Is it a fixer upper or a lost cause?
There is a certain satisfaction to doing a mundane task for long periods of time, at least for some people. It lets you shut your brain off, veg out, forget your troubles and just paint a wall. No game exemplifies this better than House Flipper, a game originally released on PC in 2018 that has finally become portable as of hitting the Switch. Upon its original release it blew up among streamers and people just looking to wind down and kill time, and it’s easy to see why. While a couple issues, both new and old, do show themselves when playing this game on the Switch, House Flipper seems to be a surprisingly competent port all things considered.
In House Flipper you do exactly as it says on the tin: you flip and sell houses. To start you will have to take some jobs going into other people’s homes and doing things. You may have to paint their walls a new color or clean up trash and dirt that has been strewn about. Each of these jobs has its own list of things you have to do, and once you pass a certain threshold you are allowed to call it done and accept payment, but the closer you get to 100% complete the higher your payment will be. Once you’ve done enough of these jobs you should then have enough money to buy your first house, and from there what you do is up to you. You can repaint walls, knock down walls, build new walls, place new flooring, furnish the home, and then finally sell that house for a tidy profit.
Everything in House Flipper starts a bit slow, but as you perform activities you’ll begin to unlock perks that will cause you to work far more efficiently. Painting a certain amount of walls lets you level up and use less paint or paint multiple sections at once, knocking down a certain amount of walls will give you access to better tools, completing jobs will allow you to unlock higher pay for those jobs, etc. As somebody who had already put around 30 hours into the PC version I had forgotten just how slow the game moves before these upgrades build up, and this potentially might turn off new players. But it does get better as upgrades are acquired rather quickly just by playing the game normally.
While the move from PC to console has been surprisingly smooth, there are a few complaints I found myself unable to fully get over. Moving the first person camera feels incredibly sensitive with an analog stick, and while there is a look sensitivity slider in the options menu I was never quite able to find a setting that totally worked for me. The furniture catalog is also something that has been hurt by the move away from a keyboard, as trying to search for a specific item now brings up the Switch’s on screen keyboard to type with. This is slightly less of a problem in handheld as the in-game tablet can be operated using touch controls, but while playing docked typing becomes more of a pain than it’s worth. Other than these issues the port runs very well, both docked and in handheld, with my only real performance or graphical issues being furniture sometimes popping into view the first time I entered a room and a Silent Hill-esque fog that covers the surrounding neighborhood.
As good a port as it may be, House Flipper still brings a lot of its original flaws with it as well. There are only so many jobs you can do to earn extra money, and once those jobs run out you’re essentially out of luck. On the same note once you sell a house you can never go back and it is removed from your catalog, meaning that when you run out of houses to work on your only real option is to erase your progress and start a new game. There are also a few houses seemingly missing from this version of the game, such as their special haunted house modelled after the Myers home from Halloween.
Overall House Flipper is a great game to kill time with, and also the perfect game if you find that you need to be able to shut your brain off and just do something for a little while. It’s not perfect and it is definitely not for everybody, especially if you’re actually in the market for something more exciting, but those who enjoy sitting down to slam out a mundane task should strongly consider this game on Switch. While some of the decisions they made in terms of controls were a bit strange to me, I eventually got used to them and found myself enjoying the process just as much as I did on PC. So get in there and paint those rooms the ugliest colors you can find, and put down a chair for good measure, House Flipper is the place to be if you’re just looking to relax.