Hokko Life Beginners Guide on Switch

You know our motto: when we love a game, we make a guide. Time for one of our famous Beginners Guides for Hokko Life. Haven’t heard of it yet? Hokko Life doesn’t deny where it found its origins: mainly in being inspired by Animal Crossing. Being a small development studio Wonderscope clearly shows this for the passion project it is, and one that the fans of the genre will love. You can find our review for it here.

Slow Starter

For me, Hokko Life really had a slow start. As I said in my review, you can’t help but compare this game with Animal Crossing and Dreamlight Valley. In the latter, which I played recently too, I was overwhelmed with things to do. Not so in Hokko. It was only later that I realised I hadn’t paid enough attention to guests coming to Oma’s Inn, or to the Major Merits. So if you don’t want to have the slow start I had, read on!

Once you have customised your character you arrive in Hokko town and find yourself in Oma’s Inn. There’s a few little things that are handy to know.

Pick a stool at the Inn: Oma tells you to sit down on one of the stools. Took me a while to figure out that you can only sit on the stool, second to the left (in the picture it’s the one behind the word Benny).

Hokko Life Review

Getting a free cabinet: The next day, you are shown two dilapidated houses. Choose one, and you can call it yours. It is very bare-bones though. The thing you need most is a cabinet of sorts to put the things you gather in. I solved that in a special way: go into the inn up the stairs. The furniture in there can be picked up with Y, and put in your backpack with X. In this way, I picked up the nightstand and put it in my house. It worked perfectly to store my things! (Psst, don’t tell Oma).

Notice that you can use every cabinet or nightstand in the animals’ houses too. Which might come in handy when your backpack is loaded. Aside from that, when I had another cabinet I put the little one I had stolen at the inn in Sally’s workshop. Stored all my materials there.

A bed is more comfortable than a Futon: In much the same way I got myself a bed, instead of having to sleep in a futon. YvoCaro’s back isn’t what it used to be, you know…One of the villagers gives you a request to take the pink flower decorations off a bed in your designer tool. When you’re finished give him that altered bed and keep his old one for yourself.

Hokko Life Review

Not in Real Time: unlike Animal Crossing, Hokko Life is not in real-time. So if you feel you’ve done enough in the day, just sleep. You can choose to sleep for two hours, six hours or until morning.

Lots of wood needed: you will get your axe from Moss, the shopkeeper during the first tutorial quest, the one where you choose your own house. Oma will send you to Moss, and he will give it to you.

Hokko Life Review

And you will need it, trust me! You need an awful lot of wood in the game, for several tasks like building a bridge, stairs and more. So chop the trees you can reach in the first stages, but try to leave a few standing. It’s not until you get a shovel (you make it from a blueprint you get from Sally) that you can replant the conifer seeds you get. As soon as you can, replant what you chop down. That way you’ll never run out.

Sally the Carpenter: Sally is a very important neighbour. You get to crafting in her workshop, at first at the workbench and later at the design table. Those tool benches unlock during the courses of the tutorial quests, you really can’t go wrong there. First thing you have to make is a flower planter and a fence for which you need 10 logs and 2 yellow petals.

After you have made those show them to Moss, and he will ask you to place both in town (either the Meadow Area, Town Centre or Beach areas). Once placed, return to Moss and he will suggest making a bridge to get to the higher part of the Meadow Area. Head over to Sally again, and when you speak to her you find out that you’ll need 10 wooden planks to create the bridge. Sally will give you the crafting recipe to make wooden planks at the crafting bench. Each wooden plank will cost 2 logs. Once you have enough planks, speak to Sally again and she will point you towards the designing table to make the bridge, for which there’s a recipe in the pre-built designs feature.

Hokko Life Review

After unlocking the pre-built designs in the design workbench and making the bridge our little town is getting a lot bigger. After the first tutorial quests, you get access once you speak to Sally. Finally, you can get across the river to get more wood as you can also get up the slightly raised area by building stairs by using a pre-built design.

