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Hokko Life and Other Genre Clones Are the Best Way to Innovate

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:34 PM
Max Moeller
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:34 PM
  • A new life sim is drawing comparisons to Animal Crossing.
  • The game includes various improvements to the life simulation formula.
  • We should never shame similar ideas, as each can innovate in their own way.

Game development is more accessible than ever. As a result, some video games will be similar to others, especially as grown-up gamers replicate their favorite childhood experiences.

This also means some games will be negatively accused of “cloning” their inspirations. That should never be the case.

Hokko Life is an upcoming life simulator in the vein of Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing series. However, unlike Nintendo’s beloved IP, Hokko Life is releasing on PC via Steam .

Similar to Animal Crossing, but there’s more beneath the surface. | Source: Steam 

The striking visual and gameplay similarities have caused some to call the game a “Shameless Animal Crossing clone.” That reads as more than a bit harsh, considering such “clones” are rampant in the PC space.

But, assuming these titles aren’t blatant, low-effort asset flips, games that pull from their inspirations should never be shamed. Experiences like Hokko Life not only bring a genre to more players, but they iterate on previous games, ensuring a better experience overall.

Source: Twitter 

More Than a Shameless Copy and Paste

Stardew Valley is essentially an isometric, pixel art version of Harvest Moon – a series that only made its way to PC after the former’s release . The game released to massive fanfare and has since expanded to consoles and mobile.

Stardew Valley’s sole developer, ConcernedApe, cited the idea came from wanting to fix all of his issues with the Harvest Moon games. In doing so, he made the genre accessible to new players, and many reviews consider it the greatest farming sim of all time .

A more recent example is the Pokemon-like game in early access, Temtem. The core idea is essentially Pokemon’s “gotta-catch-em-all” mantra with battles, gyms, and player customization. Oh, and it put all of those elements into a multiplayer online world, which is any Pokemon player’s dream – and it’s all coming without a subscription service.

pokemon temtem
Poke-who? | Source: Steam 

Sure, Nintendo and Game Freak are capable of bringing their monster-catching IP to an online audience. But, they didn’t, so somebody else did.

Battle-royale Apex Legends is another excellent example. Initially considered a Fortnite knock-off, Apex is a solid title in its own right with faster-paced combat and innovations such as its ping system.

Calling any of the previous titles a shameless knock-off is discrediting the efforts each makes to improve their respective formulas. The same should apply to Hokko Life.

Hokko Life is Improving the Life Sim

Similar to Stardew Valley, Hokko Life’s development team is one person: Robert Tatnell. While its visuals are comparable to Animal Crossing, the game’s apparent improvements make it a worthy competitor.

For example, Hokko Life has a focus on player customization. Users can drag and drop villagers’ houses, tilt and rotate their furniture, and add little touches like cushions on the couch.

Animal Crossing villages are up to the game’s random generation system. If a player doesn’t like their layout, they must restart until they do. Player customization is limited by comparison, and users can only have one island per Switch – a divisive decision among fans.

Catch me adjusting those X, Y, and Z angles for hours. | Source: Steam 

Nintendo’s offering may be portable, but Hokko Life gives players more liberty. One can exist in tandem with the other, and calling the latter a “shameless” copy is quite the disservice.

More options are never a bad thing, and competition breeds innovation. The fact remains that anybody has the tools to build a game. Some titles may tread over others, but each provides a new way to experience a genre.