“Mom, can I have Animal Crossing?” “No, we have Animal Crossing at home.” Animal Crossing at home: Hokko Life. This meme was running through my head while I played Hokko Life.

I’m not opposed to games taking inspiration from other games. For example, Stardew Valley is inspired by the Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons series. However, despite taking inspiration from an existing property, Stardew Valley manages to have its own identity by doing things differently and even improving on some aspects of the original inspiration. I don’t feel I can say the same for Hokko Life.

Like in Animal Crossing, you’re a solo human in an anthropomorphic animal town and are tasked with repairing and breathing new life into it. The animals are kind of off-putting to me, especially Moss the Giraffe; they look like Animojis or animatronic animals. They also don’t have much in terms of charm or interesting personalities. You slowly progress as you do tasks like chop wood and give items to people. At times, it can be hard to tell what you’re supposed to do to progress the main narrative. So, I just talked to people and did chores until something mildly interesting happened.

One of the big things in Hokko Life is crafting. You’ll need to chop wood and make it into lumber to use it to make furniture for others or for yourself. The assembling is very slow and sluggish to control, which makes it nearly unbearable. You can paint the furniture and place it in your house or the animal villagers. You will also find yourself needing to plant a LOT of trees to have enough to chop to progress in the narrative.

Other activities you can do are catching, fishing, and farming. While I wasn’t able to try out the farming, as it is a mid-game feature, I did try my hand at the other two. Catching bugs is the first one you unlock; you press the A button to catch the bug, but your character swings the net from side to side, which can take a little bit to get used to. Fishing is one of the more interesting features to me as not only do you have to wait for the shadow of the fish to bite your line, but you play a little mini-game once you have it hooked. You have to move the analog stick up, down, left, or right as directed, but also, you have to be careful not to push it too much and build up tension to break the line.

Overall, Hokko Life is a bland shell that wants to ride the coattails of Animal Crossing without doing anything to stand out or be unique. The game could be more polished, with lag and weird choices in camera zooms, though not outright terrible enough to get mad at. While the visuals don’t look bad, the music is forgettable. An average game at best, its $19.99 launch price means I can’t really recommend it.