House Flipper

House Flipper is a video game. I know, I know. A video game review? What madness is this? Well, with the absolute failure that is “Artist Focus” over and done with, it made sense to try to write about something completely different. So, instead of a piece of short-length passive media, why not share an opinion on a lengthy piece of involved media. Thus appears, House Flipper! Hooray!

House Flipper is pretty much what the name suggests. No, not that, have another think… That’s right, you buy, renovate and then sell houses for profit. It’s basically half of the episodes of Homes Under The Hammer, but it’s YOU doing the work instead of sitting around and watching in your underpants. Just look at the trailer.

Now, full disclosure, we actually asked for a free copy of this game. We were met with a very polite no, and we said we still intended to review the game, and so once we purchased it and gave it a proper play through, we’d review it anyway. We’re not going to let the fact we paid for the game to sour our opinion, that wouldn’t be fair, and the one thing we are absolutely adamant about is that we should give our honest and sincere opinion at all times.

Ah, the office. 100% less Gervais.

You start off at an incredibly grotty office, picture above, which also doubles up as your home. It’s a shitty home, it needs some work, but thankfully, you’re equipped for it. You take odd-jobs for people, as found through an in-game job board system located on your laptop, and then boom – you’re completing a job for someone, for cash, so you can buy your own place to do up and sell.

Now, I’ve played a grand total of six hours on this, and I’m going to be honest, I got bored. Well, not bored, more frustrated. I find the control mechanism for each of the tools to be overly fiddly, meaning that whilst in real life, I’d be very capable of squeegeeing a window (which is totally what it looks like you’re doing), because I have to control the tool through a mouse on the computer, I’m incapable of maintaining anything close to a sensible method of cleaning.

See the difference between the top and the bottom? I’ve cleaned the top.

In fact, I found a fair few tools a bit difficult to actually use – the paint rollers are another, as you use them for a) the entire room, and b), it’s a nightmare to get a part of the window frame area. You see the picture above? You have to line up your cursor with the thinnest bit of wall facing towards us, for about 5 seconds, all whilst keeping your cursor in that specific spot, or say goodbye to the perfect rating.

Not all of the actions make a lot of sense for the

And the same can be said for hoovering – cockroaches, a common threat to the cleanliness of the house you intend to flip, are incredibly difficult to hoover up, and I’ll be quite honest, I’m not that certain that hoovering cockroaches is quite the way to deal with the problem. I’m inclined to think there’s meant to be some sort of, I dunno… exterminator, involved?

Random Dalek #12 was not the same after he lost his job at Intergalactic Pest Control.

Then there’s the walls, and the floors. I’m going to rant here. When it comes to wallpapering, tiling, or painting walls, you deal with approximately foot-wide strips of wall, apply your material to each strip, and have to complete each strip to complete each room. Floors, however, when carpeted or tiles, are completed on a corner-to-corner basis, much like when playing The Sims. Now, one of these is more realistic, but the other is a lot more fun. I, personally, feel as though consistency is much more important than realism, and whilst I applaud the efforts to make painting, tiling or wallpapering as accurate as possible, I also feel as though giving us the option to skip a load of time would be a much more worthwhile venture. I found myself not wanting to improve the walls of the four room house I chose to flip, purely because I knew it would take me half an hour of choosing colours, lining everything up, accidentally going over the same section with a different colour because I’d accidentally stood too far to one side… It just put me off completely.

I’ll say this, though – there’s a variety of different tasks to complete. Aside from hoovering, cleaning windows, painting, tiling and wallpapering, there’s also:

  • Mopping,
  • Cleaning up rubbish,
  • Knocking down walls,
  • Building walls (I think!)
  • Choosing furniture,
  • Water installations,
  • Electrical installations,
And impersonating Superman, of course.

And whilst it’s not exactly a DIY manual, I do find the way they’ve managed to simplify the installations somewhat appealing – I’m not handyman myself, but I do like the idea of being able to install a full-size shower, or a toiler, with as much ease as my House Flipper persona, ‘Buildy Bob’. Yes, I know. It’s a shit name. Fuckin’ sue me.

There’s also the minimap, which you can see in the picture above – as you play and complete tasks, you unlock upgrade points, which make you better at tasks. One thing you can upgrade is your Superman-esque ability to identify work that needs completing, which I find to be an invaluable tool. Can’t find that last bit of dirt? Check the minimap. Can’t see where the radiator goes? Check the minimap. It’s a fail-safe guide to 100% completion on all tasks bar the walls and floors. But that’s where the task-list comes into play. It constantly tells you which percentage of each task you’ve finished, so you’ll know if you’ve missed a section of wall, you just won’t know which section of wall.

So let’s round this up shall we?

I saw this and instantly wanted it because of one thing – Viscera Cleanup Detail. I’ve played, and loved, Viscera Cleanup Detail for a long, long time. It’ll be about two years, actually. It’s a clever game where you, as a member of an intergalactic janitorial team, go around cleaning up after disasters which result in ridiculous amounts of blood and gore.

I saw House Flipper and thought, “Wow, this is Viscera but with a more tangible purpose.” Sadly, it isn’t, and part of me feels as though it’s unfair of me to compare them when they’re not by the same people and not for the same purpose. However, they are naturally alike and I know full-well that I’m not the only person that has made that connection.

So, if you like Viscera Cleanup Detail, you’ll probably like House Flipper. If you love Viscera Cleanup Detail, you’ll probably still only like House Flipper. It’s not a bad game, really, it just doesn’t live up to the hype of the concept and to be honest, the number of people I mentioned it too that didn’t get in any way hyped about it… Well, let’s leave it there, shall we?


That Guy

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