Steam has more than enough games dedicated to repair and renovation. Apartments, mansions, hotels, gas stations, train stations, even entire towns. However, House Flipper stands out in this list because it seems to be the game of 2018 that spawned a wave of imitators, and it was the most successful of them all (over 3 million copies on Steam alone). So, of course, House Flipper 2 was awaited. Let’s see if Empyrean and Frozen District studios managed to repeat their success.
|House Flipper 2
|Frozen District, Empyrean
|Frozen District, PlayWay S.A.
House Flipper 1/2 is based on a formula that has proven itself in numerous English/American TV shows dedicated to buying and selling real estate, which are now available on almost all major TV channels. Buy an abandoned house, wash it, clean it, repair what’s broken, buy what’s missing, sell it for more. Repeat N times.
In fact, this is a complex but interesting business, and the House Flipper games allow you to feel like a realtor-renovator without the risk of getting into trouble, losing money, or dealing with the tax authorities. Win-win.
House Flipper is also a simplified architectural program for planning your own future dream home, trying out styles and materials, dragging and dropping furniture, and more. Here you can build almost any house and edit almost anything in it. All you need is a willingness to experiment.
But you have to start with the basics in House Flipper 2. You return to your hometown of Pinnacles to the home of your parents, who have retired and set out to travel the world. You are offered a job as a handyman on call. You have to clean, unpack, make simple repairs, etc. You still have to get to the point of buying a house.
In fact, the campaign in House Flipper 2 is not bad, the tasks have an interesting description, each house looks exactly as written and suffers from specific problems that most adults are familiar with. While working in the next house, you will receive calls from the owners to give you additional tasks or just tell you what they want to do.
It should be noted here that, like the first part, House Flipper 2 has a full Ukrainian text localization, including screensavers and large texts in emails. It is really nice.
Of course, as in all games of this kind, cleaning, repairing, laying tiles and parquet, painting walls, and re-painting wallpaper in House Flipper 2 is as simple as possible and can be done with just one button. In fact, if you need a complicated repair, you should do it in real life, as it would be boring in a video game.
Resale or defeat
Compared to the first installment, House Flipper 2 has lost some gameplay elements but gained others.
For example, installing a sink, bathtub, shower, battery, or electrical outlet used to be a mini-game where you had to put together, connect, and twist parts. If you had to install 5-6 radiators and 10 more sockets in your house, it was a bit tiring. In House Flipper 2, assembling things is now a separate part of the game, has become much more complicated, and is done only once to get a discount on some categories of goods. It’s a kind of furniture puzzle in the spirit of IKEA.
But in the main gameplay, another type of work has appeared – unpacking. Of course, unlike Unpacking, from which the authors borrowed this mechanic, this unpacking does not tell the story of growing up and life, but it is a nice addition. By the way, if you missed Unpacking, we highly recommend it, as it is available on all platforms, including mobile and Xbox/PC Gamepass.
A very nice feature of House Flipper 2 is the ability to edit almost any thing in the house, even after it’s installed, materials, colors, patterns. This allows you to experiment. A separate feature is the ability to set your own photos and screenshots as pictures and hang them on the wall. Of course, I have screenshots of Forza Motorsport hanging on the walls of my virtual home, Starfield and Train Sim World 4.
Another handy feature of the game is copying styles and items if you need a lot of things of the same type at once.
After the “jack of all trades” period, you will move on to buying and renovating entire houses. They also need to be cleaned, repaired, and furnished, but everything is at your discretion. In the first installment of House Flipper, clients had a number of requirements for their homes. Some needed a second bathroom, some needed a room for children, some wanted a big TV, some hated certain colors, and so on.
Unfortunately, House Flipper 2 doesn’t have this part of the gameplay, which is frustrating because it’s impossible to understand how much customers will buy a house for. So it’s easier to sell houses without any furniture at all, only with basic repairs.
The sequel also lacks a comparison, at least in the form of a photo, of what the house looked like before the renovation and what it looks like after. All real estate TV shows have such segments at the end of their programs, but House Flipper 2 clearly lacks this.
What this game also lacks is the Undo function, which would solve many problems with accidental purchases and misplaced sledgehammer hits. An accidentally cut through window must first be bricked up, and then the coating on both sides of the wall must be restored. Three different jobs instead of just one undo with Ctrl+Z.
Million dollar house
In addition to the campaign, which is actually not that long, about 15 hours, House Flipper 2 has a sandbox mode where you can let your imagination run wild, building your own dream home without regard to the budget.
You can build a house on an empty piece of land, or you can download ready-made houses from other users and edit them. There are really some very interesting creations here that can be submitted as term papers at the Faculty of Architecture. Someone builds a modern hobbit’s house, someone recreates a Barbie dollhouse, someone modifies intermodal containers, someone competes in the design of functional microhouses.
Right now, House Flipper 2 is running a joint competition with AMD where you can win a custom computer in the form of a house and other prizes by building a modern Robinson Crusoe house on a desert island.
One problem is that mod support in House Flipper 2 is done through the Mod.io service, and not through the Steam Workshop, which most players are used to. It is clear why this is done, so that mods are available on all platforms, not just Steam, but it requires additional registration and is not as convenient.
In addition, interesting houses and tasks from mods cannot be added to a campaign, even a custom one, they are, unfortunately, available only one at a time in the Sandbox.
Say yes to the family nest
Despite some drawbacks, House Flipper 2 is a good sequel. If you like this kind of game, it will bring you a lot of pleasure. However, the game still needs some work, and it seems that the developers are well aware of this.
House Flipper 2 was released on December 14, 2023, and on December 15, the authors told about the first community requests that will be implemented in the game, and on December 18, they showed a service for requesting updates and features (the “before and after” mechanic is leading and is already in development!). The first major patch was released on December 20. Considering the sales figures of the first part, it looks like Frozen District and Empyrean are going to support the new game for at least the next 5 years. And that’s a good thing.
So, if you have a hidden architect and interior designer in you, if you like unhurried and somewhat meditative gameplay, then House Flipper 2 is for you. This game is strangely calming, maybe because repairing and rebuilding is always more pleasant than destroying.