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Mobile Game Review: Homescapes

You know when you see an advert enough times, you eventually just have to cave in? This is one of those times, where I’ve seen an advert for this Homescapes game on so many occasions and I’ve never actually even downloaded it. Indeed, I wouldn’t normally review a game like this – It’s one of those match three or more puzzle games, but it has a few extra elements worth mentioning.

If you’ve ever seen those Homescapes adverts, but want to know what it is, read on.

Overview

Developer Playrix
Platforms Android, iOS
Genre
Match Puzzle, Home Design
Price & Ads
£Free (no required ads)

Review

Story

The story is pretty simple – You play as a friend of Austin the butler. Austin invites you over to visit his old family home, which is worn down over the years. His mum and dad come to visit the old place too, just after he’s finished redecorating his bedroom. His parents give him the bad news that they intend to sell the property and it’s up to you, along with Austin, to renovate it and make it habitable again, so they don’t sell the property.

Gameplay

The gameplay has two parts to it, so let’s talk about the core mechanic that moves the game along first, as it’s the easiest element to talk about. It’s a match puzzle, or a match three puzzle, depending on what you’d like to call it. If you’ve ever played a game before, you’ll know what this is – You get move icons around, trying to match up three or more of the same colour/shape by placing them with one another.

The game gets you to match specific requirements, such as, for example, 60 green icons. You have a limited number of moves to meet these requirements in. If you succeed, you get a star. If you fail, you lose one of the five hearts you have by default. If you lose a heart, it’ll restore itself over time, much like many games that want to sucker people in – But it only happens when you lose a level (at least, as far as I’ve gotten… It’s a long game).

I could tell you about all the power-ups, but that’s not the interesting bit. The rest of the game comes in the form of interior design.

Once you complete a level, you get a star which is used to spend on getting new items, or improving existing items in the old house. The goal is to transform the house into a nice presentable place, so your parents don’t want to sell the house any more. Because Austin is a butler, apparently he can do just about anything when it comes to renovation, which is quite the skill.

You typically get three choices once you upgrade something. Whenever you upgrade something, the house stays the way you choose to upgrade it. This is a neat little touch, which actually makes you want to see how far you can go in upgrading the house. Whilst there’s again not a lot to say about this, it’s enough to make getting through levels just a bit more interesting.

Graphics

If you’ve seen the adverts, you will likely have an idea of how this game looks – and that’s exactly how it looks. The game is well presented in game, so here’s some in-game screenshots:

Audio

In a word, the audio is inoffensive. It’s exactly the type of atmosphere you would expect from how the game presents itself. It’s lounge music, it’s elevator music, it’s what you’d expect to hear from the shopping section in The Sims. It’s what you’d want to hear in this type of game, because it doesn’t rush you, it’s perfect background noise to momentarily distract you. Good stuff.

Overall

It’s a thoroughly enjoyable little game, albeit it’s not particularly massive on innovating the core gameplay mechanic. What it does very well is put together a second “genre” of sorts. If you’re into a vast variety of video games, this is one well worth picking up, even if to see if it’s your cup of tea. I’ve not felt teased into viewing ads, or into spending ages getting hearts back to keep playing (as you lose hearts by losing levels, rather than winning).

If you’re looking for a simple puzzle time waster, this one suffices nicely. The combination of the match puzzle, along with the little touch of story-based interior design is actually quite fun. The game looks great and it’s smooth, even on older Android devices, so it’s worth checking out at least. As ever though, if you have played Homescapes yourself, share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

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