Go-Go Town! uses the iconography of cozy life sims to create an atmosphere with a lot more bite. The friendly user interface, intentionally soft-edged art style, and smart design choices manage the difficult balancing act of wholesome and unsettling, to great effect. No jump scares in this demo, though; only the horrors of unfettered capitalism. Oh, and that duffel bag that occasionally squirms, but don’t worry about that.
Parts and Crafts
After suddenly being told you’re now the mayor of Go-Go Town!, TownCo agents, who definitely only have the town’s best interests at heart and nothing else, walk you through the basics of harvesting, mining, and crafting. I wandered off after the first steps, wanting to poke at the edges of the town before I got too deep in minutia. Even outside of the dodgy dialog with TownCo, it was clear something was up.
The aforementioned duffel bag that squirms, the agents’ jumpy idle animations, the shiny blue bits on the ground which were literal litter. On top of all that, a single button press pulled up a people menu where townsfolk were listed off with no further details. Interesting…
Satisfied, I dove back into mining and crafting, assembling pallets of planks and stone. The TownCo agent was pleased with my efforts, instructing me to build a store nearby. I placed it a few feet behind me, too eager to make a fuss about the town’s layout. A store constructed itself in a few minutes, with a celebratory red ribbon tied to the outside.
Bewildered, I cut it myself to little fanfare. I pulled up the townsfolk menu again and assigned a hapless wolf man to work at this shop, selling pet rocks. Those pet rocks were, you guessed it, made from the rocks in the mine.
Profit or Leave It
After supplying my little shop, I wandered off again, this time spotting a bike. I sped through town for a few blocks, knocking over townsfolk and zooming around the map. Another resident was catching fish, but seemed absorbed in their work.
I lingered by the train station long enough to see a stream of visitors pop in, beelining for the nearest (only) shop. Visions of currency danced in my head. Motivated, I returned to the task at hand, building a few more shops, introducing automation, and coming to grips with the day-night cycle.
Overall Impressions of Go-Go Town!
Go-Go Town! sidesteps the pitfalls of its contemporaries by using a streamlined interface and genuinely addressing some of the complaints of its peers. Shops are instant, transport is fast, the soundtrack (which in a nice touch, credits each song at the bottom of the screen) slaps.
Satire, parody, whichever you believe in—they all come from a place of genuine respect. The small details peppered throughout the Go-Go Town! demo have me convinced the team loves a good creepypasta just as much as they love Animal Crossing proper. The balance of cute and unsettling won’t be for everyone, but I’m intrigued by the capitalism-meets-creepy premise.
Go-Go Town! is set to release on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo in 2024, so I’ll follow up on the full game then! May the pet rocks be ever in your favor.
To see more of our indie game coverage, check out Press SPACE to Jump’s indie section! Looking for a cute and cozy indie game to play? Read GameSandwich’s review on Mail Time, an adorable game about mail delivery, and see if it’s worth picking up.