Hokko Life Review

To Get Things Going

I won’t deny, there have been many days at first that YvoCaro slept a lot. There are only so many trees you can chop for fun, and Moss selection was quite limited. Things started expanding though, so here’s what you can expect next.

Get the Pickaxe: as soon as you get access to it in the designer table, build the stairs to go higher up. You will find a gate there to go even higher up the mountain. If you keep going up, you will find the entrance to the mine and the broken bronze pickaxe lying there. Bring it back to Sally who will fix it for you. Now you can chop up all stones in town, and enter the mine.

Explore the Mine: with your Pickaxe, you can enter the mine and explore it until you find rocks you can’t crack with your standard Pickaxe.

Hokko Life Review

In this level mine, you’ll chop up stones for various materials, like stone, coal, iron and bronze. It’s dark in there, and you won’t be able to proceed very far without lanterns. When you go out of the mine, Sally will help you to make lanterns. Make several, I’d say some 10 to 15, though you can get by with less if you take a lantern with you. It’s a bit of a bother though, keeping on picking up the lantern and placing it further along your path. Anyway, soon you’ll hit a block you can’t smash, and this is as far as you can go for now.

Need Chalk or Sand? Eventually, you need chalk to make paint. Or sand to make glass. You won’t find it in the mine but on the beach. There are a couple of rocks that look lighter than the rest, chop them up to get plenty of chalk. And just digging on the beach will get you sand.

Fishing added: Another route up the mountain, veering to the left immediately, leads to a ravine you need to cross. You can now make a bridge to span the ravine and go right back there to find a little pond. Sadly, there’s a lot of trash all over the place. You can pick it up and put it in your backpack to sell to Moss later. This will unlock Derris, who will tell you how happy he is everything is squeaky clean again. The second time you meet him (you will find him either at the pond or at the beach) he will give you a crafting recipe for a fishing pole.

Fishing mini-game: fishing is done with a little mini-game. Press A and then point the L-stick in the direction shown. As soon as there’s a red warning, let go of the L-stick and wait for the next direction, otherwise, the line will snap. You will get the hang of it soon enough. If there’s a chest depicted it means you will also get a little treasure, like coins, wood or stone. Show the fish you caught to Derris, as he will give you coins for new types of fish, or bigger fish than you had.

Use Bait: you can make bait to fish with out of worms. For a while I couldn’t find out how to actually use them. See the little tab on the left of your screen once you have equipped your rod? Press ZL and the option to choose worm bait (that you have to have in your backpack) pops up. Just select, and go fish!

Hokko Life Guide

Build more houses: your best bet at first to get things up to speed is to have Rosa build more houses. To move more animals in, go to the inn and you will find visitors to the town, whom you can ask to stay. And once the house is up, don’t forget to click on the little nameplate and choose who you want to move in.

Hokko Life Guide

Oma’s Inn is the Hub

At first, I was a bit disappointed at Oma’s Inn. It seems Oma never had much to tell me, so in the first days I ignored the place. Not a good idea. You see, many new additions come from meeting animals at the Inn. Plus, you can sleep there too, for example for a couple of hours if you want to see if any new shopkeepers arrive. They always come at night.

Captain Hurley:

A major breakthrough for me, was when I met Captain Hurley at the Inn. He is at the Pier on the beach all day, ready to ferry me to the island for 200 coins.

Hokko Life Guide

At the island, you meet Leonard, living in a tent. He collects artefact fragments, and you get an Artefact detector from him to scan for them in the ground.

Hokko Life Guide

Just hold the device while you scour the island, and once the circles go crazy, press Y. It’ll put little flags in the ground where you should dig for artefacts, by doing a little minigame. You don’t need to get your shovel out, just press A on the flag and you’ll dig immediately. Or, you can choose to press A as soon as the little circles go crazy and dig immediately. 

You will not only be able to find artefacts to bring to Leonard, but also geodes. Take these with you, eventually Sally’s workbench will unlock breaking a geode that’s in your pockets by pressing Y. You’ll get gemstones as a reward!

Farmer Aubrey:

Aubrey is another character I met at the Inn. The next day after you’ve talked to him a new path is opened up on the mountain. Going up, you take the second to the left, into a sort of sandy road. Aubrey will be there to get you set up for farming.

