I, like many people, occasionally find myself watching HGTV and following along with the antics of house flippers. The idea that people can buy run-down houses, renovate them, and then sell them for a profit is practically the perfect job. Of course, most people don’t do it because they don’t have the time or money to start the process.
House Flipper, out now on PS4 for $29.99, lets you live out this dream in a virtual space. Should you dive into this world of repairs, renovations, and tons of cleaning? Let’s find out.
An Idea That Could Have Easily Flipped or Flopped
House Flipper is one of those ideas that comes out of left field and demands your attention. I never thought I wanted a game about renovating and selling houses, but as soon as I found out it existed, I had to try it.
The game starts you out with a small shack of a home office that in and of itself could some love. You also get some seed money, but a steady stream of paid jobs allows you to come to terms with the game’s controls and options. It also lets you bolster your starting funds before you buy a house to work on as your own project.
The jobs are a great way to ease players into everything. Some task you with painting a few rooms, others ask for replacements or repairs. Very often, you’ll find yourself replacing radiators for some reason.
The small email explanation for each job can sometimes be odd or funny if you want some backstory with your manual labor. Once you’ve gotten your bearings, you can purchase your first house using the laptop in your hub office and get to work on sprucing it up.
You can always practice on your starter space too, which allows you to clean up, paint, and decorate like any other house in the game. When you’re actually out there in the real world, working a job or improving your own house, the game offers you a lot of options.
A handy radial wheel menu lets you quickly pull out tools for cleaning, painting, tiling, selling objects, wrecking down walls, and so on. You start with basic tools and skills, but interestingly enough, House Flipper has an RPG levelling system of sorts that allows you earn skill points as you perform tasks.
Tired of painting walls one small slice at a time? You’ll soon get a point you can put into the ability to paint across multiple spaces at once. The same goes for cleaning, which can be upgraded to allow for more efficient cobweb dusting or mopping.
Your tools themselves are upgradeable as well using these skill points. So, while you may start with ragged looking tools, they will soon become superior versions that look more like a professional’s toolset.
Things like cleaning, painting, or picking up trash are very easy to grasp. Even the more complex things, like installing wiring, air conditioning, power outlets, radiators, sinks, and so on, walk you through the steps to finish the task.
It would be interesting in situations like these to challenge the player and force them to correctly decide how something should be placed or wired. As it stands, the process is mostly guided, but does allow for some detail visually when you’re working with household appliances or electrical installations.
When you open your tablet during a project, there’s a massive store full of different things to buy and place in the house. It’s organized into categories and utilizes a cursor on-screen controlled with the left analog stick.
A handy search feature also lets you quickly locate things like specific paint colors and works great in practice. It’s here that House Flipper lets you add your own flair to the proceedings. There’s a great variety of styles in the paint, tiles, furniture, and decorations.
Even things like cabinets and doors have unique options for you to choose from. Throw in the ability to knock down just about any wall you like with your sledgehammer, and the customization feels pretty expansive in House Flipper overall.
The simple tasks, like picking up garbage or painting and tiling, can become tedious in the opening hours of the game. They become less repetitive as you upgrade your skills, and some people may relish in the rhythmic nature of sweeping or painting, but I think some many wish there was a way to automate some of these more simplistic tasks.
When it comes time to sell your house, you’ll notice that potential buyers weigh in with their opinions as you work. Actions will trigger a positive or negative reaction on the left side of the screen, and checking the buyer section of the tablet will help you see what they expect in terms of the house’s features or layout.
Appeasing the buyers will ensure a higher profit, but it does push you into certain design decisions, which can feel limiting for those that want to be creatively unleashed. Even so, it seems like a necessary evil for the game to have a means of judging the value in your renovated home.
The actual sales and negotiation process is pretty simple, which is fine, but I would have loved to see a more comprehensive system in place here. For example, it would be fun to go to an auction in the game when you’re buying a house and bid in real time as other NPCs try to outbid you.
The same would be cool for selling the house. Instead, you are given offers and can choose to negotiate with a buyer once if you wish to push your luck. It’s functional, but not as deep or exciting as I would have liked.
Another thing worth noting is the lack of the apocalypse and garden DLC in this release, both of which are available on PC. The apocalypse DLC is unfortunately off the table, due to the fact that it would change the ESRB rating, but there is hope for the garden DLC if the game does well. A new HGTV DLC for the PC version could be a great addition to this package too.
While I have no concept for how difficult it would be, it would have been nice to see the PC version’s VR support make the leap to console as well. What’s here is fairly substantial, given the price. Some things could have been deeper or more streamlined, but those looking for the experience that comes with house flipping will find a lot to like about House Flipper on PS4.
Presentation That Gets The Job Done
Playing on PS4 Pro, House Flipper uses full resolution textures to give everything a clean and crisp look. There’s not a ton of detail, but there is enough variety in the housing layouts and various types of decorations to give each house and room a distinct feel, provided you put in the effort.
Animations for things like cleaning and painting can look a little stiff, but the presentation overall gets the job done, even if it doesn’t go particularly far with the details. The menus and UI, while also minimal, do a great job of translating PC controls over to a DualShock 4, which is worth commending.
Given it’s budget price point, House Flipper is easy to recommend to someone who specifically has an interest or passion for home renovation. Those who are less excited about the concept should still take a look, but take your own tolerance for repetition into account before you dive into the grind.
Final Score: 8.0/10
A copy of House Flipper was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes.
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 3/2/2020