Hogwarts Legacy‘s best kept secret is that it has a Chao Garden and Sims 4-like decorating. For those of you who don’t know, the Chao Garden was a game within a game that helped shape a lot of gamers’ childhoods. The specific game was Sonic Adventure 2 and the Chao Garden was a place where you could raise your own little hellion or angel Chao. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with what Sims 4-like decorating is, go play Sims 4.
For those of us who grew up with Sonic Adventure 2’s Chao Garden and fell in love with decorating in Sims 2 and continue to love it in Sims 4, Hogwarts Legacy has more nostalgia trips than just going back to school. The game has its own version of a Chao Garden and has Sims 4 levels of decorating — both of which are the best progression hooks in the game.
What is the Chao Garden and Sims-Like Decorating in Hogwarts Legacy?
As you can read in our review, Hogwarts Legacy is filled with things to do. You’ll be unlocking spells by going to classes, learning how to brew potions and grow plants, running errands for local townsfolk, exploring dangerous dungeons, defeating powerful enemies, exploring the Hogwarts valley on a Hippogriff, all while playing through the main story. While all of that is fun in its own right, the main prize of Hogwarts Legacy is hidden in the Room of Requirement.
Like many things in Hogwarts Legacy, the Room of Requirement, a magical room that transforms into anything its user needs, is unlocked when you make enough progress through the main story. In it, you’ll be taught how to decorate the room with conjuration spellcrafts, which is just Hogwarts Legacy’s term for decorations, and you’ll get a Vivarium, which is a sanctuary world for the beasts you find and rescue.
At first, the Vivarium and the spellcrafts only seem like extra gameplay loops baked into Hogwarts Legacy just like everything else. However, once you’ve finished Hogwarts Legacy’s main story, obtained all the spells, and are tired of side quests, the last hooks left happen to be the best ones.
Why is the Chao Garden and Sims-Like Decorating Great in Hogwarts Legacy?
The actual decorating and customizing is very detailed and satisfying and the spellcraft treasure hunting gives your late-game exploration purpose. As you explore every nook and cranny of Hogwarts Legacy, you’ll find that you’re stumbling upon more and more spellcrafts. The more spellcrafts you find, the more expressive you can be in your Room of Requirement.
This gameplay loop of scouring the open world for spellcrafts and returning to use them to decorate your Room of Requirement is a joy that feels great on multiple levels. Okay, it’s not as deep as Sims itself, but the level of customization is surprising and the gameplay loop of exploring Hogwarts Legacy for more decorations is unique.
And for the Chao Garden, finding different kinds of beasts and pairing them together in the best Vivarium (because you’ll unlock four), is equally satisfying as the Sims-like decorating. You can feed, pet, name, and breed your beasts which allows you to feel a sense of attachment, the Vivarium sanctuaries are gorgeous and have the best music in the game, and you can find specific spellcrafts structures for your Vivarium and spellcraft toys for your beasts to enjoy. Oh, and you can catch shiny versions of each beast, so sprinkle in some Pokemon influence as well. It’s like owning your own little zoo.
If you’re not sure about Hogwarts Legacy or are worried that there won’t be much to do when you’ve beaten the main story, rest assured knowing that the Sims-like decorating and the Chao Garden in Hogwarts Legacy are the some of the best features the game has.
I literally had to pry myself away from throwing down a new rug, redesigning the walls, and creating a fence for my beasts to write this article, so to wrap it up, you should check out the Chao Garden, Sims-like decorating, and spellcraft hunting in Hogwarts Legacy. It is really addicting and super fun. Bye!
Hogwarts Legacy is available now on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. It will be available on April 4, 2023, on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and on July 25, 2023, on Nintendo Switch.