Review: Making money on the Switch is a cinch in House Flipper

Videogames about mundane tasks are a hit these days, and for every SnowRunner that absolutely hits the nail on the head by providing us with an experience that very few of us would actually get to do in real life, there’s a House Flipper with activities that basically anyone can do if they try. I’m talking about cleaning up, painting, and even doing some redecorating of homes, the gist of many a million-view YouTube channel where people take otherwise drab houses and turn them into something prettier to the eye and more valuable to sell.

That’s the basic gist of House Flipper really, and it executes it as well as you could expect, now on the Switch. The game’s been out for a while on PC and the folks at Empyrian Games have done a decent job converting keyboard and mouse controls to the JoyCons. While the various acts you perform in the game pretty much boil down to holding a button for a few seconds and moving on to another spot, there’s a certain sense of calmness about the whole thing that House Flipper is so good at providing.

It all starts in a rundown house turned into an office, where you can start picking up odd jobs in order to start raking in some dough. Stuff like clearing up someone’s garage or installing radiators around a house in the suburbs. Once you get enough, you can start actually buying out old houses, fixing them up, and selling them to someone over a list of potential clients you carry around your handy dandy phone. That phone is where you’ll do most of the activities outside of fixing up, be it buying up new components and appliances, or finding out more about the people you’re trying to sell homes to.

House Flipper 05 (press material)
What a mess!

Actually selling is a matter of settling on just what kind of property these folks are looking for, and they’ll directly tell you if you’re doing well while remodelling, offering input of just exactly what they want, and it’s in your best interest to listen to them in order to get as much money as possible. Weirdly enough, this version of the game doesn’t have nearly as many houses as the PC one, so once you buy up and sell all of the listings, there’s not much else to do outside of starting over, which is kind of a bummer.

Then again, there’s only so much to a game like House Flipper. Once you empty out your e-mail listing of jobs, you’ll have seen all that there is to be seen in the game, really. The actual “journey” of getting from zero to 100% is somewhat satisfying, even if the entire premise and execution of the game is as dry as it sounds. You can level up your skills and get things done quicker that way, but in the end, you’re doing the same actions anyway, only faster. And sometimes the way you do them feels kind of arbitrary, like when you’re installing a sink, for instance, it’s only a matter of holding down buttons all over your controller. That’s it, there’s not much to it.

House Flipper 07 (press material)
Let the hammer do the talking!

There’s also not a whole lot to the way the game looks on the Switch. I have spent plenty of time working on 3D modeling tools in my life, and House Flipper looks like any one of those programs viewports filled with all the basic models with basic shading under default lighting. There’s no real feel of weight to anything. It works to represent the objects and locations, sure, but there’s no realism. It’s a very basic looking game overall, and thanks to that, it runs well enough since there’s not really much to it, really.

There’s no drought in the Switch eShop for weird games, and House Flipper certainly fits the bill of being something different to partake in if you ever get tired of trying to burst out of the grim reality of everyday life. This is a game where for as ridiculously simple your actions can be, they are painfully mundane and not at all out of the ordinary. And there’s something to be said about performing them and getting the most out of your work that a lot of games don’t do as well as House Flipper. Now get out there and get those houses all pretty, you don’t have all day!



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