House Flipper by Empyrean
House Flipper is pure fantasy. From Polish developers Empyrean, the game allowed me to do exactly what I thought it would: blow up aliens…wait…buy, renovate and sell houses for profit in an endless loop. That’s what I meant. It’s certainly a game that will not interest everyone, but if you like the idea of creating a beautiful home without the real-life tedium, time pressures and manual labor, it may be one worth checking out.
All in all, if you don’t take any of it too seriously, House Flipper is more of a meditative experience. With no time limits and no external problems to deal with – like budget, uncooperative builders, bad weather etc. – I could really just do whatever I felt like doing at my own pace.
House Flipper by Empyrean
In the beginning, I started out just as a kind of cleaner for hire. People requested through e-mail that I come and clean their garage or redesign a room as a nursery for an impending baby. These jobs involved cleaning rooms with a broom, painting walls, purchasing furniture and fixtures, occasionally repairing wall outlets and so on.
There was always a set list of objectives to hit, but outside of that, I had carte blanche to go as wild and wacky as I wanted. In the end, even if I made the nursery look like an undertaker’s lobby, as long as I put a crib in there, I got paid. In that way, I suppose, the game makes no sense at all, but the unrealistic freedom is part of the fantasy; no matter what artistic designs and choices I made, I could never be judged as “wrong” by my employer. As a failed screenwriter, that’s freeing, let me tell you.
They Call Him Flipper
House Flipper reminded me of those adult coloring books that people enjoy for relaxation, except that here I am allowed to tear down and rebuild the original drawing however I desire. The first few jobs are a tidy (ahem) introduction to the mechanics and systems of the game (they’re not complicated) while also giving me the opportunity to raise money to buy a building to kickstart my business.
And it doesn’t take long to achieve that: my first building was a tiny house that suffered extensive fire damage. I went inside and there was garbage everywhere; the walls were filthy, strewn furniture needed disposing. So I set to work. I scrubbed windows, knocked a wall, painted the interior royal blue, placed wooden paneling on the floors, bought a dining table, a living room set and the like. It took a couple hours to get the house looking how I wanted it to, inside and out. Then I put the final product up for auction and pocketed a nice little extra few bucks to set me up to try again.
Money, I’m Home!
Upgrades became available as I went: the ability to clean wider areas more easily, to plaster walls faster, to make my demolition hammer stronger, to negotiate better payment for a job, paint walls more efficiently. These improvements do help, making certain parts that can be tedious and repetitive a little less so. Painting entire walls can take time, and I found it boring after a while: use the roller, run out of paint, refill the roller.
There’s a lot of detailed assembly, as well. For example, buy a radiator or sink and stick them to the wall. They must then be properly attached with pipes connected by hand, things screwed in etc.
One thing I learned from my debut home was the importance of planning. It seems obvious, but in my eagerness to renovate, I forgot to really decide what I wanted the place to look like so that I could maximize my time and money. In that sense, I felt a strong desire to try a second round to make a better attempt and really create something special.
Homes and Gardens
The fact that I could never manicure the overgrown lawns was a big letdown and equally struck me as a bizarre omission. My lovely new home standing in a disgusting yard does much to dispel the disbelief suspension. And I felt that the choices for in-home items and appliances could be quite limited, particularly in some areas such as the choice of bathroom fixtures. For an “endless loop” type game, it is disappointing.
Overall, though, it was satisfying to release my inner interior designer and – if you like the sight and idea of a mess turned spotless with zero physical effort, which a lot of people do – House Flipper might be the slow-paced, easy time for you. I found it a nice distraction for a while.
House Flipper is available via Steam.
Watch the official House Flipper trailer below: