A couple months back, I took my car in for an oil change. Almost without question, every time I go to the waiting room at the dealer, they’re playing some sort of house renovation show on their lounge TV. I blame that for suddenly wanting to play a house renovation game.
When looking into my options, House Flipper seemed to fit the bill of everything I was looking for. I picked it, and the DLC, up during a sale, and have put a solid 24 hours into the game at this point.
What Is House Flipper?
It’s pretty much what you’d expect — a game about buying crappy, uncared for, burned-out places and making them a desirable place to live. You invest into fixing them up however you wish, then you place them up for sale to the highest bidder.
What this game isn’t — you’re not going to be tearing down houses, building them from scratch, or even building on to the house. All you can work with is the house that’s there – you can open up the floorplan within the house, you just can’t expand to it.
Depending on the DLC that you get, you also can work on gardening and the landscaping around the house. In fact, if you spend time working towards a specific garden aesthetic, you can enter it into a contest that will increase the selling value of a home.
All of this starts with a simple in-game laptop. Here, you can do various things: take on odd jobs, purchase a house, or renovate according to a client’s demands.
Odd jobs are emails that come in that you can accept for a bit of cash. This is how you’ll start out. They’re usually simple things with very precise instructions (paint the wall dark blue, fix the light socket, knock down a wall, plant certain types of trees, etc). You have to meet the client’s expectations to a certain point for the job to be considered done. I always try to go the extra mile and get 100% ratings on all of my odd jobs just because.
Buying a house and fixing it up is just as it sounds. You can spend as much money as you have to put into fixing the house (you’ll always get a profit back from what I see), and design it in any way that you please.
However, there’s a potential set of buyers keeping an eye on what you do and providing feedback on whether they like or dislike the direction you’re taking. For example, the artsy lady likes lots of wall art, the old couple are fond of indoor plants, and there’s one fellow who is dead set on having a desk in his bedroom.
There’s achievements for winning over these different buyers – some are more fickle than others – so that gives you something to shoot for as you tailor a house to catch their eye. Or not. Really, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.
The third type of task comes with the HGTV pack. This one feels like a blend of the odd jobs and the house buying. Your clients have a perfectly good house but they want to spruce it up a bit. You can help choose an outcome between two options that takes you renovation goals in different directions – such as the husband wants a man cave while the wife wants a sauna.
Once you make a choice, the clients direct you to the specific things you need to do to complete the task. Then, I believe once you’ve completed that house, you can choose to buy it and renovate it free-form.
What I Enjoy
Obviously, if I’ve put 24 hours into the game, I’m enjoying it. This kind of thing just appeals to me overall, though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I find the gameplay pretty chill and calming (some might find parts of it redundant).
The more that you use skills, the more points you get to unlock perks that make tasks easier to complete. For example, the more you paint walls, you earn points that allow you to use less paint when painting, paint multiple panels at once, and stuff that just speeds up the process, which is nice.
I keep learning new creative ways to approach houses the more that I play it, as well. There’s a variety if items you can purchase and place – they just released a free steampunk DLC a few weeks back! – and part of making cool builds is learning how to find items in the housing catalogue. I keep running across new things and wishing I’d know about it earlier!
The cherry on top are the before and after pictures in your portfolio that you can go back and browse on your laptop. Not only does it feel good to see how you turned a wreck of a house into a cozy home, but you can also see how your design skills have improved since your first house.
So, if you’re into this sort of thing, and just want a chill gaming experience, I highly suggest it! It sounds like very soon, we’ll be getting Steam Workshop support (exciting!). There’s also a new VR version that just release not long ago, too.