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Go-Go Town! Review (PC)

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Go-Go Town! Promotional Art

Scoot aside, Tom Nook — there’s a new fish in town, and it’s delivering a delicious bouquet of colorful biomes, flora, and cultural traditions to the table. Yes, it is here, and it just so happens to be stealing most, if not every waking hour of my time, thanks to its simple yet charmingly clever design and progression system. For those who’ve yet to connect the dots, I’m talking about the newly appointed city management sim, Go-Go Town!—a single-player whirlpool of joy and creativity that simply oozes harmonious vibes and communal prosperity left, right, and center. Alas, it has arrived, and it’s currently on the verge of holding a candle to Animal Crossing’s legacy…and setting it ablaze.

Go-Go Town, in case you’ve yet to embark on your own phishing expedition into the bottomless depths of its world, is a city-building and life simulation game at heart. Like Animal Crossing—a game that houses a lot of the same features and wholesome themes—Prideful Sloth’s latest entrée comes loaded with a tapestry of features, including customizable characters and landmarks, quests and activities, and enough social interactions to make the Royal wedding seem like a children’s tea party. And that’s only scratching the outer layer of a much, much larger canvas, too.

So, is Go-Go Town worth dipping your toes into? Or a better question would be, is it worth sidelining the likes of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for? Well, as I said earlier: Tom Nook oughta scoot aside for a moment, because he’s about to bear witness to one of the greatest ascension arcs in city-building history. Don’t believe us? Then let’s talk.

Get Up and Go

It won’t take a great deal of effort to introduce the basic premise of this particular piece, to be fair, as it more or less adheres to a similar concept as, say, My Time at Portia, or any rags-to-riches farming sim, for that matter. In a nutshell, Go-Go Town sees you with the task of breathing new energy into the soil of a fairly rundown town—a world in which, if you can believe it, the inhabitants are relatively unsatisfied with the town’s natural beauty, and as a result of that, long for a helping hand to aid their efforts to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. And that, unsurprisingly, is where you come in, Mr Mayor. That’s right, you are, whether you like it or not, the mayor — and it’s your job to overlook the restoration process.

Go-Go Town is all about one thing, in particular: establishing the roots for an idyllic town that not only boasts the respective qualities of a communal hub, but also a haven for fledgling tourists to explore and, with any luck, settle down in as a future citizen. This, amongst countless other mayoral duties that take shape in later portions of the campaign, is where you begin your journey — bound for a vast horizon of impeccable beauty and prosperity, and tied to one promise: to make the so-called Go-Go Town a bastion of pride for the fellow go-getters and backpackers alike. Sounds all rather complex when you look at it — but it isn’t; on the contrary, it’s all rather simple, and it helps, too, that there are no time limits fastened to any of these goals, but rather, an open calendar that allows you to navigate at your own leisure. Phew.

A Little of This

Go-Go Town is as much of a social endeavor as it is a renovation project, as it not only invites you to collect resources and construct various properties and landmark and what have you, but also befriend the locals and embark on copious amounts of quests and other interactive adventures, too. Granted, none of these things are particularly convoluted; in fact, they’re all pretty straightforward and easy to flow with. Suffice it to say that, if you can tap a few buttons and uncover a few materials along the way, then you’ll probably have what it takes to turn a lump of coal into a diamond, etcetera etcetera. And that, really, is about as deep as its gameplay goes: you forage, build, chat, and start from scratch, only with better items, tools, and blueprints to help fund even more ambitious projects. Can’t complain there.

There is, of course, a certain sense of satisfaction in the simple nature of the loop that you embark upon in Go-Go Town. In addition to the city’s ongoing efforts to promote tourism, there’s also the case of having to sift through various themed biomes, whether it’s to harvest rare materials or ores to construct better buildings, or build and monetize supply chains to elevate the economic growth of the region. Whatever it is you find yourself doing in Go-Go Town, there is always a reward to be found. And honestly, it’s little things like these that make the game the real delight that it is. For every stone you turn over, and for every stall, restaurant, or household you build, there’s a perk — and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy rifling through these rocks like a self-made geologist.

Let it Grow

Aside from the scattered areas that flesh out the wondrous world of Go-Go Town, there’s also the in-game currencies to consider—a two-for-one feature that consists of coin, an item that needs no formal introduction, and Ego, a currency that allows you to unlock even greater rewards as you progress through the motions. In a typical rags-to-riches format, you begin with next to nothing in your back pocket, and then gradually carve away at a catalog of some sort to discover and unlock new items for your collection. Again, it’s a simple process, and one that isn’t exactly marred by incomprehensible puzzles or drawbacks — and that, really, is why I fell in love with it right from the get-go. Sure, it saddled me with a contextless story, but the fact that it made me want to hang around and delve a little deeper into its roots certainly speaks volumes.

Chore core work cast aside for a moment, Go-Go Town does also benefit from a colorful cast of characters and whimsical elements, as well as a buttery animation style that feels elegant and wholesome to marvel at. Add the fact that it also sports a charming soundscape and natural beauty in all corners of its vast open world, and you’ve got a fantastic banquet of components, truly. And just to echo, this is an early access game, which means there’s still plenty more left to uncover in the pipeline. I can’t say what’s going to happen in future updates, but for what it’s worth, I’m hardly bothered, for I clearly have more than enough to keep me ticking over for the next, I don’t know, six weeks?

Verdict

If you was to ask me whether or not Go-Go Town was capable of overtaking Animal Crossing three years ago, I probably would’ve laughed it off—discarded it, even, as the mere thought of a game being better, both mechanically and visually speaking, wouldn’t have felt natural. And yet, here we are, staring into the world that is, in all fairness, a pretty convincing torchbearer of a sandbox sim. Of course, I can’t help but serve out some level of praise to Nintendo’s beloved beacon of pride, as a lot of Animal Crossing’s core assets are indeed in the scripture of Go-Go Town’s code. With that said, there is a sense of originality here, and whilst you could argue that the two are descendants of the same gene pool, I will say this: Go-Go Town does seem awfully capable of sporting its own distinctive strand of DNA and identity.

What comes as a surprise to me, really, is the fact that Go-Go Town is still in its early access phase; it doesn’t strike me as being in that, as it more or less functions the same way as a finalized product that touts all of the bells and whistles of a sustainable city-building sim. What I mean to say is that, while we’re still only barely scratching the surface of the world in question, it appears that Prideful Sloth hasn’t exactly held back on unleashing its true power at the first hurdle. As for whether or not it will gradually improve over the coming weeks, months, or years is another question. Either way, if this is what Go-Go Town is willing to share at first dawn, then I certainly cannot wait to see what comes knocking before twilight.

Go-Go Town! Review (PC)

Tom Nook’s Quaking in His Boots

Go-Go Town commemorates the ever-evolving realm of life and city-building simulators by way of introducing a flawlessly interactive world that’s both highly immersive and wholesome. Aside from its customization options being plentiful, it’s also chock-full of engaging characters, quests, and moments of adventure. Sure enough, it’s a great game, and definitely one that has the power to make the likes of Animal Crossing quake in its own boots.

Jord is acting Team Leader at gaming.net. If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.