house flipper

House Flipper 2 PS5 Review – Flip It Good

Better Homes and Gardens

The original House Flipper certainly didn’t create the hugely-popular subgenre of games that simulate the mundanity of hands-on labour, but it definitely feels like one of the first to really capture a broad audience of players from all corners of the market. For whatever reason, it just had the right mix of player expression, progression and banal busywork to keep people engaged and even birth dedicated communities of decorators eager to share the fruits of their craft.

There’s no denying there were a few creaks in the boards though, even with the good amount of support and DLC expansions it’s received since. Fast forward five years then, and House Flipper 2 debuted in 2023 on PC, bringing with it renovations across the board from gameplay improvements to an expanded Story mode, more modern and cohesive visuals and an exciting new Sandbox mode. While those with the required rigs have been flipping up a storm for a few months now, it’s finally time for console players to step through the doors, tools in hand and start knocking down some walls.

Playing on PS5, my first impressions of House Flipper 2 were that of familiarity. If you’ve played the original, this isn’t a huge departure, and why would it be? But kicking things off in the game’s Story mode the updates slowly begin to reveal themselves. 

For starters, there’s a little more structure to progression in HF2 that’s backed up by a more intentional story and sense of place. In this game, you’re a returning resident of the town of Pinnacove, a coastal retreat full of folks that need help with everything from cleaning to unpacking, shopfitting and full-on renovations, and of course plenty of houses to flip. Your ultimate goal is to make enough of a name for yourself that the town hands you the keys to the “Ugliest House in Pinnacove” to turn into a dream community centre, which is a far more pleasant thing to be working toward than simply getting rich off of real estate.

The pacing of this core mode has also been updated to offer a better sense of progression. You’ll still get new jobs via email and gradually unlock your full suite of tools as you come up against new challenges, but the way these are designed and the slowly-doled-out Perk Points that let you augment your different tools as you use them more all feel a lot more thoughtfully-paced and better to gradually learn and expand your skill set from. A heap of the jobs also involved unboxing residents’ possessions and decorating with them, Unpacking-style, which gives everything a nice personal touch that fits in with the community-focused vibe of Pinnacove.

The objectives in each job are managed by Quests, which are room-based goals that show you what tools are needed in each part of a property and where you need to use them, whether it’s removing stains and garbage or painting walls or even buying and placing furniture. It’s very guided, but works wonderfully as a way to build your confidence in how everything functions before you start buying properties that you need to fix up without any sort of guidance after you’ve hammered and nailed your way through the 10-15 hour main campaign jobs.

Much like the first game, those few hours will be quickly eclipsed by how much time you’ll spend meticulously building and decorating once you’re let loose and comfortable with the full range of tools. These games go way beyond just painting and polishing, letting you build and break down walls, purchase and customise a huge amount of fixtures and furniture and really just live your dreams of being a contestant on The Block. There are a ton of quality-of-life improvements in this sequel to make things both more manageable and more flexible, and for the most part it all controls wonderfully on console. Fiddly object placement and menus that support both d-pad and cursor-based input but don’t commit fully to either are probably my biggest gripes.

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Probably the best addition here though is the Sandbox mode, which finally lets players build and decorate a home entirely from scratch, floor plan and all. This is where dozens upon dozens of hours will truly be lost, and where players will no doubt start to truly appreciate just how intricate you can get with everything and how much more flexible all the systems are. Just the act of carefully placing cutlery in drawers or stocking fridges has had me glued for entire afternoons (and it’s a godsend that you can now move furniture or boxes with other objects in/on them). The PC community has already rallied around this massively, and being able to share your Sandbox creations with others (and even create your own quests) is a huge part of that.

The whole game looks great, too, not just in the sense of the sharp and performant visuals on PS5 but because everything in House Flipper 2 feels much more intentionally designed. Gone are the dull, store-bought and “photorealistic” assets along with barebones interfaces, replaced with a far more cohesive and visually distinct aesthetic, more original catalogue of objects, nicely-rendered materials and an attractive UX that helps sell the whole concept. The only presentational caveat is the music, which should be immediately switched off in favour of your own soundtrack. Or just silence, which would still be better than the grating and repetitive score on offer here.

At the end of the day, the true testament to how good House Flipper 2’s simulation of household work is, is how much of my actual home chores are being done in the meantime. Looking around me right now, I’d say this game has more than nailed the brief. Your tolerance for spending hours painting individual beams and counters is naturally going to have a huge impact on your enjoyment of a game like this, but if the idea speaks to you, it’s all right here.

house flipper
Conclusion
House Flipper 2 is a genuinely impressive effort to spin an awkward, viral oddity into a more structured and goal-oriented game that builds on the moreish qualities of the original while honing its visual language and hugely expanding on its possibilities. It's just as good on PS5 too, with solid performance and mostly-intuitive controls making it a great choice of platform for budding flippers out there.
Positives
More measured and impactful story mode
Improved toolset with even more flexibility
Much more visual personality and polish
Sandbox mode is fantastic addition
Runs and plays superbly on PS5
Negatives
Forgettable, borderline-annoying music
Occasionally-fiddly interface
My actual chores aren't getting done any time soon
8