One Hour One Life’s simple presentational style belies an incredible level of richness and detail. You’ll encounter stones, animals, plants, and innumerable other items on your travels through the game. Everything you pick up can be broken down to its core elements, which in turn can be used to create new items, such as tools and supplies.
It’s crafting, but not as you know it. Because each game only lasts an hour, there’s no time for cumbersome details like recipes and crafting tables. To create a new item you just have to hold a finger down on an object to see all of the ways you can turn it into another object.
This slick interface makes it terrifyingly easy to vanish down a rabbit hole as you explore the many branches of the tech tree in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, there’s always an alert to refocus your attention, generally reminding you to eat.
One of the most intriguing things about One Hour One Life is the way it handles communication with other players. There’s chat, but you can only express yourself properly once you reach adulthood. During the early stages of each life you’re limited to a few characters, just like a real human infant.
This eccentric novelty underlines the developer’s determination to create an authentic experience that encourages real social behaviour.
And it works. If you take the time to observe how other players carry on, you’ll see that they generally cooperate with activities like looking after children until conditions become more difficult, at which point they become insular and self-centred.