While browsing their Steam client and the attached storefront today, PC gamers may be surprised to note that popular titles such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Rainbow Six Siege, and Conan Exiles have been hurled from their throne atop the bestseller’s list to be replaced by – House Flipper?
Coming seemingly out of nowhere, House Flipper has claimed the top spot on Steam’s list and, it appears, with cause. The game is actually worth a look, according to Kotaku.
“Imagine if the most annoying thing about tiling your bathroom was waiting for a three-second loading bar to fill up. That’s all it takes in ‘House Flipper’, a satisfying game about being a one-man house-flipping business and one of Steam’s top-selling new releases.”
Graphics are up to par with a lot of paint and paper options. Accessories abound as you scramble to turn a totally derelict sty into an object of beauty and economic desire. Selling houses, which one would presume to be the goal, is more of a means to an end – the true goal of the game being the utter satisfaction in cleaning and customizing a living space into something truly magical. The magic comes from the participatory element – no longer confined to the couch as an expert with a vaguely British accent describes the decor of yet another Floridian beach house clocking in at just under a million dollars, players can be the real-estate mogul and the interior decorator all at once.
In an industry beset with bloody beat-em-ups (Mortal Kombat X) and massive multiplayer RPGs (World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls Online) going head to head with fast-paced track racing games (Forza Motorsport 7, Gran Turismo Sport) and military shooters (Call of Duty: WW2, Battlefield 1) – it is extremely refreshing to see a smaller, more offbeat title with a modest goal take the helm for a while.
House Flipper is all about home renovation and, well, flipping houses that you’ve fixed up. Players start out at the bottom of the ladder, cleaning homes under contract and seeing the profits go elsewhere until they can finally manage to break into business for themselves. Then, things get really interesting. No longer relegated to simply cleaning up debris and stripping filthy floors and walls, would be business magnates can now stage houses with fine art and furniture, paint the walls to more complementary shades and hues, and more.
It’s not all roses, mind. Picky clients can be demanding, and painting takes real time and patience. Some rooms may be too light or too dark or have too much contrast for discerning customers, and their narratives play directly into the constraints you will have to work around as a contractor. This attention to detail takes House Flipper from a mild amusement to a fully-fledged game with an obvious level of challenge and complete with concrete obstacles.
While the concept is nothing dramatically new, there is certainly room for growth in the simulation genre. 2016’s Job Simulator was a breakout success, finding positive review scores and happy gamers who’d purchased the quirky virtual reality release for both PC and PSVR. The Sims has a legion of steadfast supporters who devoted days of real life to the custody and care of their digital friends, with half of the fun of the franchise lying in precisely the same redecorating and purchase planning that makes House Flipper so fun.