The moment I was born into a new life in One Hour One Life, I appeared right next to my mother, who was controlled by another player. She carried me around and took proper care of me, keeping me well-fed. She explored the wilderness and I followed her closely, wondering what our next move was going to be. After a wild encounter with a group of aggressive buffalo, I get separated from my mom and slowly wasted away in the harsh dunes…
While that’s a little depressing for a first impression, this whole ordeal was our introduction to One Hour One Life and it could have not explained the game any better. As the name suggests, a player’s lifespan is exactly a real-time hour. One minute equals one year of in-game time, so it’s up to you to make the most out of it.
At its core, One Hour One Life can somewhat be summed up as a mixture of Minecraft and Civilization. You start out the game as a naked uncivilized human, and you must craft crude tools to help you survive the wilderness. As you get better at surviving, so does your thinking skills, and eventually you will start crafting modern marvels.
But it’s all of the things that happen in between that makes One Hour One Life so fascinating. The game plays on a persistent server that you pick, meaning that all player interactions with the world are saved forever. As we mentioned, you have a limited amount of time before your character passes due to old age, so you have to leave your mark on the world in some way.
Even if you don’t live too much of a fulfilling life, maybe your children will! One Hour One Life keeps a family tree of your generations, and as you are reborn back into the world as a new character, your progress in the world is still intact. This means that through constant work and player cooperation, the community can truly create its own civilization.
But remember: the wilderness can be a merciless place, so you will need to keep yourself healthy. Eat often, stay warm in the cold and don’t overheat in the sun, and build yourself some shelter. Without taking proper care of yourself, you might not even live to see the full hour of your life. This goes double for any players who spawn in as your babies – they require full attention for them to grow up healthy!
At the same time, the complete surprise that can be a typical life is one of One Hour One Life’s most enjoyable features. You might have a tragic incident with some animals. You might be left for dead by a neglectful player. There’s no telling what will happen between lives, so make each one count.
With that said, One Hour One Life’s main controls are a bit clunky. Movement is done by tapping where you want to go, but interacting with objects and using tools is when the trouble starts. All actions are performed by swipes, but you must start your swipes in certain spots to perform specific actions, like eating the food you are currently holding.
While it sounds simple enough – and it does work generally – the controls still feel very clumsy and occasional unintended moves will keep happening. As of writing this review, the developers have released an update that shows a small tutorial video of how to perform each action, with a detailed demonstration of how to swipe. It helps a bit, but it won’t fix the mechanical underlying problems.
Despite this, One Hour One Life still remains a fantastically unique experience that will please survival and building gamers all over with its in-depth complex crafting system and the ability to move forward through generations of technology. Build a thriving legacy with friends, and watch all of your hard work come to fruition.
One Hour One Life is available on the iOS App Store.