If you’re anything like me, the idea of wrapping up on the couch with a cozy game sounds like the perfect weekend in. While 2020’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons scratched the itch that I had felt since its previous 3DS entry, something about it just didn’t hook me in the way I was hoping. Maybe it was the limited scope of things or the countless updates that finally brought content to the game just a little too late. For the longest time, I’ve been searching for something that finally hit the same feeling as my beloved Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and I may have found it on Steam. Enter Go-Go Town!, the newest indie that hasn’t even been released and is already creating too much serotonin in my brain.
Rev Up Your Chainsaws… Wait, What?
From the start, I was immediately drawn in by its graphical style. Everything looks squishy, and the pastel colors look incredible on the screen, while the colorful and almost clay-like appearance of the world had me intrigued and wanting more. But there’s only so much hype that screenshots and videos can give you, you know? That’s when I was pleased to see that the developers, Prideful Sloth, had posted something on Go-Go Town! Twitter account that got me excited.
A limited-time digital demo? This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Eager to jump in, I was unprepared to watch the entirety of my day go swirling down the toilet. I couldn’t draw myself away. Was this the spiritual successor to New Leaf that I’d been waiting for? It’s hard to say since many features aren’t fully added to the game, but it’s the closest thing I’ve ever gotten to the initial boost of happiness that I felt when booting up my 3DS and that shiny new copy of Animal Crossing all those years ago.
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What Makes Go-Go Town Special?
Booting into the game for the first time, you’re given a random avatar that you’ll get to play as. In the final game, I would only assume that there would be some form of customization to create the character of your dreams, but it’s not here just yet. With my bushy blonde ponytail bobbing with every step I took, I began to explore the town around me. Things looked… empty? To say the least. But that quickly changed once I realized what I would be doing.
I would be building the town from scratch. That’s right, you get the build and customize your entire town, and you don’t just need to sit back and wait for the folks that live in your area to donate pennies while you fund the project. You get to explore mines full of rocks, which you must throw into a machine to get bricks, which must then be stored to build buildings. You get to set the size, shape, and idea of what you would want to build, so you aren’t limited to placing a specific building in a specific location. This world is yours to control and shape, which excites me.
After gathering the necessary materials and building my first fast food stand, which was one of the available choices for that particular building type, I wanted to explore again and see what else I could do. You’re immediately tasked with creating three more shops, a job that I took on with excitement and joy rather than a feeling of monotony.
After running into a few of these characters while exploring the town, I wasn’t expecting to give them jobs right away, but here we are. You’ll be able to select the perfect character to run your shop, so you can keep things themed exactly how you’re hoping to. Let’s say you build a big arcade on the main strip. Who better than Rusty to run this hall full of classic machines? It’s a great touch and a unique way to give your town some personality.
The ability to shape and choose the look of your town is what has me already foaming at the mouth for more Go-Go Town, and the fact that this is just the pre-alpha playtest has me eager to jump into the final game already.
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Rolling Around At The Speed Of Sound
One of the unfortunate parts of Animal Crossing is the inability to use certain items. Yes, you can walk into the Nook Shop and purchase a Bike, but it’s… not really used for anything besides being something pretty to look at? So when I first came across a bike on the side of the road, I figured it was just part of the decoration. Oh, but I was wrong. I hopped right on and started tearing a path through the town on my new-fangled wheelie-ma jig, leaving a cloud of dust behind me everywhere I went. I was also pleased to see a skid of rubber behind me after slamming the brakes, trying to whip around a corner at full speed.
These interactive moments look to revitalize the genre and make it more exciting and accessible than it has been in the past. While the original Animal Crossing included the ability to play old-school NES games, the level of intractability with the world around you has always felt like a sore spot to me. It seems that Go-Go Town! is digging into my mind and pulling out ideas to make the perfect video game for me to lose an entire weekend to.
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According to the Steam Page, it also looks as if Go-Go Town! will include different multiplayer options, so you can get together with your friends and wreak havoc in the neighborhood. Well, maybe not that extreme, but you’ll be able to explore the depths together, partake in some fishing, and other activities that will be added in the upcoming months. While time will only tell what kind of multiplayer will be available, consider my wife and I early adopters.
While Go-Go Town! has a while to cook in the oven before it’s ready to hit the shelves, I can only stress that those looking to find a new cozy city builder give this one a look. If the beautiful presentation doesn’t draw you in, the engrossing and engaging gameplay will. I was charmed from the moment I saw it, and I already cannot wait to sink countless days of my life into it.