Home Sweet Home Review
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
Does Home Sweet Home have a strong enough foundation or does it totally collapse?
If you are a sucker for those home improvement shows that clog up television schedules so much these days, then perhaps this game is the one for you. Home Sweet Home started out life as a downloadable PC game but now it's seeking to expand its audience by making its way to WiiWare.
The gameplay concept is fairly simple: you assume the role of an interior decorator, and as you might expect, various people will ask you for assistance in designing their homes' interiors. After you have planned the decorations correctly you have to command a squad of three builders to actually place the items. Everybody wants different things in their house, so it's vital that you pick the correct objects. If this is done within the time limit then you succeed in completing the level and can move to the next. There are 50 levels in all.
The first step of decorating is fairly straightforward; you will get a request from the house’s owner which contains a hint at which items they want to have. For example, one of the clients recently went on a trip to Asia, and liked it so much that they want to give their own house an Asian style as well. So naturally, you have to decorate the house with Asian objects.
There’s quite a variety of objects to pick from - you can select sofas, fireplaces, windows, curtains, wallpaper, flooring, TVs, plants, lamps, tables, chairs, rugs, billiard tables and much more, with more and more objects becoming available on each level. Because the range of available objects only keeps increasing, you’ll find it harder and harder to find out exactly what clients want, not just because there’ll be multiple objects that suit the descriptions, but also because the descriptions become more and more vague on later levels.
Once you’ve placed enough objects (You have a budget, be careful not to spend too much!) you can start the building phase. This is a bit more straightforward: you get a squad of three workers, whom you can assign to “build” the objects you’ve chosen to place in the house. As they hammer away at the blueprint-like picture of the object it will slowly begin to fill in with colour - once it’s full, your work is complete.
While building, some objects may suddenly get a blue, green or pink outline. These correspond to the three workers. If you assign a worker to build the object with the matching colour, it will be built much faster. It also causes that worker to tire less quickly - and this is a key consideration on some of the harder levels, because such strenuous work makes your staff progressively lethargic. Thankfully, there's a pot of coffee available at all times which you can grab and drag onto a worker to replenish their energy. The coffee pot has to fill up though so you will need to use this sparingly. If the energy of workers runs out completely, they will run to the coffee machine themselves and take an exceptionally long break, so this is to be avoided.
During the building phase, the workers will also occasionally request some help from you. When this happens, you will have to perform some motions with the Wii remote such as rolling a paint roller, or smacking with a hammer to help them out, causing the object to be built much faster.
In later stages you’ll also have to deal with other factors; for example, once the workers finish building something, they’ll be left with some trash they need to dump in a bin before they can continue. There is lots of variety from level to level in this way and you’ll always be kept on your toes.
It is likely that you will instinctively know if Home Sweet Home is the right game for you before reading this review. This is certainly not a game aimed at the hardcore demographic who enjoyed Mega Man 9, but it is far from a bad game by all means. With 50 levels and the additional ability to design your own dream home, if the game concept grabs you then this could be a solid purchase. The graphics and sound are fairly basic, which may be a turn off to some, but they do the job well enough. If you enjoyed the designing aspects of games such as The Sims then you will be at home here. Otherwise it is probably best to give this one a miss.