FANDOM


Yahtzee reviews House Flipper and FAR: Lone Sails.

Transcript Edit

I have a feeling it's going to be a long summer; E3 hasn't even been and gone yet, and I already emptied out the retro review bucket. All right, Steam; stop kicking that visual novel developer in the stomach for a second so I can see what's on your "Top Sellers" list. "Well, you know what all the kids have been talking about this week: House Flipper." Hmm, intriguing. Just one question: Are you taking the piss? "No, seriously! It's had even more user reviews than Wizard of Legend. It's a thrilling, first-person RPG in which you play a proud, stoic adventurer who comes to a land blighted by the forces of a less-than-satisfactory housing market and must battle sinister oil stains and a mismatched internal décor with naught but your mighty Stippling Brush and the Color Swatches of Zenthar!" Ohh… you are taking the piss. But, you know, I've occasionally found some value in games that fall into the genre of "what it's like to have a real job"; I've whiled away many an hour in Stardew Valley and Euro Truck Simulator, and I do have a lot of podcasts I've been meaning to listen to. And House Flipper is the kind of thing we'll all be playing for escapism in a few years, after society collapses and we've got a few hours to kill before Lord Humungus raids us at dawn.

So this is where we are: I'm reviewing a daytime television simulator for frustrated spouses who want to imagine trussing up their fantasy dream home even as their real-life home descends into filth and squalor around them. So you play a sort of mercenary handyman and at first, to get to grips, you're given some contract jobs where someone just wants you to come into their house and clean, repaint, buy specific furniture, and/or shag the missus. And once you've got a handle on things and, more importantly, a big sack of cash, you can start buying your own houses, all of which were apparently recently vacated by meth-dealing cockroach farmers who never quite pinned down the difference between a toilet and a floor.

So first of all, we clean; you remove the litter and crystal meth gift baskets by pointing and obliterating them with your laser eyes, and then you clean all the stains by holding out a perfectly dry mop and waving it a bit. Now, annoying as it was in Viscera Cleanup Detail to have to pick up every shell casing and severed knob and carry them all to the furnace in a bin while walking like you had a pogo stick strapped to each leg, I don't think you're doing us any favors in a job simulator game by removing work; isn't that what we're here for? And using the mop in Viscera Cleanup Detail had a cathartic and, for want of another word, visceral feel to it; it was satisfying to thrust a newly-wetted mop into a big stain while imagining it was the face of your supervisor. In comparison, using the limp-ass mop in House Flipper is, frankly, humiliating; this is supposed to be "house flipper simulator", not "stoned air traffic controller simulator".

So after that comes the painting, and again, I feel it suffers from oversimplification: point paint roller at bucket, point paint roller at wall, hold down button; even if you can only glimpse half an inch of the wall between a bookshelf and a meth lab, you can still merrily roll away. I'd have appreciated this more if there had been a more systematic aspect to it; you know, not moving the furniture before you start painting results in ruined furniture that you'll have to halfheartedly jab with your mop. You also need to install appliances like showers and washing machines in weirdly obsessively-detailed minigame sequences where all you're expected to do is click on components as the game highlights them, and gameplay-wise, it's about as involving as leafing through a booklet of IKEA assembly instructions.

And once the contract gigs are done, the game isn't much more than an interior design creativity toy with a number representing your cash flow that you can close your eyes and dream as real. I think we could have done with a bit more gameplay structure, a "win" state, like, say, earning enough to buy Disneyland and sell it to the Russian Mafia. "Thank you for your assessment, Yahtzee; now please supply an explanation and apology for reviewing House Motherfucking Flipper!" Dah, I've got no excuse; of all the new games I've played this week, it's the one I kept coming back to. So there's something absorbing about it, or maybe it's the kind of downtime I seek after a long shift at my day-job as an international jewel thief.

And the thread of "games about working a repetitive job" leads loosely to our second game, FAR (HRUUH) Lone Sails, which is a narrative indie game from the Post-9/11 Politics School of Game Design, i.e., "keep moving right until you can't anymore". FAR is a game about... that doesn't sound right. Lone Sails is a game about... that doesn't sound right, either. I'll just call it Bollocks. Bollocks is a game about making a journey, and because you're a little wastepaper basket person with tiny legs, you obviously have to make that journey in a gigantic land-sailing vessel the size of an average suburban McDonald's.

There was an obscure LucasArts game called Night Shift back in the day that I used to like, about running around a big Heath Robinson machine, checking on all the components as it ran. But I think it's a core gameplay concept worth exploring, 'cos it captures all the thrill and excitement of turning on a self-assembled PC for the first time, not knowing if it's going to run or embed a fan blade two inches into your fucking eye socket. And FAR Bollocks scratches that itch to a degree; the idea is, you've got to keep your ship going by running around and loading fuel, putting the sail up and down, releasing steam, putting out fires, making sure everyone's got cheesy biscuits, and it's well-designed enough that this is all effectively tutorialized without dialogue.

