A Delightful Escape into the World of Sanrio
Hello Kitty: Island Adventure is the ultimate mobile game that combines the charm of Animal Crossing with the beloved Sanrio characters we’ve grown to adore. Just hearing about this unique concept is enough to pique anyone’s interest. No screenshots or trailers required.
Apple Arcade has hit the jackpot with their latest exclusive, as this game showcases their commitment to delivering high-quality mobile gaming without annoying ads or microtransactions. Although Hello Kitty: Island Adventure falls short in some aspects of the Animal Crossing formula, it compensates with its infectious positivity and visually pleasing style. It’s like having a summer getaway in your pocket.
Exploring the Island Paradise
From the moment you embark on your adventure, it becomes clear what Sunblink, the developer, aims to achieve. After a cute introduction, where Hello Kitty narrowly avoids disaster with a plane full of adorable animals, you find yourself parachuting onto an island alongside familiar Sanrio characters like My Melody and Keroppi. The first hub area, complete with a furniture shop, clothing store, and town hall, reveals the game’s inspiration from Animal Crossing. The crafting animation even mirrors that of New Horizons.
The homage to Animal Crossing works in Hello Kitty: Island Adventure’s favor. The game seamlessly combines the gentle nature of Animal Crossing with the whimsical charm of Sanrio. Building friendships with the island’s inhabitants by giving them gifts is reminiscent of Persona’s social system, offering a wealth of quests and progression based on the unique personalities of Sanrio characters. You’ll discover new favorites like the mischievously cute Kuromi and the adventurous Chococat along the way.
Not Just Another Animal Crossing Clone
While Hello Kitty: Island Adventure incorporates many Animal Crossing elements, it’s essential to approach the game with the right expectations. It isn’t an exact copy of the series. You won’t have a personal house to decorate, and there’s no 24-hour clock to plan your activities. Instead, you’ll find yourself as a tourist exploring a pre-built Hello Kitty world.
Some aspects of the game may disappoint Animal Crossing fans, such as the limited furniture and clothing options. Hello Kitty: Island Adventure leans more towards a Sanrio collect-a-thon, with a tab full of checklists to complete. However, considering it’s a mobile game, these limitations are understandable. Despite these limitations, the game still provides plenty of entertaining activities, including catching bugs, filling up the museum with fish, cooking recipes, and hunting for hidden Gudetamas all over the islands. All this can be enjoyed while immersing yourself in the game’s warm visual style and breezy soundtrack. Each time you load the game, it feels like a quick escape from reality (ironically, as my job is to write about this game).
A Fusion of Genres
To fully appreciate Hello Kitty: Island Adventure, it’s crucial to embrace it on its own terms. While Animal Crossing is a significant influencer, the development team at Sunblink drew inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as well. This pocket-sized open-world exploration game offers a stamina system for wall climbing and balloons that function like gliders. By viewing the game through this lens, its flow becomes much more understandable.
Upon arrival on the island, your quest log fills up with missions that send you on adventures throughout the sizable open world. Completing small quests unlocks features like a nature museum and a scuba mask for underwater exploration. Additionally, a series of mainline tasks unveils the island’s grand mysteries, leading you into shrine-like puzzle rooms in search of artifacts. Although these puzzles aren’t particularly challenging, they provide a refreshing break from the life simulation aspect.
A Touch of Friction
Combining genres does come with some challenges. Quests primarily depend on reaching certain friendship levels with each islander. However, you can only give each character four gifts per day unless you use a rare item to refresh the limit. After a few hours of play, my focus shifted to gathering resources, crafting specific gifts, and hoping to unlock new quests. This process can sometimes feel slow-paced, making some daily check-ins less fulfilling.
Nevertheless, I eventually got used to the gameplay flow. What I truly desire from a life simulation game is a sense of routine and ritual, and Hello Kitty: Island Adventure provides just that. I find joy in preparing gifts for my friends, collecting more items, and decorating cabins for visiting NPCs like Dear Daniel. In between these moments, I embark on exciting adventures that provide a concrete endgame to work towards, all while baking apple pies with Hello Kitty.
An Island Paradise Awaits
Hello Kitty: Island Adventure doesn’t claim to be a replacement for Animal Crossing, but it offers a 30-hour story and promises additional content in the future. With its abundance of Sanrio cuteness, it’s hard not to become obsessed with this game. Despite some repetitive gameplay loops that prolong the story, it never fails to bring a smile to my face whenever I launch the game. And the absence of irritating microtransactions ensures a pleasant experience, making it a refreshing escape from the sometimes overwhelming landscape of mobile gaming (just remember to have an Apple Arcade subscription). Soak up those good island vibes.
Hello Kitty: Island Adventure is available now on iOS devices via Apple Arcade.