to do with the screen resolution, but the progress bar does not fill up completely when it reaches 100% even though the crafting is finished.
  • Whenever I complete a quest, catch a new fish, or break the record on the size of my latest catch, I get a reward -- but I don't get a message on how much I received. It's usually 10 coins per reward, so I'll just notice that I earned coins somehow.
  • While talking to an NPC, another resident can approach and "talk" to the said NPC too. The other resident will show animation of interacting with the NPC despite that I'm who has its attention.
It's only a matter of adjusting the progress bar.

Derris IS talking to ME about bait.
  • Some placed items will move from their original position when loading the game back.
  • While placing items, the grid will say that the object can be placed on the tile but it won't.
  • When you talk to a villager in a certain position, the camera will zoom in where the view is obstructed (such as a tree). Shameless plug: this is a similar problem that I anticipated if I added a camera angle change when the player talks to the NPC on the game I'm working.
The bench and the planter fused as one mighty decoration.

There's a tree in front of us.

A few things break the immersion. (top)

The player is a new comer to Hokko, a complete stranger. I'm a little confused how I'm able to tamper on someone else's home or touch things which don't belong to me.

I'm not sure how I can customize someone else's home as a stranger.

How come I'm able to move and even grab other folks' things and put them in my bag? For example, in Moss' shop I can move his trash bin around and place it somewhere else. I can take Nico's skateboard and put it in my bag -- everything inside his home in fact. I can also sleep on someone else's bed. I can enter their house even if they're not home and far away. For me, this breaks the immersion and the idea of a life sim game.

Ah yes, the inn is open from 11 to 14 o'clock, and then 17 to 21 o'clock.

There's also the small detail of time. Hokko Life is not synced to the system clock. You can sleep for 2, 6 hours on the futon and progress time; or you can sleep until the next day. However, since the game is still on its early phase, I don't sense anything special about having time in the game yet. Given that the shop is closed after 8pm (or 20:00), each day seems like any other day without restrictions. There's nothing new happening on the weekends and they feel the same as the weekdays. I don't get tired after hours, so I might as well sleep or not sleep.

I don't know what else to do. (top)

This doesn't mean that the game gets boring fast. It would probably bore some folks, but I meant that despite the to-do list present on the game (a list of quests per se), I find a lack of direction stumping on what to do at least on the early segment of the game. For example, Sally needed flower petals for building planters, I had to plant flowers and wait for them to grow after three days. I didn't know exactly what to do while waiting for them to grow. So I slept.

So... what's next?

Another example would be when Rosa's office is being built. There's nothing new nor do I have any other quest to do until it's built, so I can proceed on building the bridge. Rosa also didn't mention how long it will take for the office to finish -- she only said work will commence tomorrow.

Should I fish more? Despite that fishing is fun, the payout for each fish is little. There's a good chunk of time involved to fishing, but Moss is only buying the fish for a few coins. Should I catch more bugs in the mean time? What would that accomplish after selling them and saving money? How much should I save for the house? I thought Rosa's office would be done in 3 days when it's not. I thought that trees grow after 3 days (when the conifers did), but they're supposed to grow for 6 days. Welp, I guess I'm just going to sleep for 6 days.

Conclusion

Hokko Life is still on its Early Access and more content is coming based on the latest farming update. There are many activities in the game, but players may find themselves lost early on (or even bored). It's a cute game. Players can create items, can farm and fish, and also design their town community. Being provided a much clearer direction on what should be achieved will help players gain an idea on what to do next. I cannot fully recommend Hokko Life yet, but expect that it will grow even more; I give it a 3 out of 5.

THE HARVEST GAMER
Sam1, a portmanteau for someone, is an aspiring novelist in the romance, comedy, and horror genre. He is a university graduate with a degree in Business Administration and Applied Computer Science. He is an indie game-developer on itch.io and also an avid gamer. He currently works as an Exams and Adaptive Technology Coordinator.

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