Hokko Life Guide

At the farm, you get a crafting recipe for a hoe and watering can, so you can start tending to crops. The seeds can be bought from Aubrey, the same as fruit trees. These trees can be planted around your own meadow too of course.

After you harvest your first crop, go to Oma at the inn who talks about changing our the menu of the inn, and will eventually buy your produce.

Laurus, the fashionista:

Hokko Life Guide
Laurus can be found at the inn too, ready to bring some fashion to Hokko. Two days after you talked to her, the clothing store opens, to the left of the town square next to the Inn. It sells clothes, hats, glasses and shoes. And here, you can also have a makeover and change your hair and colouring.

Hokko Life Guide

Fiore the Painter

Hokko Life Guide

Another character I met in the Inn was a bunny with a painters smock on, called Fiore. Inviting her to live in your town means she needs a house like the other townies. And when she’s settled, Sally workshop will have another work station: a painters easel.

Hokko Life Guide

Clicking on it shows you the design mode for clothes, hats, shoes and also a painting to hang on your wall, a rug on the floor etc. For it to work, you need to have paint in your backpack. Not fabric dye (that would have been more logical, but well…) but real paint. Of course, you can buy the recipe to make various colours from Sally. Another option to buy now has opened up at Sally’s, various paintbrushes.

Choose the thing you want to paint, and open it. You can now choose your paintbrush and paint with X. Pressing the R shoulder button changes the brush size, the L shoulder buttons rotates the design. If you have multiple colours in your backpack and have invested in several paintbrushes you can make real art pieces and designer clothes.

Hokko Life Guide

Major Merits are Super Important

Another important to thing to keep an eye on in the game is the Major Merits. The rewards you get can be a bag of gold coins, but it unlocks other milestones too. Like Moss adding an online order system to his shop, where you can order everything he ever had in his store. Items are delivered to your mailbox. And when you order your first five items online you get a bigger backpack, being able to store 8 more items.

Hokko Life Guide

The achievements tend to unlock in a string. So you have to unlock the first one, for the second and third in the string to trigger. Even though you may have reached the third one first. Like in the example above, where I had already moved five villagers in and had done 8 requests, but I hadn’t yet made interior house changes.

Hokko Life Guide

I remedied that by buying new wallpaper and flooring for some of the villagers and the merits unlocked: I can now make exterior house changes and move houses or demolish them. For the first time, Rosa’s office showed different walls and roofs.

Hokko Life Guide

Hokko Life Guide

The last benefit in this string unlocks once you have completed 15 requests, crafted 50 objects and placed 8 animal homes. For this, you get a contribution box. I placed it randomly in front of one of the houses and pretty soon the animals came through. I even had 6 gold nuggets in there, while I couldn’t yet mine them! And they keep on giving, so be sure to check it often.

Hokko Life Guide

Merit Benefits

You can get benefits from the strangest things, like waving to the animals. Or running in the game by pressing B while walking. That last one is super important, as it unlocks a string you absolutely need to progress. Like the bomb and the bronze axe and pickaxe. One of our readers was kind enough to point me to the right way (thanks Signorina Miao!).

And for those of you who are wandering how to wave: press the R shoulder to do so. And it only counts when an animal sees you waving and acknowledges it. And while we’re at it: you can use emotes by pressing the right button on the D-pad.

Under the Hammer sign:

  1. Regular pickaxe:
    – 35 x rocks smashed
    – 35 x objects crafted
  2. Dig up bags of coins
    – 10 x treasure fished up
    – 50 x items sold
    – 50 x holes dug
  3. Bronze Axe
    – 60x trees felled
    – 25 x trees planted
    – ánd visited the Small Wood
  4. Bronze Pickaxe
    – 75 x rocks smashed
    – 50 x objects crafted
    – ánd visited Mine level 3
  5. ?
    – 100 x trees felled
    – 75 x trees planted

However, to be able to visit Small Wood and the Mine level 3, you have to first unlock another string to get the bomb recipe and a hat with a mine lamp on it.

