The sim game genre has expanded quite a bit over the years. We’ve had planes, trains, mechanics, warehouse workers, buses, and now home repair. It was bound to happen eventually, and here we are.
The concept of doing home repair only to sell it back on the market, aka flipping one’s home, seems like the perfect match in the simulation genre. Buy something, rebuild, then sell for a profit; it’s an enticing gameplay loop. If the fitting gameplay wasn’t enough, home flipping shows are something of a hot commodity on TV, so its kind of the “it” thing right now.
You begin your career in House Flipper as a regular joe in a small run-down shack taking on cleaning jobs for a variety of clients. These come the way of kitschy emails. They try to give some flavor to what you’re doing these tasks for but leave me sighing at their content. I mean coming in to clean up after a bunch of college kids trashed the place is one thing, but it a bit corny when I need to repaint the walls a muted color because your roommate likes weird colors and you want to get rid of them before they return.
The game does ease you into the different game mechanics, so the painting I mentioned earlier will be unlocked as you progress through a few jobs. You’ll eventually be able to clean dirt, vacuum bugs (or toggle to glass if bugs creep you out), paint walls, install wood floors, tile walls & floors, install bathroom fixtures, and tear down & build walls. By the end of your progression, you can buy a home and remodel the inside how you see fit, and even furnish it.
To help you make your way through the game, you’ll unlock perks as you play. They’re simple things like consuming less paint or taking less time to do a task, but it genuinely helps make the game more palatable. The first perk I can recommend maxing is locating dirt on the mini-map. Sometimes it can be incredibly challenging to find the dirt spots you miss. So being able to see it on your map is a huge time saver. Unfortunately, it isn’t 100%, so there were times I only had 99% of the dirt cleaned in a room and spent another 15 minutes trying to locate a faintly visible dirt spot. It’s issues like this that can cause someone to outright give up on this game. Sure, some tasks only require a certain percentage to pass, but as a completionist, I can’t leave “till all are done.”
So you may be asking how you go about doing these tasks? Using a Keyboard + Mouse setup or a Gamepad, the actual mechanics are pretty basic. Cleaning requires you to click on trash to throw out while dirt, stains, and cobwebs need you to pull out a brush and hold down a button till it gradually disappears. On the opposite end, to paint you hold down a button over a section of the wall till it is solidly filled in. The mechanics vary a bit when it comes to demolishing as there is some physics at play here. Walls will begin to break where the hammer is pointed and will crumble in reasonably accurate representation. In the base game, there are no outdoor tasks to complete, but the Garden Flipper add-on does just that for you. You’ll have to shell out a few more bucks for that one though.
That’s about it for the game; it’s all a loop. The end goal for most is to buy your own vacant home and fix & furnish the way you like. But even that will begin to wear thin. With that said, there is something inherently relaxing about the whole ordeal. To me, something is soothing about doing menial tasks like cleaning. It must be something to do with there being a definitive start and endpoint. Add in the fact that they throw in a percentage meter letting me know when each room has been 100% cleaned, and it’s Viscera Cleanup Detail all over again for me. House Flipper is the perfect game to play when you need to distress from the day and one that is good to chill with. It may not be the most engaging game, but it sure is one that hit my inner needs.
A Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes