"House Flipper" Game Review: Gameplay Overview, Pros and Cons!
If you've ever enjoyed building houses in The Sims games more than you actually enjoyed playing, then you'll probably really love House Flipper.
Developed by Polish indie studio, Empyrean, the game puts the player into the role of a one-person renovation crew. It's your job to buy run-down homes, demolish walls and rebuild them, exterminate pests, clean up messes and restore water damage, paint walls, lay flooring, install appliances, decorate the interior, and then put the house back on the market and “flip” it for a higher profit.
You can buy House Flipper on Steam for Windows and OS X devices. The game is also available for play PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch consoles.
"House Flipper" System Requirements
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: Windows 7 (64-bit) or newer
- Processor: Intel Core i3 3,20GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 955 3,2 GHz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GTX 560 / AMD R7-260X
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 4 GB available space
Playing the Game
The game's first-person perspective and 3D graphics definitely give off a realistic feel, and the level of detail for renovation is quite good. You're responsible for every aspect of redesign; from the big jobs, like using a mallet to slowly break down the walls, to going through each step it takes to install electrical outlets. Your skills level up the more you use them, giving you the ability to install things quicker, or paint more walls with one swipe of the paint brush.
Once you've gutted a house, cleaned it and repaired the broken appliances, you can decorate it with a variety of furnishings, décor, wallpaper, paint, carpets and tiles. There's options for creating living room spaces, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, libraries, and, oddly enough, a sauna.
After you've renovated the house to something befitting a front page spread of 'Architectural Digest' you can put the house back on the market and sell it to a list of preset “buyers.” Each buyer has certain needs in mind (some want large bedrooms, some won't buy a house with too much clutter, or a computer in the bedroom, etc.) and the game runs an auction, where the highest bidder wins. Use your profits to buy another worn down house on the market, and repeat!
There's also some “mini-games” where you're given particular renovation or clean-up jobs, sent to you by e-mail via clients (for example, one client asks for the player to come to their place and turn their spare bedroom into two rooms for their children, by adding a wall and painting).
I've played about 22 hours in the game and have really enjoyed my time so far. There's something really cathartic about taking a run-down dump and building it up into a stylish, clean home.
There's a decent selection of furniture and decorative items to choose from. I really enjoy the fact that you can completely gut a house and tear down all the walls, and rebuild your own floor plan within.
There's also a really neat ability to import any .jpg into the game and use it on several canvas sizes as custom artwork.
The game isn't without its faults. You can only customise a house so much; you can't move windows currently, you can't tear down exterior walls or move the front or back doors, and there's no half-wall option besides a clunky ability to put in inlet walls, which you can only place from the ceiling down.
There's also just not enough furniture for an interior design game. I compared House Flipper with The Sims in the beginning of this review, but I have to say that I think The Sims 4 (the most recent installation in The Sims game series) had more furniture in its base game than House Flipper does.
The buyers are my least favourite part of the game. It's tricky to design to their specifications, and some of the things they ask for make literally no sense. For example, the single bachelor “nerd”, Chang Choi, asks for a study space near his bed, which is fine, but the game doesn't trigger for him to buy the house until you delete the bathroom (what?!) and put in some children's toys. He doesn't have kids. I don't get it. For the most part, I ignore the buyers and just design the homes I want to make.
The whole idea of flipping the houses isn't that much of a motivator, really. There's never been a time I finished a house and no one would buy it; one of the buyers always does, and it means nothing if the other buyers reject it. Flipping the homes for profit only means you can buy more expensive homes in the game, but eventually, you'll end up with more money than you could possibly need. There's no other incentive to buy or flip, other than that's what the game tells you to do. It'd be nice if your agency could have a reputation, or if you really could design a house specifically for a particular client and then “fail” if you don't design to their needs.
Emperyan has focused lately on releasing some DLC (downloadable content) for the game, which has added a lot more options and substance.
The "Garden Flipper” DLC gives players the ability to cut grass, design lawns, add outdoor furniture and more. I wasn't a huge fan of this pack, as the lawn design seems overwhelming and a bit tedious; having to cut lawns with the bush trimmer (you do unlock a lawn mower, which was added post-release, a bit later on) and design gigantic areas of lawn click-by-click by adding in grass, bushes and plants isn't really as fun as I'd imagined it would be. Also—and maybe this is just me—I never really have inspiration for designing a yard, so mine always look particularly lackluster.
The "HGTV" DLC is a bit more immersive. In this DLC, there's a new map which allows you to pick jobs from customers who want certain interior design renovations. It's up to you to redecorate their house to their wishes, which is a lot of fun (and much easier than trying to design houses for buyers in the base game)! In addition to the new gameplay and map, there are more houses to buy and flip, and a TON of new lovely objects: new furniture, wallpaper, flooring, etc. The "HGTV" DLC is worth buying just for the new objects alone!
The devs are continuously adding to the game with free updates, which have included more furniture options and gameplay optimisation.
They've also added seasonal updates which have included Halloween, Christmas Valentine's Day, and Father's Day-themed décor.
So far, there's been one free “Apocalypse Flipper” DLC update which added on grungy, survival-themed décor, and bunker objects for “doomsday prepper” buyers.
The Future of "House Flipper"
The game developers haven't officially commented on supporting mods for the game, but I think House Flipper would really benefit from an active modding community. Just like in The Sims, fans could add in millions of objects that can be used in the game; new furniture, wallpaper, décor, etc. I sincerely hope modding is added to House Flipper, as I can really see user-created content breathing new life into the game.
I'm also looking forward to more DLC being added, and obviously, more houses to buy, furniture to decorate with, and wallpaper and flooring to design with, too.
Final Verdict: 3/5 stars
All in all, House Flipper is definitely an enjoyable game. It's got some great game play mechanics, and it's really fun building a house pretty much from the ground up and being able to decorate it. The flipping aspect of the game leaves much to be desired, so perhaps the game should just be called “House Design”, but it's still fun either way. I think the game will only get better with more DLC (I'd even pay for some add-on furniture) and hopefully, modding support, in the future.
(Update: My rating has now increased to 4/5 stars, with the inclusion of the "HGTV" DLC)
Have You Played House Flipper?
Have you played House Flipper yet? Do you agree with my review? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments section below!
© 2019 Brittany Brown