Under the People sign:

  1. Unlock sprinting
    – 6x objects placed in town
  2.  Unlock the town map
    – 40 x distance travelled
    – 600x time spent sprinting
  3. Bomb recipe
    – 20 x original designs made
    – 2x piece packs purchased from Sally
    – 2x houses placed for animals
    – ánd unlocked piece packs
  4. Miner hat
    – 75 x rocks smashed
    – 15 x clothes changed
  5. ?
    – 20x fished up a boot
    – 3600 x times spent sprinting

Once you unlock the bomb, make one and throw it at the rocks going up the mountain veering to the left. The Small Wood unlocks, with redwoods there. However, you can’t yet chop them as you need a Bronze Axe. And to get that you need silver bars.

First though, you need to make the bronze pickaxe that should now be in your blueprints. With it, go back to the mine, hang a left until you reach the boulders that were blocking you before. You can now smash them, they contain silver. You can now go to mine level 3, but you will need more mine lamps or the miners hat to progress. Harvest silver until you have enough for two bars, and make the bronze axe. You can now fell redwoods and proceed.

Hokko Life Guide

Designing Items

Eventually, you unlock designing your own items. That starts after you have opened up the mine, delved for ores and are able to make a steel bar. Which is also the moment that you unlock the customise button on the design bench/tool.

These are the things you have to make, and you have to wait for one of the villagers to request them:

  • Fix the steel chair
  • Fixing a bookshelf by adding a shelve
  • Take the pink flower decorations off a bed the village gives you (see at the start of the guide)
  • Make a table from scratch (I’ve read online that for custom design’s to be approved by villagers requests you need to use a minimum of 5 pieces within the design and spend roughly about 2-5 minutes on the design. Which would explain why the villagers are often not satisfied…maybe these rules work!)
  • Paint the Picnic Bench blue: you get the picnic bench and the paint, use only those!

I’ve seen some amazing designs online in the Steam game. Of course, the game has been on there for a year already, but I do think working with the pc controls is much easier. I’ve found it difficult going on the Switch to design. This is a pity, as I can easily see it is a favourite part of the game for many players.

Hokko Life Guide

The Design table unlocks slowly, first, you can craft pre-made designs like the bridge. Later on, you can work on something you already have in your backpack. And after that, you can make things from scratch.

Hokko Life Guide

To do this you need to have materials in your backpack, and buy design pieces from Sally. Below each design piece, it shows what materials you need to have in your backpack to actually use them in your design.

Hokko Life Guide

Making something from scratch is difficult as far as I’m concerned. I find it hard to actually move pieces in their right place and to see the depth of things. For example, just when I think a tabletop is resting on the four legs I’ve placed below, turns out it’s hovering above its legs.

As I feel a lot of frustration even trying the basic designs, I’m afraid I don’t have any tips or tricks on how to do it better….. I’m told that with practise, it really should get better. But it’s hard to practice when it’s so frustrating.

What I do know is that when you sell your self-made stuff, the more you add to the creation, the higher the price. You can throw a bunch of random pieces together and get a lot of money out of it!

Opening up de City Center

I talked about how annoying designing can be on the Switch in the chapter above, but the thing is: you have to finish all the tutorial requests for designs. Otherwise you can’t progress to expand your Hokko Life. Because as soon as you have finished your tutorial requests, the City Center will open.

Hokko Life Guide
Traveling to the City Center by train

You travel to it by train from the station for a mere 50G. And in the City Center you can find three stores: the Seasonal Store on the right that is closed a lot. It’s based on real time and opens up for special events like Halloween, Christmas and probably Easter, though I have yet to see that.

On the left is the place that hosts the Creator Challenges, but I haven’t seen that one in action myself yet.

Hokko Life Guide
The City Center

The one in the middle however is amazing. It holds the Creator Stores, where other players upload their masterpieces. Paula, the owner of the store points you to the elevator, and clicking on it you see the creator code for your own game. In there, you can also add a creator code of someone else. Keep in mind that you have to input it as it’s shown, so – included (you don’t need to use capitol letters). Press A to actually go to the store.