But I'm afraid I'm going to have to inform you, Mr. and Mrs. Sails, that your child is suffering from a severe case of "indie game-itis". If only you'd brought her in when she first started emitting sad music and washing out most of her colors; it's now progressed to a terminal case, complete with bog-standard deliberately ambiguous, unsatisfying ending. I'm afraid there's not much more we can do now, except submit her for the "Best Art Direction" prize at next year's game awards and hope she can one day rejoin society.

No, a "small child, scary world" standard indie-brand atmosphere doesn't inherently worsen a game, but I still think FAR: Lone Bollocks is missing something; maybe the attempt at a thoughtful, understated tone doesn't match the inherent concept of piloting a fuck-off giant roadster that wouldn't have looked too out of place with Mad Max hanging off the front, looking like he's undergoing a wasteland teeth-whitening procedure, the sort of thing I'd want to have push up to top speed and then ride on top of, going, "Clang, clang, clang goes the trolley! Ring, ring, ring goes the bell! Crunch, crunch, crunch go the bones of the old people not getting out of the way!" That might have stirred a little engagement up from the dried-up store of emotions I keep repressed so hard that they dangle out my asshole like a prolapsed surgical glove.

But having to stop every five yards to pick up some fuel or solve another gate-opening puzzle killed the pace; yes, I know there's a vacuum for picking up fuel, but I turned it off 'cos it kept messing up my fuel-storage organization system. Maybe it would have helped if we'd established a need to get to or away from something quickly, to justify going in the vehicle. There's one brief bit right at the end, when you have to go full-speed to escape a volcano, and otherwise, it's the video game equivalent of a vegan diet: watery, anemic, and disappointingly low on steaks.

Addenda Edit

  • Location, location, location: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Play both these games and you'll know how to drive a car and fix up a house and will be fully prepared for the adult world
  • Sunday drivers, am I right

Screenshots Edit

ZP - House Flipper and Far Lone Sails screenshot 1

...someone just wants you to come into their house and clean, repaint, buy specific furniture, and/or shag the missus.

ZP - House Flipper and Far Lone Sails screenshot 2

This is supposed to be "house flipper simulator", not "stoned air traffic controller simulator".

ZP - House Flipper and Far Lone Sails screenshot 3

"Clang, clang, clang goes the trolley! Ring, ring, ring goes the bell! Crunch, crunch, crunch go the bones of the old people not getting out of the way!"

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2018
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time · Middle-earth: Shadow of War · The Evil Within 2 · Super Mario Odyssey · Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus · Assassin's Creed Origins · Sonic Forces · Star Wars Battlefront II · Hand of Fate 2 · South Park: The Fractured but Whole
2018
Q1 Top 5 of 2017 · Okami HD · PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds · Fortnite and Dusk · Doki Doki Literature Club! · The Inpatient and Doom VFR · Monster Hunter World · Subnautica · Kingdom Come: Deliverance · Metal Gear Survive · Hot Coffee · Hunt Down The Freeman · Ghost of a Tale
Q2 A Way Out · Far Cry 5 · Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom · Extinction and Attack on Titan 2 · God of War 4 · Yakuza 6: The Song of Life · Silent Hill 4: The Room · Conan Exiles · House Flipper and FAR: Lone Sails · Detroit Become Human · Agony · E3 2018 · Vampyr
Q3 Jurassic World Evolution · Resident Evil 4 · Totally Accurate Battlegrounds and Moonlighter · The Crew 2 · Octopath Traveler · Observer · Chasm and This Is the Police 2 · We Happy Few · Unavowed · Guacamelee! 2 and Not Tonight · Shenmue · Marvel's Spider-Man · Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Q4 Dragon Quest XI · Star Control: Origins · Star Control: Origins · Assassin's Creed Odyssey · Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 · Return of the Obra Dinn · The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories · Red Dead Redemption 2 · Call of Cthulhu · Fallout 76 · Hitman 2 and Killer7 · Darksiders III · Just Cause 4
2019
Q1 Top 5 of 2018 · Super Smash Bros. Ultimate · Gris and Ashen · Katamari Damacy Reroll · Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes · Resident Evil 2 · Kingdom Hearts III · Metro Exodus · Far Cry New Dawn · Anthem · Crackdown 3 · Left Alive · Devil May Cry 5
Q2 The Division 2 · Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice · Unheard and Outward · Yoshi's Crafted World · Mortal Kombat 11 · Katana Zero · Days Gone · Close to the Sun · Rage 2 · Observation · A Plague Tale: Innocence · E3 2019 · Blood: Fresh Supply
Q3 Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night · Judgment · The Sinking City · My Friend Pedro and Sea of Solitude · Acclaim Entertainment Hall of Shame · Wolfenstein: Youngblood · Horace · Rebel Galaxy Outlaw · Control · The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan · Remnant: From The Ashes · Blair Witch · Gears 5
Q4 Astral Chain · Contra: Rogue Corps · Ghost Recon Breakpoint · Indivisible · The Outer Worlds · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare · Luigi's Mansion 3
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.