Go-Go Town Early Access Review – Animal Yass-ing

I’ve made it no secret that I’m a big fan of Animal Crossing. After the hundreds of hours I put into New Leaf and New Horizons over the years, surely my thirst for consequence-free management sims must be sated. Not so! Even after the many hours I spent with Disney Dreamlight Valley, I still feel the hunger for little guys to walk around the town I made and say how good I did on the shrubs. Go-Go Town‘s Early Access release promises to bring that energy to PC players; however, while the vibe is right, it has a long way to go before reaching that same level of polished game design.

Go-Go Town begins the same way all of these kind of games do, setting down your cute little avatar on an empty chunk of land just waiting to have its resources molded into parasols and desk lamps. You’ll get to make your own character, which is great, and I made myself a little cyclops boy with a mohawk wearing glasses clearly intended for people with two eyes. How humorous. A tutorial character explains that you’ll be mining resources from rocks, trees, dirt, bushes and more and using what you find to build out a nice little town.

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Mr. Anderson… what good is a pair of glasses if you don’t have eyes to see…

Once you finish the tutorial, it’s pretty straightforward. Head over to the forest section of the map to harvest wood. Need rocks? Why not mosey on down to the mines. Go-Go Town makes it very clear where the resources you need will come from, and even categorizes the associated machines you’ll need by resource type. The UI could use some work and frankly it looks too much like a cheap mobile game for me, but overall the menu organization makes sense and is easy enough to learn.

The main point of my unending, unrelenting frustration with Go-Go Town makes itself apparent early on. Inventory. At the beginning of the game, you can only carry four items in your backpack at a time. Total. Oh you got four pieces of wood from a single tree? You’re done for the day. Go home. Paired with how far apart everything on this island is and the fact that you must walk everywhere at a gratingly slow pace, it becomes maddening. A small truck that can hold four items becomes available, as well as a bicycle that holds nothing, but now I’m suddenly driving a truck that I can barely control back and forth from the town square to the forest eight times to bring home my wood haul from just a few minutes of harvesting. It is not better.

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Honestly, the music kind of slaps. I like that you can pick what track to play at any time.

Storage containers are open topped and can hold eight items, which again fills up instantly since items of the same type do not stack. The interface for putting things into or pulling them from the containers is head-scratchingly bad, since you just have to stand next to the container and press “Pick up” over and over until you get the thing you want. And since you can only hold four things in your backpack at a time, again not stacked, you’re suddenly caught in a loop of just trying to pick out an item. There’s a button to open inventory exchange which I recommend you use by default, although the interface didn’t seem to register my clicks all the time.

It is very, very slow to get anything done in this game. And that’s not because good things take time – it’s simply a byproduct of the map being as big as it is with the player moving as slowly as they do and with no ability to carry things. Animal Crossing starts players with 20 item slots and features stacking up to 30 of the same item in one slot. Go-Go Town allows players four slots with no stacking. It is my genuine recommendation that the developers start players with a minimum of 15 slots and allow item stacking as well. The entirety of Go-Go Town is picking up and placing items elsewhere. It is unbelievably aggravating to play.

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I appreciate the grid building here; it’s very easy to see what your finished building will look like.

Of course you’ll be building towns too, and with that comes management. New settlers will arrive on the train and you’ll need to build houses and specific features/decorations on the island to convince them to stay, exactly the way Animal Crossing works. One basic house is made of two planks and two bricks, which in turn is made of four wood and four stone, meaning that between the harvesting, converting, and walking back to the build station you’re taking a minimum of six painstakingly slow trips. But I digress. Adding commercial buildings and town features increases happiness, and generally the loop encourages you to scout the further reaches of the map to find more scarce resources to build better stuff.

The characters in this game are all instantly forgettable, and frankly I am not a fan of the art design. While the lighting and graphical quality is impressive, the whole thing still looks like a “mobile game” in the most derogatory way. The character designs suffer most, looking somewhere between off-putting and revolting. For some reason, though, ghosts show up and wander around town at night for no explained reason, which I loved. Having what I suspect are procedurally generated Clash of Clans looking people show up and want to live with you is nowhere near as endearing as well designed anthropomorphic animals.

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My English teacher getting to page 2 of my 10 page paper.

I spent about three hours with the Early Access version of Go-Go Town, and I flat out do not recommend it based solely on the inventory problem. You can increase your bag size later, but the first hours are so miserable to slog through that I don’t think anyone will get that far. If the bag space is tripled or quadrupled at the start, and same items are allowed to stack, then we’ve got something to cook with here. At best, I’d say to wishlist Go-Go Town and keep an eye on it until the 1.0 release, but watch some videos first and make sure you vibe with the art style. If you choose to pick it up, I wish you good luck; I am not planning on returning.

Nirav reviewed Go-Go Town on PC with a review copy.

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