Hokko Life Guide
The Creator Stores

What amazes me is that in other peoples store you often see creations that I wouldn’t know where to start with. And you can just as easily choose it and download it to your own game. Be sure though to tick the box at Cross Platform Content in your options (under +)

Hokko Life Guide
In the options menu

Next day, you will find the item in your mailbox and ready to use. Really, I can’t for the life of me see how the author of the Steam guide for Hokko Life (666reddog (9RRP-4S2L)) has made this impressive vivarium. It adorns my living room now too however.

Hokko Life Guide
Very impressive vivarium made by 666reddog (9RRP-4S2L)

Fast Travel Shrines

One of the last updates brought Fast Travel Shrines to Hokko Life. And as it really adds to the fun of the gameplay, I thought it best to add it here too. You can find them dotted in Meadow Area, Town Centre or Beach area and on the Mountain.

Hokko Life Guide
The various shrines you can unlock

Each shrine requires a donation of sorts to unlock. Here’s the list of what you need:

Town Center: 5x Stone Slabs & 10x Clay
Meadow: 10x Wooden Logs & 6x Yellow Petals
Beach: 15x Scallop Shells & 15x Sand
Forest Pathway up the Mountains20x Wooden Logs & 10x Grass Tuffs
Grove: 20x Wooden Logs & 5x Old Boots
Farm: 20x Weed Clumps & 20x Stone
Small Wood: 15x Red Wooden Logs & 5x Red Petals
Moutain Top (entrance to Mine): 20x Wooden Logs & 20x Stone
Mine Level 1: 10x Coal & 20x Stone
Mine Level 2: 10x Iron Ore & 10x Copper Ore
Mine Level 3 (left): 10x Sliver Ore & 20x Stone
Mine Level 4 (right): 5x Raw Diamond & 15x Gold Ore

So, that’s our Guide. Let me know if it helps, and if you’re having fun with Hokko Life.

Hokko Life Guide
An amazing Japanes teahouse that NaniPoni (L9SK-5J3S) made


  1. Thank you so much for your guide, it helped me a lot! I also had a hard time building things from scratch, as well. As for the bomb recipe, you don’t need Hector, I don’t have him and I unlocked the recipe through Mayor Merits (objects placed in town x6, distance traveled x40, time spent sprinting x600, original designs made x20, piece packs purchased x2, houses built x2). Then go to the crafting bench and the blueprint should be there – oh and you’ll love the next reward, helps you see inside the mine without lamps).

      1. Hi Susan, thanks for visiting LadiesGamers! You have to talk to them telling them that it’s done. Most of the time, they ask you to place it in their house. After that, talk to them again!

  2. I agree on the design aspect. I did finally make a big storage container that I wanted to put outside the shop but it took me awhile. It would be easier to do this with a mouse instead of a controller. They should have named all the buttons to used, I had to write them down at first. I kept duplicating everything. Left arrow move, right arrow size,L delete (my favorite button). I also don’t like that the curser mover really slow across the screen. I am thinking about adding a mouse and keypad to the docked Switch to see how that goes but I need a converter first. If it does work out better, then that is the way to go. Of course, handheld will just be game play and docked will be design.

    Have you unlocked the train to the city yet? I have received the letter but everytime I go there it says unavailable. I am pretty sure it’s my internet connection. I need to be where there the is better. In the city, we can get other players creations.

    1. Hi Charlotte! It’ll be interesting to hear if working with a mouse and keypad works any better. The buttons and what they do is a thing they should have added a reference for that you can look back into later on, after the initial tutorial. My biggest problem is not seeing depth, very annoying.
      No, haven’t gotten my City letter yet!

  3. Ok, how in the world can you make a light, with stone, that your villager will accept? “ I’m not lazy but could you spend more time on this?” Really?? I’ve built 4 different lights and they’re not acceptable

    1. Hi there Carrie, thanks for commenting! I know exactly what you mean. They wanted a metal light, so I used my very precious steel bars to make them something, but got a not acceptable. And even adding more steel to it it still wasn’t good enough. I gave up on that one. I didn’t even try to stone one that came after that!

      1. If you hit, I think it the settings button while designing it gives you a bar on the left of screen, if the score is low the villager won’t be happy they seem to accept the item if score is above 5/10.

    2. From what ive noticed the lights need to have a “lap shade” ive been using the hallow half circles and turning them upside down, with the light turned upside down and a curved piece to hold the light. So far using this method they have all been accepted 😀

  4. Thanks so much for this. I was getting really frustrated trying to figure out how to unlock things and there is very little information out there at the moment.

  5. In the city you can get creations from other players. There are very nice ones there (Love it because I suck at designing things in this game) and there is a shop with items for the current season.

  6. Thank you for your guide!! I just got this game…looks like I was on the right track, but this is a big help! Love your reviews and guides! Keep up the good work.

    1. Fairly early on, I tested shutting it down to see if I had kept my progress and I did. So it saves automatically. Only way I’ve found to pause it is to pull up one of the menu screens with X, that’ll pause things in the background.
      And, it’s never a dumb question! Thanks for visiting LadiesGamers!

  7. I would love someone to please tell me how to delete or get rid of items you make and don’t want anymore. You cannot deconstruct them for some reason, nor delete them once you select them? Anyone know what to do?

  8. Your information has been helpful. I use the “Follow Me” after crafting something for a character and they ask you to place it in their house. If they don’t follow you, you will need to find them again and tell them you placed it.

    With unwanted items I just sell them.

  9. Hi everyone, just wondered if anyone else is having problems saving in the workshop, I’ve checked the connection on my switch to the internet every time but it will not save when I build something, to be honest it’s putting me off the game now.

    1. Hi Jo, the stairs unlock as part of the story, you can make them at Sally’s workbench. As soon as you have that, go up the higher part. You will find a gate there to go even higher up the mountain. If you keep going up, you will find the entrance to the mine and the broken bronze pickaxe lying there. Bring it back to Sally who will fix it for you. Good luck!

  10. Hi there! I’m so thankful for your guide! After finding this, I had played quite far into the game, but then I got the error screen after going to the city. To my dismay, I started a different save file, and then I noticed a completely different layout in the meadow! I like it much better! Do you know how many different layouts there are? I can’t find any info anywhere! TIA!

    1. Thank you for reading Monica! Actually that’s news your telling me. As I’ve only played the one game I didn’t know about the different layouts. Not good though that you had to start over, but good that the layout is better!

    1. I hate the design aspect ..it’s too confusing and I have no idea what I’m doing..one thing I noticed for example is,Benny wanted a light so I used a bamboo branch with the light on top and he accepted it(?)I also did a real crappy chair for someone and it was accepted as well.i love the decorating though on the furniture that’s already made though,but I wish they would’ve made it easier.

      1. Hi Casey, nice to see you here! I agree, it’s confusing and not very user friendly. Through the store in the city I was able to download some super cool designs into my game, pre-made and all. But I’m really confused as to how anyone has been able to make something like that. Maybe it works way better in the PC version?

  11. Hi! Your reviews and guides always help me a lot, since I get stuck easily in games, and then start to lose interest. Same this time so thank you!

    Also for people playing this on the Switch: the bridge you need to place by the waterfall, if it doesn’t allow you to place it turn it 180 degrees so the opposite side will be at your end, this should work.

    And I have a question (for the Switch version): how does one access the emote menu, and/ or wave? I just can’t find it and I pressed all the buttons there are… I hope someone knows and can tell me.

    Wish you a super nice day!

    1. Hi Tiny, thanks for your kind comments, that’s exactly why we make such guides and reviews.
      You can wave to villagers by pressing the right shoulder button. Only if the villager was already facing your way it’ll acknowledge you.
      Pressing the right arrow on the D-pad on the Switch will bring up the emotes. You can of course only do this while not in any other menu like your inventory.

  12. Being someone who will be turning 34 in a few days, the 2nd of March actually, it really is wonderful to find something like this, not just the beginners guide but the website itself. Thank you for being willing to share.

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